Councillors to Step Up Police Scrutiny


Friday, August 30th, 2013. 1:47pm

Agenda screenshot
Cambridgeshire County Council are considering getting more involved in scrutising the work of Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright and Chief Constable Simon Parr.

Councillors on the police scrutiny committee, which they call the Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee are to discuss their future work programme at their meeting on the 3rd of September 2013.

A proposal before the meeting suggests calling in the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable for a grilling by councillors in public every three months.

The scrutiny committee is chaired by UKIP Councillor Paul Bullen.

I have asked to use the public speaking slot at the meeting to make some suggestions, I wrote:

I would like to use the public speaking opportunity at the Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 3rd of September 2013 to make some suggestions on the committee’s work programme.

I would like to draw the committee’s attention to the way Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Panel is scrutinising decisions made by Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner. The panel is allowing the commissioner to decide which of his decisions he puts before them for scrutiny[1]. This approach allows the commissioner to evade scrutiny by the panel. There are many decisions which the commissioner has made which he has not volunteered for scrutiny including for example:

  • Decisions which the commissioner claims have led to the improvement of non-emergency call handling performance.
  • Decisions relating to the staffing levels in the Commissioner’s office.
  • The decision to hold the Commissioner’s key decision making committees, particularly the Business Coordination Board[2] in secret and private; only publishing meeting papers well after the meetings took place.
  • Decisions on which transactions to include in the Commissioner’s published spending data
  • Decisions on pro-active publication of information; including police performance statistics and Force Executive Board papers.

Perhaps the Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee could itself seek to fill the gap left by the Police and Crime Panel’s approach and scrutinise those important decisions the commissioner is not highlighting to the panel? I suggest calling the chair of the Police and Crime Panel to appear before the committee.

The Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee could also look at how the Police and Crime Panel is operating and encourage them to adopt a more comprehensive approach?

I can see the Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee already has non-emergency call handling on its work programme. When the committee comes to investigate this I would like to see details of any decision taken by the commissioner revealed (the commissioner has repeatedly stated he took action to resolve the problems). The committee has in the past[3] asked the police to provide details on call waiting times where their targets are not met; what is required is data showing the full distribution of call wait times both for the call being initially answered and for any “second wait”. I would like to see such data from both before and after any intervention by the commissioner.

In September 2012 Cllr McGuire, who represents the County Council on the Police and Crime Panel and serves as its chair told the Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee the Police and Crime Panel could scrutinise the Police and Crime Commissioner’s staffing levels and come to a view on if they had overstaffed their office[4]. Perhaps the scrutiny committee could call him back to ask why the panel has not yet embarked on this?

I am concerned by many of the public statements by the Police and Crime Commissioner which appear inconsistent with information published by other sources. I am concerned by the commissioner’s claims the costs of his office will be less than the costs of the Police Authority; questions need to be asked about what he is considering as the costs of the Police Authority. Is it reasonable to include members’ allowances and expenses, or to cite a budgeted cost even now information on actual spending is available?[5] On another subject the way the commissioner has described the “ECINs” data sharing website has been dramatically at odds with information provided to Cambridge’s Community Safety Partnership, the commissioner has stated the only information shared is if an individual has come into contact with an organisation, whereas the CSP papers suggest sharing of more details.[6]

In relation to the Commisioner’s new “ALERT” / eCops service the commissioner has suggested to the police and crime panel it will provide comprehensive information on at least burglaries, car crime and anti-social behaviour; he also told them it was developed by the Home Office when justifying his approach [7] (something the Home Office deny[8]). Perhaps the Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee could seek to challenge the commissioner on the accuracy of some of his public statements and urge the Police and Crime Panel to do this more too?

Details of the council’s “Public speaking at Overview and Scrutiny Committees” are currently unavailable as the relvent link on the council’s How you can play your part webpage linked from the agenda is broken.

12 comments/updates on “Councillors to Step Up Police Scrutiny

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    The Peterborough Telegraph is carrying a video of the Commissioner saying he dealt with the 101 problem within three days of coming in to office:

    http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/local/cambridgeshire-police-commissioner-congratulates-101-call-centre-staff-1-5442132?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

    Commissioner Bright says the advantage of being one man rather than a 17 member committee (like the Police Authority) was that he could make an instant decision.

