FOR the first time ever, Sussex residents will be voting for their policing representative later this year.
The November 15 elections follows the Government’s decision to see police authorities throughout the country replaced with directly elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs).
This will mean a significant shift in power from the 17 members of the current police authority here to one person who will represent the whole of Sussex.
The Sussex Police Authority claims the introduction is “to improve the democratic accountability of the police service to the public by enabling local people to vote for a PCC”.
And already candidates from across the county have thrown their hat into the ring to contend for the position – which has the sole responsibility to hire the Chief Constable for Sussex.
Ian Chisnall, an independent community activist from Brighton, put himself forward this week. It is clear that this role will demand someone who understands the work of local authorities, the police and other statutory agencies,” he said. “The commissioner will need to be able to stand apart from party political priorities.
“We need an independent candidate with the experience of working in partnership across the whole of Sussex, who understands the police and has the ability to grapple with the financial and performance challenges they face.”
The father of two continued: “Before I ask Sussex electors to vote for me, they will want to know what my views are and also to be reassured that I have listened to them and understood their priorities.
“I have begun the process of visiting and listening and in the last few weeks have met with town and parish councils, faith groups and individuals from the voluntary sector, private sector and public sector including the police themselves.”
Responsibilities of the new commissioner include the setting of the council tax precept and annual budget; attendance at the police and crime and panel, and taking into account national policing requirements such as counter terrorism.
A statement on the Home Office website reads: “PCCs will aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.
“PCCs will not be expected to run the police. The role of the PCC is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account.”
Mr Chisnall is among a number of candidates who will appear in public in the coming months in a bid to secure the currently negotiated £85,000-a-year role.
For more information on PPCs and standing for election visit www.sussexpcc.co.uk/index.aspx