This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is the PCC solely accountable to the PCP?

This morning, I penned an email to the members of my local police and crime panel. I thought you might be interested to see what I have asked them:
Dear Member of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel
Yesterday, I received an unexpected email from PCC Stansfeld as a second reply to an inquiry I sent him a couple of weeks ago. (I have blogged my original question and his answer here and here fyi). As his latest email to me mentions the PCP, I am sending it to you for information and with some follow up questions for you: 
Dear Mr Harvey,
It is difficult to produce a baseline value for the current balance between rural and urban policing. The main reason is that most Local Police Areas (LPAs) have both an urban and a rural element. West Berkshire for instance is a large rural area that includes Newbury and the western outskirts of Reading. It is only the major towns and cities that are essentially urban e.g. Reading, Slough and Oxford.
What I do not intend to do is alter in any significant way the existing balance of police numbers in the LPAs, nor would I expect to ask for this as it is essentially an operational matter.
I do not intend to enter into what will be a political dialogue with you as you are a party activist. The Police and Crime Panel will be scrutinising how effective I am in achieving my pledges. If you have a personal issue on policing I will be delighted to reply. 
Kind regards
Anthony Stansfeld | Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley 
As you know, PCC Stansfeld made a specific pledge concerning the balance between urban and rural policing in his winning manifesto. He also pledged “to ensure that the Police budget is targeted effectively”. All this prompts me to ask you a series of questions.
  1. How important is it to you that the PCP holds PCC Stansfeld to account for achieving the pledges on which he based his campaign?
  2. If it is important, how will you be doing this, specifically, pledge by pledge?
  3. From your perspective are matters relating to the deployment of police resources (temporarily or over a longer term) a matter for the Chief Constable’s operational discretion (informed by evidence and data no doubt) or is this a matter for the PCC? (PCC Stansfeld’s email seems to me to be saying both…)
  4. Currently Thames Valley Police use a Resource Allocation Formula based upon Population 30%, Recorded Crime 35% and Incidents (excluding Crime and Admin) 35% (a matter I have blogged about in the past). Do you foresee the PCC having any authority over altering the nature of the existing formula?
  5. If (say) Aylesbury Vale experienced an unforeseen and dramatic rise in rural crime (such as the rising incidence of the theft of agricultural vehicles), would you expect the PCC to react to this by asking the Chief Constable to allocate extra police officers and staff towards tackling this?
  6. As most of the PCP are councillors, do you see yourself as a body composed mostly of ‘political activists’? 
  7. What view do you have of PCC Stansfeld’s last couple of sentences where he seems to me to say that he believes his only line of scrutiny is to the PCP and that I (as a resident, town councillor and member of a political party) am only entitled to ask him questions relating to ‘personal’ issues?
I look forward to your replies. Thank you.
Very best wishes and seasonal greetings
NB Not circulated: Terry Burke or Rajinder Sohpal as I can find no contact details for them. I would be grateful if this email could be forwarded to both of them. (Also Cllr David Carroll not circulated as I presume, as appointed Deputy PCC, he is no longer a member of the Panel)
I now await their replies.

Odd how there is no way of contacting the two independent members. Indeed the site listing all the people on the panel has rather a lot of addresses not supplied. Hopefully this will change as the panel shifts up a gear in coming months.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1/7/13 11:52

    Same here in Dorset, there are no contact details for the independent members of the PCP.

    I made a complaint about my PCC over 6 weeks ago, it was acknowledged but has not been addressed as yet.

    Exactly who are PCP's accountable to as I want to complain that they appear to be innefective.