This oversight was already becoming apparent before being exposed by the sexist and misogynist response of Philip Allott to the murder of York-raised Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan Police officer.
Only sustained public pressure – and then an unanimous vote of no confidence by North Yorkshire’s crime panel – led to Mr Allott stepping aside begrudgingly and belatedly.
If he was so minded, he could, technically, have remained in office on a £74,000 a year salary until the next set of elections in 2024 – even though this would have insulted victims of all crime and defied common sense.
As such, this newspaper is grateful to North Yorkshire County Council leader Carl Les for pressing Ministers to extend the remit of ‘recall’ laws from MPs to PCCs.
It is also encouraging to learn that Kit Malthouse, as Policing Minister, has recognised the merit of the argument and has confirmed that it will be considered “within the scope” of a Home Office review. As he says, it is ultimately the public who should hold their PCC “to account at the ballot box” and this newspaper concurs with this view.
But there has to be a mechanism to hold such leaders to account between elections when their conduct falls short of the high standards expected of them. And, unless this legal loophole is closed, there’s a risk of all crime commissioners being brought into disrepute and contempt if a postholder becomes embroiled in a future controversy and does not resign.
This is the point that Mr Malthouse now needs to accept and why future legislation should be known as Sarah’s Law in memory of the young woman whose abduction, rape and murder led to this democratic deficit.
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