Agenda and minutes

Cheshire Police and Crime Panel
Friday, 12th June, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Martin Smith  Tel: 01270 686012 Email:  martin.r.smith@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

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.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Brian Maher and Councillor Jan Davidson (Warrington Borough Council).

2.

Appointment of Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

To appoint a Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That Mr Evan Morris be elected as Chair of the Panel for the 2020/21 Municipal year.

3.

Appointment of Deputy Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

To appoint a Deputy Chairman for the 2020/21 Municipal Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That Councillor Dave Thompson be elected as Deputy Chair for the 2020/21 Municipal year.

4.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

5.

Public Participation

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 three clear days 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

Minutes:

Three members of the public spoke at the meeting.

 

Ms Joanne Jeffers, a Cheshire East resident raised an issue in relation to road safety for pedestrians. The Chairman agreed to bring her concerns to the attention the Police and Crime Commissioner.

 

Mr Robert Selby, a Cheshire West and Chester resident raised two issues. He sought clarification as to whether the Panel had received a response from the Home Secretary following the submission of a report over the suspension of the former Chief Constable. He also sought clarification over a complaint he had made against the Commissioner and staff in the Commissioner’s Office.

 

The Chairman indicated that a response had been received from the Home Office (accessible on the Panel’s page of the Cheshire East Council website). The Chairman informed Mr Selby of the work that the Panel’s Complaints Sub Committee was undertaking to make recommendations to the Panel as to how complaints should be managed in future. 

             

Mr Francis Kwateng a Cheshire West and Chester Council resident raised an issue of alleged racial profiling by Cheshire Constabulary which he stated had seriously affected both him and his family. He gave a number of specific examples and highlighted a recent complaint that he had made to Cheshire Constabulary and the way in which the complaint had been managed. He thanked Councillor Andrew Dawson for the support he had provided. The Chair, whilst noting that the issues raised were operational ones, offered Mr Kwateng his and the Panel’s full support and hoped that they could work with the Commissioner to help change attitudes within the Constabulary.

 

Councillor Dave Thompson sought clarification from the Secretariat over whether comments made by members of the public during public participation could prejudice the Panel’s involvement in determining the outcome of a complaint at a future date. This issue would be referred to the solicitor who advised the Panel, who was not present at the meeting.  Councillor Andrew Dawson noted that the issue of handling complaints was a complex one and that a collaborative approach was frequently the most appropriate and effective way forward.

6.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 February 2020.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 7th February 2020 be approved.

 

The Panel noted that it had held an informal virtual meeting with the Commissioner on 24th April 2020. A video recording of this meeting was available to view via the Panel’s page on the Cheshire East Council website.

 

The Panel also noted that, at the meeting held on 7th February the Panel had agreed a programme of future meetings, including a meeting on 16th April 2021. As the elections for the Police and Crime Commissioner had been moved from 2020 to 2021, this meeting was likely to now fall during the pre-election (purdah) period. The Secretariat were asked to reschedule the meeting.

7.

Panel Membership 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 137 KB

1.         To note the membership of the Panel for the 2020/21 Municipal Year

 

2.         To consider a report on the independent co-opted membership of the Panel

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted that the membership of the Panel for the 2020/21 Municipal Year remained unchanged.

 

Independent co-opted members of the Panel each served a three-year term, with Mr Bob Fousert’s current term expiring on 30th September 2020. The Panel discussed a range of options in relation as to how best to proceed with the expiration of Mr Fousert’s term of office.

 

RESOLVED

 

That recognising the exceptional circumstances created by the Coronavirus emergency, all three independent co-opted members have their current terms of office extended by one year, with the Panel’s Procedure Rules being annotated to indicate the exceptional circumstances under which this decision was taken.

 

The terms of office of the three independent co-opted Panel members would be:

 

Mr Bob Fousert                    30th September 2021

Mrs Sally Hardwick              30th September 2022

Mr Evan Morris MBE           30th September 2023

8.

Cheshire Police and Crime Panel Budget 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To approve the budget for the year.

