New Act puts public at the heart of policing

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill has received Royal Assent today.

The Act moves the decision-making on policing away from government to communities giving them the power to elect Police and Crime Commissioners.

Communities will now have a greater say in licensing decisions, with tougher powers for local authorities to restrict problem premises selling alcohol at night.

‘The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act is a landmark in the government’s agenda to decentralise control and return power to the people’ said Policing Minister, Nick Herbert.

The Minister added:

‘The election of Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales in November next year will give local people a strong voice in how their communities are policed and provide a powerful boost to the fight against crime.’

PCCs will make forces truly accountable to their communities by.

  • representing all those who live and work in their area identifying their needs;
  • set priorities that meet those needs by agreeing a strategic plan for the force;
  • hold the Chief Constable to account
  • set the force budget; and
  • appoint – and, where necessary, remove – the Chief Constable.

Other measures in the Act include:

  • Measures to give communities greater say over alcohol licensing to tackle problem premises;
  • A stronger local influence on licensing allowing everyone to comment on decisions;
  • Introducing a late-night levy allowing councils to charge for licences to pay for extra policing; and
  • Immediate powers to temporarily ban the latest ‘legal highs’.

Read the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act.

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