    Why have details of this decision, we now know was made in November 2012, not yet appeared on his public list of decisions (it is only those decisions on that list which he has presented to the Police and Crime Panel for scrutiny; the panel have not yet reviewed his actions in relation to the non-emergency number).

    Commissioner Bright says the longest wait is “probably 33-34 seconds”; however neither the force or the commissioner have published the data behind such a claim.

    Notably images from the contact centre in the video don’t show maps. I’ve been astonished to be told when I’ve called the non-emergency number that the operators don’t have maps, and so find it hard to understand where problems are when they are described to them.

  2. Richard Taylor Article author

    I attended the meeting as planned. I filmed my contribution and the questioning which followed:

    Transcript:

    Chairman Cllr Paul Bullen (St Ives, UKIP): Your three minutes will be timed and it starts now.
    Richard Taylor I’m Richard Taylor. I’m a Cambridge resident and I’ve been looking at the performance of our Police and Crime Commissioner and the Police and Crime Panel.

    I’m encouraged by the proposal in your papers today to bring the Police and Crime Commissioner before you every couple of months.

    Now what I wanted to draw your attention to is the way the Police and Crime Panel has been selecting the commissioner’s decisions for them to consider for scrutiny. Now they’ve been letting the commissioner decide which decisions he puts to them; which I think is not a very good way of working.

    I’d like you to consider bringing in Cllr McGuire, the chair of the panel, to ask him about that approach and also to consider, perhaps yourselves, looking into some of the decisions which the commissioner hasn’t decided to highlight for scrutiny and fill in the gap there.

    The commissioner publishes on his website some decisions; those that he considers are of public interest and are of importance but I think there are many decisions which are omitted from that. One of them you are already planning to look into; the 101 non emergency phone number performance. The commissioner says he made a decision on that within three days of coming into office so what I think you, or the panel, should do is ask him: “What decision did you make?” and also look into how the call handling performance changed, if it did at all, after that decision was made. What you need to look into there is something the committee as asked for information on before, once that 30 second target has been missed, how badly has it been missed. You need the distribution of all call waiting times, both the initial ones and those for any second wait when people are asked to hold to be put through to somebody else.

    You could also look… this committee has already asked the panel to look into the staffing levels of the commissioner’s office.

    The commissioner also made an awful lot of decisions when he was setting up his organisation for example he has decided to hold his key decision making body, his “Business Co-ordination Board” in secret and the papers for that are not published in advance they only come out afterwards.

    I’d like you, or the panel, to look at the information he is proactively publishing. Information on spending; how does he decide what goes into his published spending data? What about the police performance data which we used to get on a regular basis via the Police Authority which neither the police or the commissioner are now publishing.

    [I have obtained some performance data via FOI and the latest Business Co-ordination Board papers does include a performance report but as yet there's no commitment for proactive timely publication]

    What about the Force Executive Board papers where again some of those used to come out through the Police Authority so we used to find out in advance when major policy changes within the police were being considered.

    Something else you could look into is the accuracy of some of the commissioner’s key claims. Like the commissioner’s claim to put no extra burden on council tax. That should be quite an easy one for you to look into and see if that’s reasonable. 10% reduction in the costs of his office; is that a fair thing for him to be saying?

    You could look into some of his projects; the ECINS data sharing website for example. The commissioner repeatedly says there are no personal details on that beyond weather or not an individual has come into contact with an organisation yet the Community Safety Partnership in Cambridge has been told something quite different – that a lot of personal information is being shared between organisations on that website.

    You could also look into his “ALERT” system; is this comprehensive as the commissioner is claiming? Did the Home Office actually produce it and design it? What sort of process did he go through giving that tender to the company he awarded [it to]?

