Ben Bradley says the role of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) could be removed in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as part of devolution agreements for both counties. The Nottinghamshire County Council leader spoke as the results of a public consultation on the proposed East Midlands devolution deal were published.
The deal would see a new authority established in the East Midlands given £1.14bn over 30 years, along with additional powers in areas such as housing and transport. Those taking part in the consultation broadly agreed with most of the deal, but there was less support for the creation of an East Midlands mayor to head the new devolved authority.
The first East Midlands mayor will be elected in May 2024, the same month that the new East Midlands authority will be formally established. In the public consultation, 45% disagreed with the new authority’s government plans, compared to 42% who agreed, with comments mainly focused on the creation of the new mayoral position.
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But speaking about some of the concerns raised, Ben Bradley said: “Certainly people ask those questions about whether it’s about more politicians and more elections. It doesn’t have to be that way and we have all sorts of options as we go forward.”
“There are options in other places where there are fewer politicians, where the PCCs disappear and become part of the combined authority. All of those things are questions for us to consider and look at in the future.
“They don’t have to be more political. I really believe it’s about getting all of our existing people and structures to come together on a coherent strategy so that we work together rather than pulling in different directions.”
PCCs are elected to hold the police chief of the relevant force accountable and to oversee the force as a whole. The roles were created in 2012 after the abolition of police authorities, with former Sherwood MP Paddy Tipping as Nottinghamshire’s first PCC.
Tipping, who ran for Labour, was re-elected in 2016 but was then defeated by Conservative candidate Caroline Henry in 2021. Speaking about the future of the role, Caroline Henry said: “There has not yet been a decision on whether the role of the PCC will be subsumed under a new governance structure because there are two statutory areas of police forces, with separate commissioners.
“As such, the CCP element is unlikely to be a component. As it stands, the government tells us that they expect there to be CCP election cycles in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in May 2024.”
The devolution agreement was first signed last August by Ben Bradley, along with leaders from Nottingham City Council, Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council. Nottingham City Council leader David Mellen previously said he was not “100% in favor” of having a new mayor for the East Midlands.
But Ben Bradley says having a mayor is a condition of receiving the amount of money and power that will be handed over to the East Midlands. He said: “As the top four leaders in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, we reckon we would play the game.
“We want these results, so we will do whatever it takes to get these results. In other places across the border, they decided to argue with the government about it, and as a result, they won’t get the results.” results.
“I think we have made the right decision.” Addressing the question of whether there would be a low turnout in the first East Midlands mayoral election, Councilor Bradley said: “It is incumbent on us as leaders to make sure we engage with people and that they see the reasons to come and have a say on this.” . , so I hope this is not a problem.”
Ben Bradley, who also serves as Mansfield’s Conservative MP, has yet to confirm whether he himself would run for East Midlands mayor. The process of establishing an East Midlands ‘shadow’ authority, which will precede the formal creation next year, will begin in April.
Caroline Henry added: “I always want the best for people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and I fully support any take-back arrangement that helps deliver the best outcome in terms of investment and local control for vital infrastructure and services. I have been working closely with leading figures senior staff in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire throughout this process to help deliver the best deal for the local population.
The consultation received 4,869 responses in total, with a majority agreement on the proposals around the transport and environmental powers that the new authority would have. Legislation to form the new authority could pass through Parliament later this year.