Why your vote matters in the PCC elections


With Police and Crime Commissioner elections set to take place on 2 May 2024, BASC’s head of firearms Martin Parker addresses the question of why you should cast your vote when it comes around.

What is a PCC?

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) were introduced by the coalition government in 2012 to ensure that Chief Constables of local police forces were accountable to the public in that force area. 

Elected by public vote, they replaced police authorities in most of the police forces in England and Wales, although in certain metropolitan areas (London, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire) the same function is performed by the Mayor. 

Further information on the role of the PCC can be found on the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners website. 

Do PCCs really make a difference?

Yes, your PCC really can make a difference. 

For instance, it was announced earlier this year that the PCC for West Mercia secured additional funding for his force’s firearms licensing department of nearly £500,000. 

Similarly, the PCC for Dorset persuaded his force to fund a new independent firearms licensing department, as he was unhappy with the joint service that was being provided by Devon and Cornwall. 

Both West Mercia and Dorset have further improvements to make to their service, but this progress would not have been possible without a PCC who had shooters’ interests at heart.

In addition, history shows that PCC elections often have very low turnouts. This means that your vote is likely to have a bigger impact than in a general or local council election. The number of shotgun and firearm certificate holders in a force area is often sufficient to determine if a candidate wins or loses.

How do I decide who to vote for?

On 2 May 2024, you will have the opportunity to vote in PCC elections. It is vitally important that members of the shooting community grasp this opportunity. 

You have the chance to vote for the candidate who is most likely to support shooting by ensuring their Chief Constable devotes the appropriate resources to firearms licensing. Ultimately, we want them to provide an efficient and effective service for shooting and to protect public safety.

To help you decide who to vote for, we have developed an easy-to-use digital contact platform which allows you to find your local PCC candidates and to contact them to establish their views and vote accordingly. It’s a straightforward and quick way of finding out where your prospective PCC candidate stands on firearms licensing. Read more here

In addition to putting you in touch eith PCC candidates in your area, our website has information from candidates that have responded to contact from BASC thus far, highlighting where they stand on shooting. 

Making personal contact with your candidates and impressing on them how important a good licensing service is to certificate holders, is fundamental to getting the right person in the job. With the right PCCs in place, BASC can work with those individuals to get a better deal for all certificate holders.