Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Panel - first meeting

The shadow police and crime panel for Devon and Cornwall met this afternoon for the first (and only) time. The next time it convenes will be to begin the process of holding the new elected Police and Crime Commissioner to account.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is an elected post which replaces the current Police Authority. It is the brainwave of the Conservatives and is being created to provide an accountable and human face to law enforcement. The new person will have the power to hire and fire the Chief Constable and to set the strategic aims of the police service.

The Panel is meant to provide checks and balances on the Commissioner. It is made up of all the local councils in Devon and Cornwall with membership in rough proportion to population. So each of the Devon districts, plus Devon County Council and Torbay Unitary have one representative. The Council of the Isles of Scilly has one rep, Plymouth City Council has two and Cornwall Council has five. Overall there are ten Conservatives, three Labour members, three Lib Dems and two Independents. A further two co-opted, non-councillor members will be appointed before October.

Today's meeting, which I attended as one of the Cornwall reps, was largely procedural, electing a Chair and Vice Chair for the term of the shadow panel (ie just today) and, mnore importantly, setting up a work programme for how we will scrutinise the work of the Commissioner. Two of his first tasks will be to appoint a new Chief Constable (the Panel will hold a confirmation hearing and has the power to veto an appointment) and to set a crime reduction strategy for Devon and Cornwall. The Panel will have extensive input into the latter.

1 comment:

PP said...

Given the endemic levels of dishonesty, corruption & criminality which are protected within the Devon & Cornwall police force, this new post of commissioner will need very careful monitoring by the public & not a select elite few insiders.
Trust the police?
After the Killing of Charles de Menzes & Ian Tomlinson, I’d rather trust a rabid Rottweiler.