Government plans to introduce locally-elected police and crime commissioners could cost more than £130 million to set up and run in the first year, figures show.
Each of the new roles will attract pay and benefits of about £122,000, an impact assessment released by the Home Office reveals. The moves are part of some of the most radical reforms to policing in 50 years.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the police and crime commissioners “will cost no more than police authorities”. But the elections, to be held every four years from May 2012, will cost £50 million, the figures showed.
Mrs May insisted: “I do think it will give people value for money.” She added that the figure for the pay and benefits of the 41 new commissioners, put at £5 million, was only an estimate and will be set following consultation with the senior salaries review body.
The Home Secretary will have no powers to sack a commissioner or a chief constable under the “new era” of policing, which will see power move away from Whitehall. But the Home Secretary can intervene “if the police and crime commissioner was preparing to set a budget that was less than necessary to maintain appropriate policing in the area”, Mrs May said.
But the fundamental overhaul of the way police are governed is the “wrong policy at the wrong time”, representatives of the current doomed system have said.
Rob Garnham, who represents police authorities across England and Wales, said plans published by the Government did not reflect the public’s priorities.
The Tory politician lashed out at the detail of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, which was drawn up by his own party.
And he suggested that the structural changes could detract from work to balance budgets, tackle organised crime and secure the 2012 Olympics.