West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones today called for his £100,000-a-year job to be scrapped – saying the job is too big for just one man.
Mr Jones has held the post for nine months. But he said that he feels the region is too large and the work too complex for a single individual.
He wants it split between seven people who would each be in charge of a city or borough.
Mr Jones declared: “I made it clear during the election that I would be content to be the first and last crime commissioner for the West Midlands.
“There is a long history of people standing successfully for a post that they then decide does not have the structure to do the job. I hope there is a review of the post and would be more than happy if the current position was replaced by a more meaningful structure.”
Should the Police and Crime Commissioner roles be scrapped? Vote in our poll below and have your say in the comments section:
Mr Jones’ salary and that of his seven-strong team is almost £300,000 and around £40,000 less than the annual bill for the 17-strong West Midlands Police Authority they replaced.
He said: “I will do my utmost to achieve as much as possible while I am in post but after nine months I see no evidence that police and crime commissioners are an improvement on previous police authorities.
“They are higher profile but actually have fewer tools to hold their force to account. The easy way to be a PCC is to not make any unpopular decisions about having the resources to hold the force to account, and act like a ceremonial mayor – cutting ribbons, taking the photo opportunities and launching a few initiatives.
“Everything else is left to the chief constable in the hope that he or she doesn’t mess up or, more cynically, in the belief that you can get away with sacking them and passing on the blame before an election.”
The Government has given control of the £7 million annual funding for seven community safety partnerships in the West Midlands to the region’s Crime Commissioner and Mr Jones, whose current tenure in the post runs until 2016, plans to transform them into mini police and crime boards for their area, each with a budget and responsibility to develop a local policing plan.
He said: “The West Midlands is too big and complex a place for one Crime Commissioner to run effectively. Its population is larger than that of some states in the European Union. I am in the process of setting up local crime boards consisting of local people and devolving power to them. The seven of them would probably cost less that me and my assistants.”