Open Scrutiny in the manifesto for weeks
Following last evening Police Elections 2012 programme on BBC I thought it was worth highlighting a couple of points from my manifesto. I plan to have open meetings at which the public at attend and make comment, as well as allowing members of public to become scrutiny panels members too.
To me this is the natural way that meetings should be run, so no formal closed meetings with me as commissioner.
The relevant sections of the manifesto are below:-
Police Scrutiny Panels
The Police Scrutiny Panels, would continue to perform the task that the existing Police Authority does and the new Police & Crime Commissioner Office still has to perform, which is to analyse the performance of the Police. There would be four panels, which I would chair as Commissioner, these would be:-
- Personnel & Professional Standards
- Community Engagement
In addition, an independent person would chair a Governance & Standards panel that would scrutinise the operation of the Police & Crime Commissioner's Office and examine any code of conduct issues.
Each of these panels would consist of between 3 and 6 members of the public, whom I as Commissioner would appoint. Any member of the public could apply and they would be volunteers, preferably with a background in the subject of the panel.
In appointing panel members, I would seek to balance the mix of people across the panels in accordance with the General Equality Duty under the Equality Act. I would also seek to balance the political mix on the panels, so that party political interests are not a consideration, in accordance with the oath of impartiality that all Commissioners will take when they are elected to Office.
Normal practice at all these meetings is that members press and public may attend and just observe the meeting. However, all meeting could have to go into confidential session, due to the nature of the subject matter i.e. operational plans, personnel issues, confidential issues on individual cases etc.
At the Police Scrutiny Panels, the public would also have the right to make a statement or ask a question prior to each agenda item. At the other meetings, the public would have the right to ask questions at the chair's discretion.