Penarth voters set for by-election as MP Alun Michael confirmed as police commissioner candidate
PENARTH voters are to face a parliamentary by-election - after MP Alun Michael was confirmed as Labour’s candidate for South Wales’ first elected police commissioner role.
On Monday (June 18) it was announced that Mr Michael – who has represented the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency since 1987 - had won the Labour party ballot, beating rival Paul Cannon, an ex-police inspector, by 1,142 votes to 1,058.
As sitting MPs are barred from running for the post, the 68-year-old former Home Office minister under Tony Blair will have to stand down from his current role before the election for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) posts on November 15.
Mr Michael said policing was one of the most important aspects of public service.
“I want to make sure South Wales Police focuses its resources on making every single one of our communities safe and free from crime,” he said.
“And it’s a challenge I am very much looking forward to if I’m given the opportunity.”
Mr Michael was police minister in the last Labour government, and still sits on the Commons Home Affairs committee.
A date for him to officially stand down as MP is yet to be decided, but he said he would be 'sitting down with the general secretary of the Labour Party to agree an appropriate time'.
“I want to keep the gap in time, from when I stand down, when the constituency is not represented in Parliament, as short as possible - and I will be doing everything to represent my voters to the best of my ability as normal in the meantime," he added.
Welsh Labout has not yet selected a candidate to stand for the party in the by-election.
Despite opposing the introduction of the police commissioner positions - being introduced by the UK coalition government to replace the outgoing police authorities - Labour are running candidates in every force area in Wales and England, except London.
Mr Michael's son Tal was named as the Labour candidate for the role in North Wales.
* The Electoral Commission confirmed that by-elections, initiated by the chief whip of a political party, had to be called within three months of a vacancy occuring in Parliament, and last over 17 days. But parties can announce their intention beforehand, giving more notice for constituents. For more information on the by-election process log on to http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/by-elections/
THE overall responsibility of the Police and Crime Commissioner will be 'to maintain an effective and efficient police service by holding the Chief Constable to account'.
They will also play a leading role in community safety and crime reduction in the force area.
Other responsibilities will include appointing and, if necessary, dismissing the Chief Constable; setting policing priorities and producing an Annual Plan; setting the annual police budget and council tax precept; publishing an Annual Report and Accounts; and consulting with and involving the public.
The Commissioner will also be responsible for local police funding.
He/she will receive all government grants and council tax precep payments, and will allocate the budget, in consultation with the Chief Constable.
PCCs are set to be elected in each force area of England and Wales in a bid to increase public accountability in the service, as part of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.