top of page
< Back

Choosing your police commissioner on May 2

In 3 weeks time we get to choose who holds our police and fire service accountable

8 April 2024

Choosing your police commissioner on May 2

On May 2 we get to choose who governs our police and fire service in Essex.

Many of us might question why we need to vote if it's 'just' for somebody most of us haven't heard of, let alone met and research has found public perception of PFCCs is poor (

But we think you should and here’s why…

  • PFCCs are independent of the police and fire service and can hire or fire the Chief Constable or Chief Fire Officer. With all the scandals which have hit other police and fire services in recent years from Hillborough to sexism and bullying affecting several fire services (though not Essex) this can be useful.

  • PFCCs approve the budget for the police service. Police and Fire budgets have been increasing a lot recently. This year we're paying an extra 5.5% (roughly £13 more per household than last year). In 2023 it was 6.84% in 2023 and in 2022 it was 4.9% and the year before that there was an increase and so on and so on. The police had a budget of £265m in 2014. It's now £407m and increasing. Is that money being well managed, especially with recorded crime rising and a fire service ‘which doesn’t meet its own standards’ and can you afford to keep paying 5-10% more for them every year?

  • They can help set objectives and target resources to issues that people care about such as 'bobbies on the beat' or tackling drugs or knife crime. Although several reports have found that 'crime plans' are not being well delivered, it's better than nothing.

  • They communicate to us what the police and fire service are up to with a website, events and public meetings. Do you think this is done well? Do you know good or bad our police and fire serivces are compared to the rest of the country. This could be another factor in your decision who to vote for.

In the SWFRP's view, Police and Fire Commissioners do an important job. There are many factors in deciding who to vote for. Is it a good idea for the PFCC to belong to the UK's governing party for example? Could that make them more likely to brush poor performance under the carpet and not ask government to resource our police properly? Should you choose a candidate with a knowledge of the police or fire service or a local candidate with no experience? Should they be a politician or someone from another background? There are four candidates standing, from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the English Democrats. You can read their ‘statements’ here: .The SWFRP's members will be watching and attending any events we can. You should too.

Electing your police and fire commissioner might sound like something you can sit out but we should all have our say!

bottom of page