West Yorkshire Idea That Police and Crime Commissioners Swear an Oath of Office Adopted Nationally (30 May 2012)
Last week the Policing Minister, Nick Herbert MP, announced that all incoming police and crime commissioners (PCCs) would be required to swear an oath of office, an idea which originated in West Yorkshire.
The Chair, Councillor Mark Burns-Williamson OBE, and Chief Executive, Fraser Sampson, of West Yorkshire Police Authority wrote a joint letter to the Minister in January asking him to consider introducing an oath.
In the letter they suggested that the oath would send a powerful message to local communities, the police service and partners; set a positive tone for their term of office and remind successful candidates of the public expectations of someone in such a responsible position. By pledging themselves to a set of principles that sit above any specific interests or policies, it would also signal an intention to serve all communities fairly and equally.
Fraser Sampson said: “I am delighted that the Minister has adopted our suggestion. During our consultation events people have been clear that the new police and crime commissioners should serve all their communities, fairly and openly. By publicly pledging themselves to uphold the duties of this important new office the first commissioners will reinforce their mandate and reassure their constituents."
Councillor Mark Burns-Williamson OBE added “The adoption of our suggestion nationally is welcome news. Police and crime commissioners will have to balance their manifesto commitments with their wider mandate, so the oath will be a way of reassuring communities and partners that they will do this responsibly and to a recognised set of standards.”
West Yorkshire Police Authority has offered some suggestions for the wording of the oath and will be involved in its development. This isn't the first time the Police Authority has led thinking on national policing developments, the current version of crime mapping (website) was first developed in West Yorkshire back in 2005 with Beatcrime, which was acknowledged by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) with an award in 2008.
The first elections for police and crime commissioners in England and Wales take place on 15 November 2012. Successful candidates will take up office on 22 November 2012.