The core functions of police and crime commissioners are to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force within their area, and to hold the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of the police and crime plan. Police and crime commissioners are charged with holding the police fund (from which all policing of the area is financed) and raising the local policing precept from council tax. Police and crime commissioners are also responsible for the appointment, suspension and dismissal of the Chief Constable.
Police and crime plans
Shortly after their election to office, a police and crime commissioner must produce a "police and crime plan". That plan must include his or her objectives for policing, what resources will be provided to the Chief Constable and how performance will be measured. Both the police and crime commissioner and the Chief Constable must have regard to the police and crime plan in the exercise of their duties. The PCC is required to produce an annual report to the public on progress in policing.
Police and crime commissioners hold the 'police fund', from which all policing is financed. The bulk of funding for the police fund comes from the Home Office in the form of an annual grant (calculated on a proportionate basis by the Home Office to take into account the differences between the 43 forces in England and Wales, which vary significantly in terms of population, geographical size, crime levels and trends), though Commissioners will also set a precept on the Council Tax to raise additional funds. If a Commissioner wishes to increase the precept by an amount deemed to be excessive, the Localism Act 2011 requires a referendum. It is the Commissioner's responsibility to set the budget for the force area, which includes allocating enough money from the overall policing budget to ensure that he or she can discharge his or her own functions effectively.