Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 12th January 2012
Title of Item/Report
Police & Crime Commissioners and Police & Crime Panels
Record of the Decision
Cabinet received a report that outlined the position in respect of Police and Crime Commissioners and Police and Crime Panels as a result of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

It was explained that the Act provided for the election of a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for all provincial Police forces in England and Wales, and for the establishment of a Police and Crime Panel (PCP) to scrutinise the functions of the Commissioner.

Members were provided with details of the various legal powers, duties, responsibilities and other issues associated with the new arrangements.

It was proposed that the initial composition of the Cleveland Police & Crime Panel be as follows:-
(a) Hartlepool Borough Council - two Elected Members
(b) Middlesbrough Borough Council - three Elected Members
(c) Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council - three Elected Members
(d) Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council - four Elected Members
Total 12 Elected Members

Ten of the Elected Members would be direct nominees of individual Local Authorities and the remaining two would need to be co-opted by the original ten. The core members of the Panel would also be responsible for co-opting independent members (a minimum of two and a maximum of eight). Secretary of State approval would be required for more than two co-optees i.e. the two ‘extra' Elected Members plus the two ‘independents'. It was proposed that all twelve Elected Members should have equal voting rights, including the opportunity to elect or be elected as Chair or Vice Chair, and serve the same term of office. It was a requirement of the legislation that the 12 Elected Members should represent the political composition of the four Local Authorities.
One possible solution, based on current numbers was provided to members at an appendix to the report.

It was also proposed that Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council would act as lead authority for the Cleveland Police & Crime Panel.

Finally, it was proposed that the Cleveland Police & Crime Panel and the Durham & Darlington Police & Crime Panel extend reciprocal observer arrangements, i.e. one or more members of each panel would be invited to sit as an observer at the meetings of the other Panel.

It was explained that the proposals set out above and at paragraphs 9 to 11 of the report had been discussed and supported at a meeting of the Tees Valley Chief Executives Group on 17 August 2011.

Current police authorities would oversee effective transition to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and creation of Police and Crime Panels. They would therefore need to:
(a) plan and deliver an effective transition programme whilst recognising that the effective delivery of police authority and force business continued to remain paramount.
(b) be mindful of the continuing ongoing challenges facing police authorities and the police service, particularly the current difficult financial context, to continue secure value for money and financial efficiencies.

The Home Office had established a Police and Crime Commissioners Transition Programme Sponsorship Board, chaired by the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, Nick Herbert MP. Board membership consisted of key policing bodies: the Association of Police Authorities: Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO); Association of Police Authority Chief Executives (APACE); Association of Police Authority Treasurers (PATs) and the Local Government Association (LGA).

A number of projects were ongoing and the Board would work with the Government to facilitate effective transition from Police Authorities to PCCs. Work in progress included:
(a) The Strategic Policing Requirement which would bridge the local policing agenda with regional and national policing needs.
(b) A Protocol setting out parameters within which the PCC and Chief Constable would deliver and govern.
(c) A policy on complaints against PCCs.
(d) A Financial Management Code of Practice which PCCs must comply with; and
(e) Agreement of transfer schemes setting out how assets, staff and liabilities would transfer to new arrangements.

RECOMMENDED to Council that

1. the report be noted.

2. the proposed composition of the Cleveland Police & Crime Panel, i.e. two Councillors from Hartlepool, three from Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland, and four from Stockton-on-Tees, be approved (this will involve seeking Secretary of State approval to go beyond the default option of 10 Councillors).

3. the proposal for Stockton to act as lead authority in respect of the Panel be approved.

4. the Cleveland Police & Crime Panel will have reciprocal observer arrangements with the Durham & Darlington Police & Crime Panel.

5. a further report detailing the rules of procedure and financial arrangements for the Panel be received.
Reasons for the Decision

1. To record that key decision-makers have been briefed on the issues.

2. }To ensure that the Cleveland Police & Crime Panel begins to operate in a timely
3. } manner, and exercises its functions effectively.

4. To ensure collaboration and facilitate the exchange of good practice.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
None
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
None
Details of any Dispensations
Not applicable
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Not applicable.
Attachment

Date of Publication: 17 January 2012


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