Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing is encouraging people to come forward as candidates for Essex’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Applications remain open for anyone who would like to apply to stand as the Conservative candidate in the forthcoming elections for Essex Police and Crime Commissioner.
The law has been changed so that after the November elections the Chief Constable of each county will report to an elected county Police and Crime Commissioner, instead of to the existing county police authorities. Police and Crime Commissioners will aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.
Police and Crime Commissioners will not be expected to run the police; they will hold Chief Constables and the force to account with the aim of making the police answerable to the communities they serve.
The Conservatives will choose who will be their candidate after the May local elections, in preparation for the PCC elections on Thursday, November 15.
Eleanor said: “This is a very big change in the way the police are held accountable. Few people even know of the existence of the Essex Police Authority, but these are the people who appoint the Chief Constable and hold him to account for his performance.
“In November, Essex will elect its own Police and Crime Commissioner – rather like the way that US County’s elect their county sheriffs. Essex Conservatives are determined to field the very best candidate. You don’t have to be an active Conservative or even a member of the Party to apply to be our candidate.
“We have had some very strong applications already, and we are expecting more to apply.”
She also added: “There are no formal qualifications required, but we are looking for potential candidates who can demonstrate a track record of leadership and management of significant responsibilities.
“You might be a partner in a law firm, a director of a company, or have experience in local government or elsewhere in public life. This will be a highly visible role, and it is likely there will be times when your role will be controversial.
“You will have to take a leading role in your own election campaign if you are selected, though the Conservative Party in Essex will give you every possible support.”
North Weald and Nazeing Conservative county councillor Anthony Jackson, who is chairman of the Essex Police Authority, said: "The Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) role will involve working with the public, the police and local partners to ensure effective policing as well as contributing to national requirements.
“The PCC will be responsible for overseeing policing on behalf of more than 1.7 million people in Essex. He or she will be chosen by an electorate of about 1.4 million and set the Police Council Tax precept for more than 700,000 homes as well as holding the Chief Constable and force to account.
“The PCC will have the power to employ and if necessary dismiss the Chief Constable under whom there are more than 6,000 officers and staff.
“The PCC will have responsibility for ensuring an effective and efficient force in everything from counter terrorism and serious and organised crime through a huge range of specialist operations including, mobile units, firearms, marine and helicopter operations to local neighbourhood police officers.
“Essex collaborates closely with Kent in many front line as well as back office activities and this will grow.”