THE proposal for directly elected police commissioners poses “significant and substantial risks,” the West Yorkshire Police Authority has warned.
Under reforms being planned by the Government, police authorities would be replaced by police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in May 2012.
They would oversee police performance and set priorities for the force.
But the West Yorkshire authority said it had major concerns about public misunderstanding of what powers PCCs would and would not have.
Chairman Mark Burns-Williamson said: “We believe that people think that, in voting for a PCC, they will be voting for their chief constable in much the same way as they vote for sheriffs in the United States.
“PCCs will be imposed upon local communities within each policing area and will be elected to a statutory role covering a very large geographical and demographical area.
“However, their remit will be confined to a very narrow area of policing.”
He added: “Any proposed model of police governance which has at its centre a single elected individual represents significant and substantial risks. It will introduce conflict, confusion and cost.”
The police authority said it would rather see an elected police board of several people.