    So those are the kind of things I’d like you to look at. I hope you will bring him before you, I think it’s in December that you’re planning, and I look forward to you holding him to account in December

    [3mins 32 seconds]

    Cllr Bullen Thank you Richard. You took up more than your three minutes but you were on a roll. There were a number of questions in there. I think if we .. first of all do any members of the committee wish to ask any questions of Mr Taylor?
    Cllr Mandy Smith (Conservative, Papworth and Swavesey) Can I just briefly ask, the information that you’re requesting, you know not a problem, is any of that on his website?
    Richard Taylor Right, so he has a decisions page on his website but he obviously controls that…
    Cllr Smith ..and decides what goes for scrutiny yes..
    Richard Taylor My comment is; it’s not as comprehensive as I would like. I’ve given you the example of the 101 decision and the initial set up decisions
    Cllr Smith We are talking about headlines again.
    Richard Taylor We’re talking about selecting the items. So he’s got a decisions list, but is it comprehensive? I don’t think it is. He’s got spending data, again he makes decisions on what goes onto that spending data. For example his own expenses, now I think he might be doing something along the lines of accruing them but not claiming them so therefore they don’t appear on the spending data. His staffing expenses don’t appear on the spending data and what about the money that he’s spending, that he hands over to the police? That doesn’t appear there either. So all the Police and Crime Commissioners around the country have made different decisions on what appears on their public spending data. No perhaps nationally we should have some consistancy but equally in December when the commissioner is in front of you, you could ask him what has he decided to publish, what is he not publishing.
    Cllr Smith There must be accounts mustn’t there? End of year accounts so to speak.
    [RT: I'm asking about his proactively published spending data]
    Cllr Bullen I must say this now. I’m actually on the Police and Crime Panel, though they’ve only had one meeting since I joined the council. We will be looking into certain things but that is outside of this committee now.
    Cllr Yeulett??? You’ve mentioned there has to be a national benchmark or whatever how does he compare with other crime commissioners in the country?
    Richard Taylor In terms of making his decisions, his key decision making body this Business Co-ordination Board, elsewhere in the country that kind of thing is being done at a public meeting whereas his is not. In terms of things like the spending data no one is holding the Police and Crime Commissioners to account, no one is forcing them to be as open as the law encourages them to be, it comes down to members of the public to hold the Police and Crime Commissioner to account. Essentially I’m here to say: “Help me hold my Police and Crime Commissioner to account; and get him to be as open and transparent as possible”.
    Cllr Bullen You can of course attend the Police and Crime Panel.
    Richard Taylor and I have; a number of times.
    Cllr Bullen Cllr Topping is next.
    Cllr Peter Topping (Conservative, Duxford) I was going to ask. I’m sure we can get this information from our own officers but in terms of the sort of vires of this committee, because there will be other bodies looking at the performance of the Police and Crime Commissioner, including the one our chairman has just referenced, so what is your view on what is our remit.
    Richard Taylor I’ve suggested two things here; one is you get the chairman of the Police and Crime Panel in and encourage him to do a little bit more and you’ve already been working for a couple of years on non-emergency call handling, I’m saying well that’s already on your future work programme I think you should carry on with that and I’ve been specific about what I think you should ask the Commissioner and the Chief Constable to bring with them next time in terms of information on what’s changed and … it seems like its improved but we need to see the data and look at it.
    Cllr Bullen Cllr Cearns
    Cllr Edward Cearns (Liberal Democrat, Market – Cambridge) Thank you chair. My understanding is that it is part of the duty of this committee to look at his actions. And there’s a statutory part of our duty to, or has been agreed, that there are statutory parts of the council’s duty that are allotted to different committees and has been divested to this committee?
    Senior Scrutiny Officer Robert Jakeman Within the terms of reference, you will see it on page two, it refers to the council’s role as the crime and disorder committee, so every local authority has a scrutiny committee which has crime and disorder related powers if you like, or those are the issues they look at, so this committee is one of those crime and disorder committees and the Police and Crime Commissioner is obviously an element within the crime and disorder area.
    Cllr Bullen Do we have any more questions?
    Cllr Roger Henson (UKIP, Norman Cross) The question on the money being spent by the crime commissioner… he’s not been going a year yet has he? Has he been going a year?
    Cllr Bullen A year in November
    Cllr Henson Oh all right so we’ve got no figures whatsoever at the moment, I think we ought be looking at scrutiny on when he’s done an entire year.
    [RT: The committee's next meeting is after his first year has concluded; and he is publishing some spending data already]
    Cllr Bullen Does anyone have any more questions for Mr Taylor?
    Cllr Yeulett???You are obviously concerned in this particular subject, have you put any Freedom of Information requests in?
