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Elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are “not that bright”, make “perverse decisions” and are mainly “absolutely bleeding hopeless”, a damning report has found.

Research commissioned by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) found police officers may be increasingly reluctant to lead forces across England and Wales because of a perceived “hostile environment” created by PCCs, government cuts and rising crime.

One retired chief constable described the PCC who decided his force’s budget as “totally politically-driven and not that bright”, adding: “He was the most difficult person I’ve ever worked with in my public service.”

Another retired chief told how they were pressured to allocate more officers to an area where their PCC’s political supporters were based to boost their campaign, while another said their PCC: “Wanted to do dreadful things to the force’s budget that would not have been sustainable just so he could get re-elected.”

Another PCC “became a politician”, said a different chief constable. “He made some obtuse and perverse decisions and would not see a different perspective. The evidence and facts would make no difference.”

Even a person who served as a PCC themselves had a dim view of their colleagues, saying: “You must not assume that being eccentric and having lousy judgment are prerequisites for the job, even though some of my PCC colleagues exhibit these characteristics in spades.

“There are six or seven really good PCCs who are transforming the policing landscape, perhaps up to a dozen who have opened up the system and made policing transparent, and about 22 who are absolutely bleeding hopeless.”

The research was commissioned by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) to investigate why the number of officers applying to lead forces has dropped.

It found an “unprecedented turnover of chief constables”, meaning current post-holders are less experienced and will serve for under four years on average. Read more

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