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Members are reminded that, in accordance with governance procedure rule 2.7, Panel Members, or their constituent authority, may nominate substitute members of the Panel in the event that the appointed representative(s) is/are unable to attend the meeting. Advance notice of substitution should be given to the host authority wherever possible. Members are encouraged wherever possible to secure the attendance of a substitute if they are unable to be present.
Apologies were received from Councillor Mick Warren, who was represented by Councillor Denis Murphy.
Code of Conduct - Declaration of Interests. Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012
Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any disclosable pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest which they have in any item of business on the agenda no later than when the item is reached.
There were no declarations of interest.
To receive questions from members of the public in accordance with governance procedure rule 14. A total period of 15 minutes will be allocated for members of the public to speak at Panel meetings. Each member of the public shall be limited to a period of up to 5 minutes speaking.
Members of the public may speak on any matter relating to the work of the Panel. During public speaking time, members of the public may ask questions of the Panel and the Chairman, in responding to the question, may answer the question, may decline to do so, may agree to reply at a later date or may refer the question to an appropriate person or body.
Questions will be asked and answered without discussion. In order for officers to undertake any background research, members of the public who wish to ask a question at a Panel meeting should submit the question at least a day before the meeting.
Members of the public are able to put questions direct to Cheshire’s Police and Crime Panel via social media platform Twitter.
The Cheshire Police and Crime Panels’ Twitter account @CheshirePCP
There were no members of the public present who wished to speak.
Statement by the Chairman following questions raised about Senior Police Officer impartiality at the meeting of the Police and Crime Panel held on 15th June 2019
The Chairman made a detailed statement to the Panel, a copy of which is attached to these minutes.
Councillor Dave Thompson expressed sadness that the extraordinary meeting of the Panel had been necessary; but raised concerns that the Chairman had, when asking a question about the wearing of rainbow lanyards, attacked a senior Police Officer. He also indicated that he took exception to the Chairman’s use of the word “homosexual” in his response to an open letter from the Police and Crime Commissioner, seeing the word as implying derogatory connotations. As a consequence he wished the Chairman to stand down, but remain as a member of the Panel. He hoped that at some time in the future Mr Fousert could again become Chairman of the Panel.
Councillor Andrew Dawson, noted that he had not been able to attend the meeting on 15th June, but had subsequently watched the webcast of the meeting and also listened to an interview given by the Chairman to the BBC immediately following the meeting. He expressed the view that all Panel members should receive equality and diversity training. He referenced the Code of Conduct that the Police were required to observe, noting that there had possibly been a legitimate question for the Chairman to ask the Police and Crime Commissioner. He expressed concern that at the meeting on 15th June the Commissioner has failed to provide leadership, suggesting that he could, had he so wished sought clarification on the Chairman’s line of questioning. Councillor Martyn Delaney expressed concern that Councillor Dawson was being critical of the Police and Crime Commissioner who was not present.
Councillor Norman Plumpton Walsh noted that the wearing of a lanyard was a minor, inconsequential issue when compared to the real everyday challenges faced by Cheshire Police Officers.
Mrs Sally Hardwick expressed concern that some elements of the media and public had politicised the issue. She also said that in her view the Chairman had not broken the Panel’s Procedure Rules and under the Human Rights Act had the freedom to express his views and opinions.
Councillor Dave Thompson moved a motion that the Panel members had no confidence in the Chairman and in accordance with the Panel’s Rules of Procedure should be removed from office. The motion was seconded by Councillor Jan Davidson. At this point the Chairmanship of the meeting was taken over by the Deputy Chair, Mr Evan Morris.
Councillor Paul Findlow expressed concern that the Panel was ceasing to operate in an apolitical way; noting that the Chairman had simply asked a question after reading an article in Policing Insight.
Mr Fousert expressed concern that the move to have him removed from the position of Chairman had been led by Labour Councillors and was therefore politically motivated. Councillor Anthony Critchley refuted this allegation, saying that his actions had been motivated by a genuine concern at the question asked by Mr Fousert at the meeting on 15th June.
Councillor Rob Bisset noted that he had ... view the full minutes text for item 19.