Legislation to create elected police commissioners in England and Wales was launched Wednesday amid criticism of the potential cost and the risk that policing will become politicized, reports the Financial Times. Theresa May, home secretary, said the measure would “place the public back at the heart of our drive to cut crime, giving them a say in how their local area is policed.” But the government's own impact assessment found that introducing the system of four-year elections will cost 136 million euros over a decade.
Rob Garnham, a Conservative councillor and chair of the Association of Police Authorities – the bodies that the elected commissioners will replace – attacked the move as “the wrong policy at the wrong time.” However, firm backing for the move came from London's deputy mayor and Policy Exchange, David Cameron's favourite think-tank, which floated the idea of elected commissioners as long ago as 2003. “The current model of police authorities was clearly failing and chief constables had become too powerful,” said Blair Gibbs, head of crime policy at Policy Exchange. Ministers should not be put off by “scaremongering” from opponents, he added.