The Police and Crime Commissioner and her office work very closely with Merseyside Police, but they are two separate organisations with different roles.
The Commissioner holds the Chief Constable to account for the performance of the officers and staff under her control, while the Chief Constable is in charge of the Force.
This means the Chief Constable is responsible for the operational day to day running of the Force. The Commissioner cannot instruct police officers directly. She cannot direct matters to be investigated or order police to take a particular action.
The PCC's working relationship with the Chief Constable and Merseyside Police is governed by a Policing Protocol. This is statutory guidance produced by the Home Secretary to which the PCC and Chief Constable must "have regard". The Policing Protocol states that the relationship between the Chief Constable and PCC should be based on "principles of goodwill, professionalism, openness and trust".
It also makes clear that "the PCC must not fetter the operational independence of the police force and the Chief Constable who leads it".
The Chief Constable has overall responsibility for leading the Force, creating a vision and setting direction and culture that builds public and organisational confidence and trust, and enables the delivery of a professional, effective and efficient policing service.
The Chief Constable holds direct accountability for the operational delivery of policing services and the effective command and leadership of the policing response to crime, and major and critical incidents.
The Chief Constable is responsible for influencing the development of regional and national policing and may be accountable for national operations or standard setting.
As a Corporation Sole, the Chief Constable is responsible for fulfilling all statutory and legal obligations of the office of Chief Constable and complying with any Schemes of Governance or Consent that exist, which determine force governance arrangements.
The PCC holds Merseyside Police to account using a variety of mechanisms.
Correspondence and complaints
When the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) receive correspondence that relates to operational matters it will often be directed to the force, as it will be the officers and staff who have the knowledge and expertise to answer the queries raised.
The Commissioner may also ask for a briefing or explanation from the force.
The Commissioner is responsible for any complaints that relate to the Chief Constable in her personal capacity. All other complaints are sent onto the ‘appropriate authority’, which for most complaints is the Force, but for very serious complaints would be the Independent Office of Police Complaints.
About Merseyside Police
Merseyside Police was formed in 1974 and serves a population of around 1.5 million people, covering an area of 647 square kilometres.
The force is led by Chief Constable Serena Kennedy and her Chief Officer team. Find out more about the Chief Constable and her team.
To find out how Merseyside Police is structured, please take a look at a Staffing Structure for the Force.
The Commissioner also provides Equalities Information for Merseyside Police.
A day in the life of Merseyside Police
The infographic below gives you an idea of the demands Merseyside Police face on daily basis*:
*Accurate as of August 2019