    Richard Taylor Yes. I’ve tried making Freedom of Information requests for every month’s Force Executive Board papers and those have been refused by the police, in a very dodgy way in my view, they’ve refused them as vexatious on the grounds that they say the work they would have to do in order to prepare those for publication would disrupt them from their core business of running the police force.
    Now normally; sorry not normally, previously, through the Police Authority the key papers did get published. The force have told me they’ve been very surprised that the commissioner isn’t publishing a good chunk of what they give him because he stood for election on a manifesto including openness and transparency, so they were quite surprised that he didn’t start publishing a lot of the material that they provide him with.
    Cllr Yeulett??? Can I just have a follow up, so how many FOIs have you put in?
    Richard Taylor I did every month since November until recently I’ve been asking for the Force Executive Board papers, for example. With some of the other information the problem is, with the spending information it’s got to be proactively published really. And with the call answering statistics you can’t force the police to produce statistics via FOI I can’t force them to produce the kind of graph or distribution that I, that we, want, that this committee has asked for repeatedly on how long the calls take to answer if that thirty second target is missed so I’ve got to use this kind of [approach] I’ve got to come to councillors, or come to the Police and Crime Panel, and say can you encourage, I think all you can do is encourage, and keep requesting this information from the police and the commissioner.
    Cllr Bullen If I summarise. What you’re asking us as the committee to do is to ask the Police and Crime Panel to ask the Police and Crime Commissioner for that information that used to be published but is no longer being published is that correct?
    Richard Taylor Yes.
    Cllr BullenSo if we put down that your request to us is to request that the public information that used to be published by the police authority prior to the appointment of the police and crime commissioner is no longer being published and you want to know why and if there is no reason why it shouldn’t be published you’d like to see it published again?
    Richard Taylor Yes.
    Officer Jakeman As Mr Taylor mentioned earlier, there’s a proposal being put forward as part of the work programme that we ask the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable to this committee.
    Cllr Bullen If the committee is in favour. Do we think it’s right that we ask the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable to address us at this committee. Do we feel that is correct that we should ask the Police and Crime Commissioner why he no longer publishes that information that the previous police authority used to publish and why does he not publish it. We’ve got a member of the public here who wants to see the information.
    Cllr So do we.
    Cllr Smith Yes. I’m happy with that obviously, but in appendix C we are actually asking for either him, or the Chief Constable, or their delegates, should we take away “or their delegates”?
    Cllr Yes.
    Cllr Yes.
    Cllr Yes.
    Cllr Yes.
    Cllr Yes.
    Cllr Bullen Then we will do.
    Officer Jakeman You can’t compel them,
    Cllr Smith No but if we say “or delegates” then…that sort of you know.
    Cllr Barbara Ashwood (Liberal Democrat, Trumpington) Gives them a get out actually.
    Cllr BullenSo the action Mr Taylor has asked us to do is ask that question to the Police and Crime Commissioner; is that correct Mr Taylor?
    Richard Taylor Yes.
    Cllr Bullen And I think it is a fairly reasonable question and that is outside of getting them to come here. We can ask other questions when he does come here. Thank you very much. You are quite welcome to stay… sorry Cllr Topping
    Cllr Topping I’m just going to say, can we ask the officers to give us the best advice they can in terms of what is the remit of the police committee the one which you’re on
    Cllr Bullen The Police and Crime Panel
    Cllr Toppingand this committee. What we don’t want to do is to have the situation where we’re asking questions to be told “that isn’t in your remit” so it would be helpful before we have the discussions and those challenges from the Police and Crime Commissioner we have an understanding of what’s our remit and what’s that of the panel.
    Cllr Bullen I can probably answer that. Our remit is to look at the whole role and scrutinise it. The remit of the Police and Crime Panel is to scrutinise the Police and Crime Commissioner but we have no power to compel him or over-rule him to do anything.
    Cllr Topping Yeah I’m fine with that I’m just saying we don’t want to get into a situation where perhaps we’ve prepared a line of questioning and someone turns round to us quite legitimately and actually says that’s actually not within your remit.
    Cllr Henson On that subject. If he’s working for the public surely he’s got to answer the questions. He can’t get out of answering questions.
    Cllr Bullen This is an appointment which was made by central government and they’ve given the Police and Crime Commissioner authority… we can ask questions if we’ve got a responsibility but we can’t compel him to do anything.
    Cllr Cearns Well chair let’s not forget they are elected by the public. Appointed the office was appointed or created by central government but it’s a democratically elected position and a political position as well really.
    Cllr Bullen I think this committee agrees on that weather our opinions are Police and Crime Commissioners are good or bad. OK. We can move on.

