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Firms asked to name priorities for new police chief

Firms asked to name priorities for new police chief

🕔30.Jul 2012

Thousands of businesses are being given the chance to have their say on the top priorities for the West Midland’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.

Chambers of commerce representing Birmingham, North Staffordshire and Coventry and Warwickshire are asking members what they would like to see from the £100,000-a-year official, who will be elected on November 15.

PCCs will replace police authorities and be responsible for drawing up five year crime-fighting plans.

Whoever gets the West Midlands job will have to identify major priorities for the force, hold the chief constable to account and consult regularly with local communities.

Henrietta Brealey, a spokeswoman for Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “Policing has a major impact on UK businesses, which are often on the receiving end of criminal acts.  Business crime accounts for one fifth of all recorded crime and these acts costs an estimated £26,000 per hour in the West Midlands alone.

“Police forces are also large financial players. West Midlands Police, for instance, has a budget of £64.96million for supplies and services (such as catering, training and equipment) for 2012-13.

“It is also looking to further develop a strategic partnership with the private sector in order to continue to provide its services in the face of austerity cuts. The PCC will have a key role in deciding how the police force continues to work with businesses in our region.

“As a result we feel that it is important to gain an insight into what Chamber of Commerce members would like to see from their local PCC so that we can use the time between now and the election to raise awareness of the key issues affecting businesses.”

With less than four months to go until the PCC elections, the battle for the West Midlands job looks like a two horse race between Labour candidate Bob Jones, a Wolverhampton city councillor, and Tory Matt Bennett, a former Birmingham councillor.

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