Police forces should be made more accountable to the communities they serve by replacing local police authorities with more "visible" elected police commissioners, the Tory leader, Michael Howard, proposed today.

Mr Howard said a Tory government would scrap the current police authorities, which are made up of local councillors and magistrates, because nobody knew who they were.
The new plan, which attracted comparisons with the American system of police sheriffs, is part of Mr Howard's attempt to focus on law and order ahead of the general election, which is expected on May 5.

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