Shaun Wright started his new “job” a year ago today. His post carries enormous responsibility and he controls a budget of over £200m of taxpayers’ money.
But do you know what his job is – and could you pick him out in a crowd? The answer to both those questions is probably no, as Mr Wright hinmself admits.
The Police and Crime Commissioner of South Yorkshire is, it seems, a low-key post. But, here’s the thing; the whole idea for introducing PCCs was to make our police services more accountable,to have an individual, rather than a faceless committee, charged with holding the police to account.
The idea was the bucks stops with him or her. Now, to be fair, Mr Wright appears to be doing his best to show his face.
The issue seems to be not Shaun Wright himself perhaps, but rather the post he was elected to last November 15 on a voter turn-out across the county of just 14.53 per cent. That says it all really. Either people didn’t care about the policing of South Yorkshire – and that is rather unlikely – or they simply didn’t understand what this new, £85,000-a-year post was all about.
What’s the difference between the chief constable and the police commissioner? Mr Wright’s role is to hold his chief constable to account.
Last month he announced he was dissatisifed with the force’s performance, saying it was failing to meet the objectives of his Police and Crime Plan, and demanded swift improvement. What happens if he doesn’t get it?
Can this system any more accountable than the former police authority if no-one understands what it’s all about, how it works and how to get involved?
Mr Wright has an office with a staff that includes an £85,000 a year chief executive.
He also has a deputy. Perhaps some time and effort should be spent on explaining to the people of South Yorkshire how it all works?