The hierarchy of UK police ranks, in ascending order, is generally as follows:-
- Chief Inspector
- Chief Superintendent
- Assistant Chief Constable
- Deputy Chief Constable
- Chief Constable
From 1964 to 2012, Chief Constables were answerable to ‘Police Authorities’, but the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (2011) replaced these with Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Police & Crime Panels. In Essex, N.Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Staffordshire they also oversee fire and rescue services, so are called Police, Fire & Crime Commissioners (PFCCs).
Their role is to be a wide-ranging liaison officer and to manage the budget for their police force, including deciding how much residents should contribute to policing costs in their council tax. They must produce a list of objectives to demonstrate how they plan to ensure police effectiveness. Each PCC/PFCC employs a team to assist, for instance, in awarding grants to local charities for crime prevention, rehabiliation and research.
Although ex-police officers can be nominated, PCCs/PFCCs are actually appointed by local elections every 4 years, i.e. it is not a promotion from within police ranks. People with zero policing experience can be put forward, either by political parties or as an ‘independent’. However, they all tend to have top executive or professional backgrounds.
(Image: Birmingham City Council at Flickr.com / CC BY 2.0)