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PFCC Election

The next election for Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will take place on Thursday 2 May.

This page will provide information to any prospective candidates.

The Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria will be following guidelines as set out by the Association of Policing and Crime Chief Executives (APACE) before the election to ensure transparency, fairness and impartiality.

 

The Role of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

PCCs were created in 2012 as replacements for the previous Police Authorities. The Police & Crime Commissioner has a mandate for ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of policing services across Cumbria.   Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, PCCs must:

  • Represent & engage with all those who live and work in the communities in the force area, including the vulnerable and victims to identify their policing needs;
  • Set priorities that meet those needs by publishing a Police and Crime plan;
  • Publish an Annual Report;
  • Secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force for the area;
  • Set the police precept and budget;
  • Hold responsibility for holding community safety budgets and commissioning services;
  • Appoint the Chief Constable and hold them to account;
  • Hold the power to call on the Chief Constable to retire or resign.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 further reformed policing and enabled important changes to the governance of fire and rescue services. Under the legislation PCCs can either be involved with their local Fire and Rescue Authority.

Alternatively, PCCs can consult the public and local partners and submit a business case to the Home Secretary seeking to take on the governance of Fire and Rescue services in their area. This option formally creates a Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC), as is the case in Cumbria. On the 1 April 2023, the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria took on governance responsibility for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.

PFCCs are responsible for:

  • putting in place arrangements to deliver an efficient and effective fire and rescue service;
  • setting the fire and rescue objectives for their area through a fire and rescue plan;
  • appointing the Chief Fire Officer, holding them to account for delivery of objectives, and if necessary dismissing them; and
  • setting the service budget and determining the precept.

More can be found around the roles on the Home Office website and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners website (APCC).

Those who are interested in standing in the election for PFCC can find out more about the role of the PFCC on the APCC Guidance document their eligibility on the Electoral Commission website.

The Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC)

Under the PRSRA, the PCC must appoint a Chief Executive to be the head of the OPFCC staff.

Within the Commissioner’s office there are three statutory officers: the Chief Executive (incorporating Head of Paid Service and Monitoring Officer), Chief Finance Officer and Data Protection Officer.

The Role of the Chief Executive

The Monitoring Officer (by virtue of s.5 of the Local Government Housing Act 1989) is to report to the PFCC if it appears that any proposal, decision or failure within their organisation constitutes, has given rise to or is likely to break the law or a code of practice.

The Monitoring Officer must send a copy of that report to the Police, Fire and Crime Panel.

The Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer role exists in addition to the scrutiny provided by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel. It offers protection for the PFCC by making sure they comply with the law and improves the transparency of their actions and decisions.

The PCFC has a legal duty to provide the Monitoring Officer with the staff, accommodation and other resources which are needed to effectively carry out their duties.

The Role of the Chief Finance Officer

The PFCC’s Chief Finance Officer has similar legal duties and responsibilities to the Monitoring Officer in connection with any unlawful, or potentially unlawful, spending by the PFCC or those acting on the PFCC’s behalf. The Chief Finance Officer role is a statutory role by virtue of the PRSRA and the s.151 Local Government Finance Act (1988)

The Role of the Data Protection Officer

The Data Protection Officer (DPO) reports to the most senior officer (Chief Executive) and has a responsibility to ensure data protection compliance and to act as an internal auditor, provide advice, training and awareness and oversee record-keeping of processes. The DPO also has responsibility for reporting and investigating breaches and coordinating with the Information Commissioner’s Office. The DPO is a role required by virtue of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 Art. 37 and the Data Protection Act 2018. Cumbria Constabulary and the OPFCC have a joint DPO in post.

Other Roles within Cumbria OPFCC

Find out more about the OPFCC staff on the ‘Your PFCC Team’ webpage.

Police Area Returning Officer (PARO)

Mr Andrew Seekings, the Chief Executive of Cumberland Council, has been appointed as Cumbria’s Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) for the PFCC election on Thursday, 2 May 2024. Mr Seekings has overall responsibility for co-ordinating and running the election across the whole of the county.

The PARO has been appointed by the Electoral Commission to act for the local policing area. Information about the role of PARO can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website.  The Electoral Commission provides advice for Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners.

Andrew Seekings, Chief Executive

Any queries relating to the process of election itself should be directed to the PARO Elections office via the email address below.

PARO Elections office:

Allerdale House, New Bridge Road, Workington, CA14 3YJ

elections@cumberland.gov.uk

For questions on the Commission’s guidance on standing for election, contact infoengland@electoralcommission.org.uk

www.electoralcommission.org.uk/contact-us/our-offices

Information about the election process

You need to be a registered voter in order to take part in this election.

The election single point of contact within the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is Governance Manager Joanne Head. If you have any queries please email commissioner@cumbria-pcc.gov.uk

The election in Cumbria is formally administered by Cumberland Council, who will publish information both before and after the poll. More information can be found on their elections page.

Election Timeline

  • 16 April (00:00) – deadline for signing up to be on the register of electors
  • 17 April (17:00) – deadline for receiving new postal vote and proxy postal applications, and for changes to existing postal or proxy votes
  • 24 April (17:00) – deadline for receiving applications for Voter Authority Certificates
  • 24 April (17:00) – deadline for new applications to vote by proxy
  • emergency proxies: deadline 17:00 2 May
  • 2 May – election day

Pre-election period

The pre-election period starts when the notice of election is published. The notice of election was published on 20 March 2024.

The Code of Practice on Local Authority Resources prevents the use of public resources for party political purposes. Some key points relevant to us:

  • All public information about policing should be available equally to all candidates
  • Our facilities cannot be used for party political purposes, this includes the use of rooms, buildings, IT equipment, telephones, photographs etc.
  • While it is business as usual, it is also good practice not to announce significant new policies or plans during the pre-election period.

A Joint Protocol has been signed by the OPFCC, Cumbria Constabulary and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service to ensure fairness and transparency during the pre-election process.

Candidate Information Requests

The Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is independent of the PFCC and is politically neutral. If you are a candidate, are intending to stand as a candidate, or an agent representing a candidate, all questions asked and responses provided during the pre-election period will be published in this section of the webpage to encourage transparency and openness.

Questions raised at the familiarisation event for PFCC Candidates and Agents on Thursday 7 March

Key Documents and Links

Cumbria Constabulary – Key information and Links

 

More information about elections and voting, the election guidance for PCCs, including qualifications for standing as a candidate, is also available on the Electoral Commission website.

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