The Police and Crime Commissioner and her office work very closely with the Merseyside Police Force but they are two separate organisations with different roles.
The two organisations are referred to as the ‘Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’ or OPCC and Merseyside Police (or sometimes ‘the Force’). The Chief Constable is in charge of the Force.
The Commissioner holds the Chief Constable to account for the performance of the Officers and staff under his control, but the Chief Constable directs all operational matters.
In practical terms this means that the Chief Constable is responsible for the day to day running of the Force. The Commissioner cannot instruct Police Officers directly; this means that 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 will "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 PCC holds Merseyside Police to account using a variety of mechanisms. Find out more about how she does in 'How we work'.
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 does take note of the views expressed and this is used, with other information collected, to help the Commissioner shape the future priorities for Force.
The Commissioner is responsible for any complaints that relate to the Chief Constable in his 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.
Find out more about how Complaints are handled.
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 Andy Cooke and his Chief Officer team. Find out more about the Chief Constable and his 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