The Police (Justice Commissioners) Bill would create a directly elected Justice Commissioner for every county and large town in England and Wales. Justice Commissioners would determine local policing priorities. Mr Carswell comments:
‘The public are losing confidence in the criminal justice system – even the government’s own advisers now recognise that people no longer feel the criminal justice system is on their side.
There’s been no shortage of Home Secretaries, and other Westminster politicians, talking about the need to "get tough" on crime. But it always just talk.
Imagine if local people, not remote Home Office officials, determined the priorities of the police where you live. Imagine if you could hold your local police chiefs to account for fighting crime. Then we’d see a "get tough" approach for real.
My Bill seeks to replace failing Police Authorities with properly accountable Justice Commissioners. Each local Justice Commissioner would be held directly accountable by local people – and would have to take responsibility.
Home Office targets would be scrapped, and it would be up to each Justice Commissioner to set the priorities for their own area.
The link between police and public has eroded in recent years as police forces have begun to answer to Home Office targets – rather than the communities they are meant to serve. Quango culture ensures that the priorities of certain police chiefs are not the same as the local people.
I’m fed up listening to politicians just promising to cut crime – but never delivering. It’s time for change. It’s time to trust local people to decide how their own local communities ought to be policed. If we made the criminal justice system answer directly to local people we’d soon get the sort of criminal justice system we need.’
The Bill is being sponsored by Conservative and Labour MPs. It is one of the proposals described in Mr Carswell’s book The Plan: 12 months to renew Britain.