Outgoing chief constable in favour of Police and Crime Commissioners but says they need more ‘checks and balances’

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Adrian Lee and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds
Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Adrian Lee and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds
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The outgoing chief constable of Northamptonshire Police says he is in favour of elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) but he said the “support and challenge” of them needed to be strengthened.

Adrian Lee, who is retiring this month, said he was in favour of the current police governance structure being maintained but said the powers of the Police and Crime Panel needed to be strengthened.

Mr Lee, who has worked with PCC Adam Simmonds since November 2012, said: “I’ve always been very positive about new governance arrangements. I think the elected element of PCC adds a significant authority to that individual which is helpful to policing because it enables them to challenge the system in the way a chief constable can’t.

“I think we have been quite fortunate in Northants as we have a PCC who is thoughtful and innovative and has been very supportive of the force.

“But the support and challenge to the PCC needs to be strengthened. The power of the Police and Crime panel is quite limited.

“The PCC has significant authority and discretion so I think there needs to be better checks and balances. But, overall, the power of elected individual has been very helpful.”

Mr Lee, aged 56, is retiring next week after completing his 30-year service in the police force.

An in-depth interview with Mr Lee is due to appear in the Chronicle & Echo tomorrow (Thursday).