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.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I know Thames Valley is big...

Had I been elected PCC for Thames Valley, I would have spent my first few weeks talking with as many people and organisations as possible, seeking their ideas, their concerns and their priorities. I suspect I would not have got much sleep in last couple of months.

So when I had a look through the draft Thames Valley Police and Crime plan, I had a hunch that our elected PCC, Anthony Stansfeld may not have talked with that many people about the ideas that went into the draft. So a few days ago, I asked the question (via twitter):
FoI request: Pls can I have the list of orgs/ppl who were consulted during the drafting of P&C plan. Tx.
I received my reply today (and I am grateful for the speed of reply):
The answer to your question - the Police and Crime Commissioner in preparing the Police and Crime Plan has:
    • Consulted the Chief Constable-
    • Had due regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement
    • Had due regard to the priorities of Local Authorities and Community Safety Partnerships
    • Had due regard to the views of victims and witnesses of crime
    • Had due regard to the views of the Criminal Justice Partners
    • Obtaining the views of the people living in the Force area
    • Sought the views of ratepayers’ representatives

Frankly, my flabber has never been so ghasted. Indeed I am appalled that this list appears to indicate an extremely paltry engagement with anyone beyond a select few. What is this 'due regard to' stuff all about? It certainly does not sound like any actual conversations were had.

Now I may be wrong and perhaps the PCC is being (unnecessarily) vague or legalistic. Perhaps he really has been listening far and wide to a great many people and organisatons around the counties of Thames Valley. But why not say? Or is it really possible that he has had just one or two titular meetings and that is about it?

I would be happy to publish more details if these are forthcoming. I do still really hope that he is not ensconcing himself in his office and is, in fact, getting out there to meet his 'people'. I am open to being impressed, despite what he think. (Although one of the few stories that has come my way was of a meeting in Reading where he left after ten minutes as I was told he had to zoom off back to Newbury for a council meeting... Yes, he is still a councillor...) 

What is going on? Do the Thames Valley people and communities have the PCC they deserve?

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