Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Nick Clegg calls PCCs a 'failed experiment'

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Media captionNick Clegg said PCCs were a "failed" Conservative experiment he had warned against

Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are a "failed experiment", Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said.

His comments came as the candidates standing for the South Yorkshire PCC election were announced.

A Home Office spokesman said the PCCs replaced "invisible and ineffective police authorities".

Speaking to BBC Look North Mr Clegg said PCCs were a Conservative idea he had warned against and which had subsequently "failed".

'Recycled politicians'

The South Yorkshire election, which the Lib Dems will not be fielding a candidate in, comes in the wake of the resignation of former PCC Shaun Wright.

Mr Wright, who was formerly the councillor in charge of children's services in Rotherham, quit after it was revealed 1,400 children were abused in the town from 1997 to 2013.

Image caption Shaun Wright was elected as PCC for South Yorkshire in 2012

Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg told the BBC: "I remember saying to the Conservatives at the time, I said 'Look, be careful, because if what you end up doing is just having lots of recycled politicians, what will be the point, no one will vote for it'.

"They said 'No, no, no, we'll get lots of ordinary people standing'.

"Having looked at the experiment of police and crime commissioners, I've come to the conclusion it just doesn't work.

"Look what happened in South Yorkshire and across the whole of the north of England; it's all re-hashed, re-tread Labour politicians and, guess what, the public don't like it and they don't bother to vote for it at all."

'Held to account'

Asked why the Liberal Democrats had chosen not to put forward a candidate in the PCC election, despite fielding one in 2012, he said he did no want to "prop it up".

He said: "It would be slightly odd for me to say on the one hand this experiment in police and crime commissioner has failed and on the other hand we're going to compete in an experiment we think has failed.

Representatives of the Conservative and Labour parties, UKIP and English Democrats will contest the 30 October election.

Responding to Mr Clegg's comments, the Home Office said: "The coalition government introduced police and crime commissioners to replace the invisible and ineffective police authorities which came before them.

"Police authorities were not accountable to the public because nobody voted for them.

"By contrast, PCCs will be held to account for the way they have performed at the ballot box."

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