On 15 November 2012, for the first time ever, the public across England and Wales (excluding London) will be able to head to the polls to elect a police and crime commissioner who will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their police force areas.
Nick Herbert, the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, says that 'The arrival of Police and Crime Commissioners will be the most significant democratic reform of policing in our lifetime.
'Communities will have a stronger voice in how their streets are policed and will be able to turn to their PCC to hold the police to account on their behalf.'
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their area.
To provide stronger and more transparent accountability of the police, PCCs will be elected by the public to hold chief constables and the police force to account; effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.
PCCs will ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible, and will improve local relationships through building confidence and restoring trust. They will also work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime.
PCCs will not be expected to run their local police, nor will they replace the Chief Constable who will still be responsible for operational policing.
The role of the PCC is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account.
You can find out more about PCCs on the Home Office website http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners/ or contact Bedfordshire Police Authority on 01234 842066 or visit: www.beds-pcc.org