A TOP cop has backed the new Police Crime Commissioner role to be a success despite a poor election turnout - providing the incumbent puts in a hard graft.
Superintendent Gilbert Houalla has welcomed Anthony Stansfeld, the Conservative candidate who was elected as the Thames Valley’s inaugural Police and Crime Commissioner last Friday.
The Wycombe commander says, while accountability is nothing new, anyone that helps police engage with the community is a good idea - but he believes the role will only be as good as the person in it.
Supt Houalla said: “Having democratic accountability is a good thing.
“We, as the police, are already accountable; to the Home Office, the Home Secretary, they are elected, the Prime Minister, they’re elected.
"We’re accountable to the community, audits, our MPs, local councillors, so the concept of accountability in policing is not new.
“The PCC is another person we are now accountable to who is democratically elected, and that person’s mandate is to link to my community and give me feedback from it – That can only a good thing.
“I honestly think the role will be what that person makes it out to be - if they work hard, link well with the community and if they add a value, then next time people will go out to vote.
“If they prove to be irrelevant, people probably won’t vote. But I look forward to working with anyone that can enhance my link with the community, as you’ve seen [from Operation Ribbon] you need them.”
But Supt Houalla launched a scathing attack on residents who stayed away from the polling stations after turnout in the Thames Valley region was a paltry 13.3 percent.
He said: “It didn’t get a good turnout but that’s nothing new, we live in two worlds; one where people are dying to have the right to vote and then another where people cannot be bothered.
“It’s a mixture of things; apathy, it’s a new role and maybe people don’t understand it, but I watch TV and see people in Syria, Egypt etc who are giving their lives for the right to vote, and then I look at my own country – be it France or in Britain – where people feel like they don’t need to.”