Hampshire Police and Crime Panel marks its first year
Marking its first full year, the Hampshire Police and Crime Panel (PCP) met in Southampton on 5 July 2013.
The PCP was set up in 2012 as part of the new governance and accountability arrangements for policing in the two counties of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.
Its role is to scrutinise and support the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Simon Hayes who in the last twelve months, has been required to consult with the Panel on his plans and budget for policing, as well as the 3.4% increase in the policing element of council tax – raised for the first time in two years, and the appointment of the new Chief Constable, Andy Marsh. The Panel also maintains a regular check and balance on the performance of the Commissioner.
Opening business, PCP Members re-elected the former PCP Chairman, Cllr David Stewart of the Isle of Wight Council to remain in post for a second consecutive year. Cllr Clive Sanders of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was re-elected as Vice Chairman.
Commenting, Cllr Stewart said: “I am delighted to have been elected Chairman of the Hampshire PCP for a second consecutive year. The PCP, in its first year alone has worked very well as a Panel and played an important role in scrutinising some crucial decisions around the future of policing in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
“Credit goes to our Members for their positive and dynamic approach during the last year and the ongoing desire we all have to ensure continued accountability and support for the PCC in his role, and scrutiny of his work in relation to the future response to policing and crime in our two counties. We will continue to demonstrate strong commitment to this important duty so that local residents can be reassured that we are representing effectively their desires and expectations when it comes to policing and crime in their local communities.”
As part of their scrutiny role, members of the Panel were asked to provide feedback to the PCC on his draft Annual Report which will be published later this year. Mr Hayes explained that during his seven months in post, he had built a foundation towards delivery of his Police and Crime Plan and social change, and his intention was to now recruit two new additional Assistant Commissioners to support him in his work, to focus specifically on the criminal justice system, and safer communities. In addition, three new department heads will be appointed whose focus will be on commissioning, communication and engagement, and performance. The Commissioner is also in discussions to reinstate a Force Chaplain and establish a new Youth Commission to represent the view of young people.
In his report, Mr Hayes also gave an overview of activities undertaken since his election to Commissioner and re-emphasised his priorities to:
- Improve frontline policing to deter criminals and keep communities safe
- Place victims and witnesses at the heart of the policing and the wider criminal system
- Work together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in your community
- Reduce reoffending
The PCC reported achievements to date which include securing funding for new video cameras to be worn on police officers’ chests to capture video and audio evidence to help support prosecutions, an estates development plan and estates review, and the creation of two new Police Investigation Centres. In addition, Hampshire Constabulary’s performance was highlighted, with a fall in crime across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight reported for the sixth consecutive year during 2012-13.
PCP Chairman Cllr Stewart said: “The role of Police and Crime Commissioner was established around seven months ago and during that time, the Panel has been encouraged to see strong commitment and good progress against the targets the PCC has set out. We have a responsibility to the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to ensure that we are looking in as much detail as possible at the work of the PCC, and provide thorough scrutiny. In order for us to do this and provide the necessary levels of support to the PCC in his work, we will now be reviewing in greater detail, the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan and its supporting data, as well as the Commissioner’s strategy for the police built estate. We now look forward to considering more detailed reports from the Police and Crime Commissioner on these important areas at a further Panel meeting planned for the Autumn.”