A Conservative peer has predicted “a scramble” for police and crime commissioner jobs – in four years’ time.
There are fears only a fifth of the population could turn out for the November 15 elections which are expected to cost £100 million to stage.
The holder of the new £100,000-a-year West Midlands post will be responsible for setting police priorities, overseeing the budget and hiring the Chief Constable.
Conservative peer Lord Wasserman, the government’s adviser on policing and criminal justice, told a fringe meeting of the Tory Party Conference that the new commissioner will play a vital role.
He said: “I am shocked at how little interest there has been from the public.
“For 150 years the public has never been asked about policing. We are now giving people the chance to vote. If they don’t vote, is that a failure?
“Policing is about resources and this will give the public a chance to choose somebody who will respond to their concerns about resources.
“The challenge for them is going to be immense. They are going to have to make really important strategic decisions from day one.
“I think that in four years’ time that everyone will be scrambling for the job.”