    Dates for the Diary

    The dates the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable are expected to be summoned to appear before councillors to answer questions and have their performance scrutinised are:

    • Thursday, 19 December 2013
    • Thursday, 06 February 2014
    • Tuesday, 20 May 2014

    Anyone can request to make a contribution in person to these meetings; ideally submitting their comment or question in advance (if not it’s up to the chair to decide if to allow a contribution).

    When the Police and Crime Commissioner does meet the scrutiny committee for the first time I’d like to see him ask for their help; seek their assistance with for example monitoring the performance of call answering as they are already doing, and in looking into how local priority setting is working around the county, as is also on their work programme.

    The commissioner could ask councillors on the scrutiny committee and/or police and crime panel to help him with sampling of police complaints this would give the councillors involved oversight of policing a greater insight into what is happening; they could also themselves review, and raise any concerns with, the police performance statistics.

  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Paul Bullen, the chairman of the Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, spoke to me outside the Police and Crime Panel meeting on the 6th of November 2013.

    Cllr Bullen told me his committee was getting “no co-operation” from the Police and Crime Commissioner. I asked if the commissioner would turn up to the committee and Cllr Bullen told me “he won’t turn up to the committee”.

    I think this is astonishing.

    The commissioner is refusing to allow councillors to scrutinise him on the detail of his work. There’s a big difference between taking a couple of questions and answering them briefly at a full council meeting and engaging properly with a scrutiny committee – providing the information they request – and appearing in front of them to answer questions on it.

  4. Ed Hammond

    Hi Richard – it doesn’t surprise me – the PCC’s view will be that it is the job of the Panel to hold him to account and that the committee has no legal power to do so. He is not a community safety partner under the Act and so a council committee has no formal legal power to get him to attend.

    I do know however that in other areas – West Midlands, I think – the PCC has been willing to talk to council scrutiny committees.

  5. Richard Taylor Article author

    Cllr Bullen has written to me:

    I subsequently met with the Police and Crime Commissioner on the 30th October to discuss the issues raised and to confirm the Committee’s invitation to future meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Police and Crime Commissioner declined this invitation, on the basis that he is held to account by the Police and Crime Panel. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee does not have the power to compel the Police and Crime Commissioner to attend its meetings.

    I am very impressed that Cllr Bullen has taken the time to write to me with an update.

    I’m utterly unimpressed at the Police and Crime Commissioner’s decision not to allow councillors to robustly hold him to account, in detail, for his performance.

  6. Richard Taylor Article author

    I have been sent a document which will become a report to the 19 December Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee. It contains further justification of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s decision. The commissioner has told the committee:

    The Centre for Public Scrutiny has produced guidance which states the following:

    Under the Police and Justice Act 2006 local authority scrutiny functions in shire districts, and unitary areas, have specific powers to hold to account work being carried out by the community safety partnership (CSP).

    This gives local government scrutiny the right to request information from, and require the attendance of, CSP responsible authorities. Scrutiny also has some powers to make recommendations to responsible authorities about improvements to services. It is important to recognise that these powers are limited to those services delivered by responsible authorities in partnership.

    The PCC is not a ‘responsible authority’ for the purposes of community safety partnerships, but there will inevitably be close joint working between PCCs and CSPs. Councils will need to consider how CSP scrutiny and PCP scrutiny will relate to each other and ensure they do not duplicate each other’s work. In particular, they will need to ensure that community safety scrutiny committees do not seek to hold the PCC to account for an issue specific to a single community safety partnership. Overlap of areas of interest will, however, be inevitable, and a protocol between the main partners will help to define how different forms of accountability will intersect.

    In the opinion of the PCC, It is therefore clear that the Committee does not have a statutory role in scrutinising the PCC, as its role is related to scrutiny of the CSP (a countywide CSP does not exist in Cambridgeshire). However, the Committee Chairman, as a member of the Police and Crime Panel is able to ensure appropriate coordination and communication.