Minutes:

Prompted by Councillor Dave Thompson, but with Panel support, the Secretariat were asked to undertake research in relation to the possible payment of an increased allowance to the Panel’s Chairman and the provision of IT equipment to the three independent co-opted members, with reports on these issues being taken to the September 2020 meeting of the Panel.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Panel’s budget for the 2020/21 Municipal Year be approved, and that a report be made back to the Panel in September 2020 upon allowances, and the provision of ICT equipment.

9.

Panel Arrangements: Rules of Procedure pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To adopt the Rules of Procedure for the coming Municipal Year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel reviewed the proposed Rules of Procedure which would apply for the 2020/21 Municipal Year, noting proposed changes in relation to virtual meetings and the use of urgency powers. Panel members also discussed the issue of proportionality of Members on sub committees. The Secretariat were asked to draft for consideration at the meeting in September 2020 a revised option for the operation of urgency powers (Section 13 of the draft procedure rules) and suggested wording in relation to proportionality.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That, subject to the Head of Democratic Services and Governance making changes to the Procedure Rules to reflect the Panel’s desire to ensure proportionality of Members on sub committees and working groups the draft Procedure Rules be adopted, with further reports being presented to the September 2020 meeting of the Panel.

10.

Overview and Scrutiny of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Questions for the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Minutes:

The Chairman formally welcomed the Commissioner to the meeting.

 

Mrs Sally Hardwick asked all those present at the meeting to join with her in observing a minute’s silence to mark the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and all those who suffer racial, sexual, gender or disability discrimination. She also wished to remember all those who had died as a result of COVID -19 and the brave Police Officers who were working in such difficult circumstances during the current emergency.

 

The Panel observed a minute’s silence.

 

The Commissioner echoed the comments made by Mrs Hardwick, following which he briefly outlined the work he was undertaking to hold the Chief Constable to account and the work he was undertaking with fellow Commissioners at a regional and national level.

 

Mr Evan Morris asked the Commissioner for an update on progress with the Emergency Services Network (ESN) project, an issue that had been raised at a meeting of Cheshire Police Management Board on Wednesday 4th March 2020 which he had attended. Mr Morris recognised that this was a complex issue, with wide ranging implications.

 

The Commissioner gave a brief update and committed to discussing the issue in more detail at an informal meeting, where one of the national leads could participate. He noted that there were potentially very high costs associated with the failure to implement the ECN in a timely manner. His view was that the residents of Cheshire should not be liable for failures with a national system.

 

Councillor Andrew Dawson raised an issue relating to the comments made by Mr Francis Kwateng earlier in the meeting (item 5, above). He asked the Commissioner how the Constabulary would learn from the experiences of those in society who felt that they were not being treated fairly, noting concerns that Cheshire Constabulary was not a learning organisation. He also asked if the Commissioner would join with the Panel in joint scrutiny of the Constabulary on this issue.

 

In responding the Commissioner noted that the complaints system should enable learning by the Constabulary. He informed the Panel that he only had access to the detailed information relating to a complaint if the complainant gave their permission. The process had changed in February 2020 with a revised appeal mechanism being introduced. He suggested that a joint session at an informal meeting would be a sensible way forward, this would enable the Panel to better understand the process. The Commissioner also extended an invitation for anyone have a confidential conversation with him about a complaint against the Constabulary.

 

Councillor Paul Findlow asked the Commissioner for information on the number of Special Constables in Cheshire and for comparative information as to how this compared in percentage terms with the regular Constabulary. He wondered if there was a difference per head of population between Cheshire and neighbouring areas?

 

The Commissioner responded by saying that recruitment to the Special Constabulary was open, at present the Special Constabulary stood at 13 percent of the regular force. The national  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Scrutiny Items pdf icon PDF 41 KB

To receive, note and inform any future scrutiny or work programme items.

 

Documents for the Scrutiny meetings held 13 May 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Panel members noted the papers that had been circulated with the agenda. Councillor Paul Findlow suggested that in future more attention should be given to this item. The Chairman indicated that he intended to pull a small group together to review issues such as this.

12.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 74 KB

To consider the Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Panel’s work programme was reviewed.  Mr Bob Fousert asked if the Commissioner’s Scrutiny Meetings could be included in the work programme.