Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Elected police commissioner plans 'should be dropped'

Prime Minister David Cameron has dismissed calls from Labour to abandon plans for elected police commissioners and spend the funds instead on maintaining police officer numbers.

At his weekly Commons question session on 17 November 2010, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman asked why £100m was being spent on the new commissioners while police forces were being forced to make cuts to "front line" staff.

Mr Cameron insisted "bureaucracy" could be reduced to help free up officers' time and that elected commissioners would improve accountability.

Ms Harman, standing in for Labour leader Ed Miliband who is away on paternity leave, asked Mr Cameron to "tell the House how many fewer police officers there will be as a result of his 20% real terms cut in the police budget".

She demanded: "Will you drop your proposal for elected police commissioners and give the police the resources they need to protect front line policing?"

Mr Cameron replied: "Straight answer to that: no I won't.

"And I'll tell you why. It's about time that we had more accountable police forces in our country.

"I want there to be police commissioners so that when they do a good job calling the police to account and they are fighting crime in the way local people want they get re-elected and if they do a bad job they get thrown out."

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