The article provides a critical assessment of the reformed structure of police governance in England
and Wales. It considers the impact of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners on the
determination of local policing priorities and community interests and contrasts the powers exercised
by PCC with that of the police authorities they replaced. It considers the limitations exhibited within
the earlier ‘tripartite’ governance of the police in England and Wales and the implications of this
for the accountability of the police service. It identifies the significance of the move from highly
centralised policing to a fully devolved system which the arrival of PCCs represents.
It draws attention to the continuing commitment by central government to devolution particularly
in relation to the introduction of directly elected mayors to the Metro areas which are, in the near
future, expected to take responsibility for the police service along with other strategic services. It
thereafter considers current challenges to police delivery of service arising from both the significant
increase in non-criminal incidents to which the police must now respond. It explores the ever
increasing engagement of the police in response to mental health incidents in the community. It
identifies in relation to this the remarkable increase in the roll out of tasers to the police and the
implications of this for the protection of vulnerable members of the community.