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.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Register of Interests, PCCs & PCPs (HASC report)

The Home Affairs Select Committee has published its first report into PCCs and has focused upon their declared interests. I have not yet had time to read the full report, but I thought it would be interesting to note which PCCs had responded to the HASC inquiries and which ones had not.

First by political allegiance (X/Y = number who did respond against those who did not):
  • Labour: 11/2
  • Conservative: 15/1
  • Independent: 7/4
So in total, 7 PCCs did not respond. Here is the list of the non responders:
  • Sue Mountstevens (Avon & Somerset)
  • Barry Coppinger (Cleveland)
  • Jane Kennedy (Merseyside)
  • Winston Roddick (North Wales)
  • Anthony Stansfeld (Thames Valley)
  • Ron Ball (Warwickshire)
  • Bill Longmore (West Mercia)
    So, all Conservatives (bar the 'gift that keeps giving'...) responded and all but two Labour PCCs. But more than a third of the independent PCCs did not respond.


    In the light of my investigations into the Thames Valley PCP not really 'getting' its role, it seems as if this is not unusual. The report concludes (with my highlighting):
    4. In between elections, the Police and Crime Panel is, in all but the most extreme circumstance, the only check on a PCC's power over local policing. All three of the PCP chairs we heard from believed that their Panels did not have strong powers to hold a PCC to account. Parliament has defined the power of PCPs and it is the responsibility of the PCPs to exercise their powers. We are concerned that incompetent legal advisers appear to have sought to prevent PCPs from even meeting to scrutinise key and highly questionable decisions by PCCs, for instance the suspension of the chief constable in Lincolnshire and the fiasco concerning the appointment of a "Youth Commissioner" in Kent. It is in such circumstances that a PCP chair needs to ensure that the PCP meets urgently. If they fail to do so, on the basis of wholly inappropriate legal advice or otherwise, the process of local scrutiny of the PCP role falls into disrepute. (Paragraph 11)
    So the challenge is on for PCPs to grasp the nettle it seems to me, albeit with their limited powers.

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