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MP's concerns over police commissioner powers

The Home Affair's committee is concerned about the power the PCC's have Photo: PA

A group of MP's has warned elected police commissioners are showing a "worrying" ability to evade rules when sacking chief constables. The Home Affairs Committee claims protections that are in place allowing police chiefs to fight their corner if they are being forced out, appear to be being side-stepped.

The claims come just months after [

The committee says the early indications are that it is "very easy" for a police and crime commissioner (PCC'>Lincolnshire's chief constable Neil Rhodes was ](http://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2013-05-14/hardwick-insists-he-was-right-to-suspend-police-chief/)reinstated after being suspended by the county) to remove a chief constable for reasons of an "insubstantial nature" and even the Home Secretary is powerless to intervene.

MPs warned it was further evidence that the checks and balances on PCCs are "too weak".

Just 15.1% of registered voters took part in the November 2012 PCC election - the lowest recorded level of participation at a peacetime non-local government election in Britain. MPs said it should "not have come as any surprise" that there were a number of high-profile clashes between commissioners and chief constables following the reforms."

Commissioners remove chief constables by "calling upon" them to resign or retire but they must first give a written explanation of the reasons for the proposal and then consider any response. Police and crime panels must make a recommendation to the commissioner within six weeks backing or opposing the plan and may consult HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

Keith Vaz said: "It is worrying that Police and Crime Commissioners seem able to side-step the statutory process for dismissing a chief constable. Police and Crime Panels should make more active use of their powers to scrutinise decisions such as this. We will be returning to this area when we carry out our next major inquiry into Police and Crime Commissioners, towards the end of this year."