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It’s an oath, but not as we know it

It’s an oath, but not as we know it

🕔29.Aug 2012

Police and Crime Commissioners will swear an oath of allegiance upon taking office later this year, but not to God or the Queen.

A modern form of words being consulted upon by the Home Office will commit PCCs to represent all sections of society, to work to cut criminal offences and to give a voice to the victims of crime.

The proposed wording is: “I do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will serve all the people of (police force area) in the office of Police and Crime Commissioner without fear or favour.

“I will act with integrity and diligence in my role and, to the best of my ability, will execute the duties of my office to ensure that the police are able to cut crime and protect the public.

“I will give a voice to the public, especially victims of crime and work with other services to ensure the safety of the community and effective criminal justice.

“I will take all steps within my power to ensure transparency of my decisions, so that I may be properly held to account by the public.

“I will not seek to influence or prevent any lawful and reasonable investigation or arrest, nor encourage any police action save that which is lawful and justified within the bounds of this office.”

The proposed oath differs from those traditionally taken by holders of public office, which often demand allegiance to God, with an affirmation opt-out clause for non-believers, and the Queen.

Police constables take the following oath: “I do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.”

The oath of allegiance sworn by everyone joining the British Army is short and to the point: “I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.” A similar oath is taken by MPs, members of the Government and the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Police Minister Nick Herbert said the wording of the PCC oath was designed to make sure that ‘political’ PCCs represented all of the people.

Although most candidates for the commissioner elections in November represent political parties, the Government is keen to make sure that PCCs are seen as impartial.

Mr Herbert said: “Police and crime commissioners will be important public servants and it is right that they make a formal public commitment to the communities they will serve.

“Although police and crime commissioners may stand for a political party, the public will expect them to represent all the people in their area impartially, without fear or favour.

“The swearing of an oath will be an important symbol of this impartiality, emphasising both the significance of this new role in local communities and that commissioners are there to serve the people, not a political party or any one section of their electorate.

“An oath will also underline the particular importance of even-handedness in an office which holds to account the local chief constable and police force who themselves are bound to serve impartially.”

 

 

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