    No one ever suggested the commissioner was statutorily required to attend the meeting, however councillors on the committee have been working on a number of areas which he is responsible for and it would be very useful if he would co-operate with them.

  7. Ed Hammond

    While recognising that I don’t necessarily want to provide a running commentary, and also that councils and commissioners will be making decisions subject to legal advice to which I obviously defer, I’d say the following:

    a) Scrutiny committees can invite whoever they wish to attend their meetings;
    b) Unless there is a statutory obligation for a person to attend those meetings, a person can refuse and there’s not much anyone can do about it;
    c) The guidance – which was a co-production between CfPS and the LGA, although these comments are my own personal opinion – does not say that local O&S does not have a statutory role in scrutinising the PCC. It says that CSP scrutiny committees and PCPs will need to liaise about how the task of scrutiny, from top to bottom, of policing strategy and operation is carried out. CSP scrutiny committees’ roles are essentially tactical in nature, and they can and do look at policing – it is common for district and borough commanders to attend scrutiny meetings around the country to give updates on operational matters and to answer questions.

    I can see why the council committee might wish to see the PCC – he will be making decisions that have a direct impact on the CSP and as such he is a relevant person to invite. However, I can also understand why he has chosen not to attend and he is legally within his rights not to do so. The formal legal role of scrutiny of the PCC sits with the PCP alone, although naturally CSP scrutiny committees will have an interest in that role and should feed into it, subject to agreement. Again, discussions between the PCP and the county CSP scrutiny cttee as to shared and duplicated responsibility might provide a means for those concerned to iron out who goes where, who speaks to whom and, fundamentally, who is holding who to account over what.

    But as I’ve said, everyone here is operating within their legal rights – in my non-qualified opinion, and it goes without saying that none of the foregoing should be construed as giving a definitive picture on the law or giving legal advice.

  8. Rupert Moss-Eccardt

    The Police and Crime Panel has just had a change in membership. One of the East Cambs reps, leader James Palmer, has been replaced by Tom Hunt, a back bench councillor who was very active in Sir Graham’s election campaign.

  9. Richard Taylor Article author

    Commissioner Bright was challenged on his refusal to attend the scrutiny committee at the Home Affairs Select Committee on the 26th of November 2013:

    Julian Huppert You Sir Graham I think refused to attend a meeting of the county council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee which doesn’t suggest you are keen to see other efforts at scrutiny. Do any of you want to see other public scrutiny bodies?

    Graham Bright I think the police and crime panel are the people that scrutinise us, beyond we can go and speak to local authorities, which we do, to say what we’re doing and share things with them.

    Julian Huppert But you wouldn’t go in front of one of their scrutiny committees?

    Graham Bright In that particular instance when it’s the county council and you’ve got a number of them on the police and crime panel anyway and that’s the way forward to go through them not otherwise I’d be forever attending scrutiny committees. You’ve got one you can focus on and everyone can ask questions of them to ask me and that’s the way forward.

  10. Richard Taylor Article author

    I”ve had a response to my FOI request for the responses from the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner to their invitations to the committee.

    In relation to the December meeting the police have said:

    Cambridgeshire Police are in the process or arranging for appropriate representation to the above meeting.

    This is far from a promise that the Chief Constable will attend; and notably there is no commitment to supply relevant information in advance of the meeting, or even at it.

    It appears the Commissioner is unwilling to attend despite the committee chair only asking him in the first instance to “discuss how the Committee can most usefully exercise its role”.

  11. Richard Taylor Article author

    Neither Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright or any representative of the police attended the meeting of the committee on the 19th of December 2013; this was despite some of the commissioner’s favourite topics appearing on the agenda – parish councils and speeding.

    The committee resolved to submit a motion to the full council on the subject of the lack of accountability of the Police and Crime Commissioner; calling the current situation “disgraceful”.

    Cllr Bullen said the Police and Crime Commissioner is to all intents and purposes totally autonomous and answerable to nobody unless he breaks the law himself.

    Cllr Bullen suggested the council, or cabinet, could lobby central government and request a more robust system of accountability.

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