Agenda and minutes

Cheshire Police and Crime Panel - Friday, 24th September, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings, Earle Street, Crewe CW1 2BJ. View directions

Contact: Martin Smith  Tel: 01270 686012 Email:

No. Item



Members are reminded that, in accordance with governance procedure rule at Part 3 paragraph 2.6, 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 Cllr Norman Plumpton Walsh and Mr Bob Fousert.


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.


No issues were raised.


Public Participation

To receive questions from members of the public. 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. At the Chair’s discretion the period made available for questions and statements may be extended.


In order that an appropriate answer to the questions can be given, the deadline for indicating a wish to speak or for submission of questions is 3 clear working days before a meeting of the Panel. The Chair has the discretion to waive the 3-day rule for issues deemed to be urgent.


In response to questions or statements the Panel may choose to agree to either provide an agreed verbal response, that will be minuted or to provide a written reply to a questioners chosen address.


Those wishing to ask a question or make a statement should register by email to: send the question or statement by post to:


Cheshire Police and Crime Panel

Democratic Services and Governance

c/o Municipal Buildings

Earle Street




A list of those speaking or asking questions at a meeting of the Panel will be drawn up by the Panel’s Secretariat in order of receipt. Copies of questions and statements will be circulated to all Panel members in advance of the meeting and will be made available to the public attending the meeting. Copies will also be available on the Police and Crime Panel’s page of the Cheshire East Council website.


Nobody may submit more than one question or make more than one statement at the same meeting, but a supplementary question, related to the subject raised in the question /statement, will be permitted for clarification at the discretion of the Chair.


Those speaking or asking questions will not be permitted to address any issue that is the subject of a current or proposed complaint by them against the Police and Crime Commissioner. They are also advised that reference to an issue that could become the subject of a future complaint by them could prejudice the Panel’s consideration of that complaint.


The Panel will not accept a question or statement if:


There is insufficient detail to enable a proper response to be provided.


It is not about a matter for which the Police and Crime Panel has responsibility.


It is potentially defamatory, frivolous or offensive against named individuals.


It is substantially the same question which has been put at a meeting of the Police and Crime Panel in the last six months.


It requires the disclosure of confidential or exempt information.


No members of the public wished to speak at the meeting, but Mr Matt Hicks, a resident of Alsager had submitted a question in advance of the meeting which was read out by the Secretariat. Mr Hicks raised concerns about antisocial behaviour in Alsager and the need, in his view, for an increased Police presence in the town. The question had been forwarded to the Commissioner’s Office.


Minutes of Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2021 and for the Confirmation Hearings on 11 June 2021 and 3 September 2021.


Additional documents:




That the minutes of the Annual meeting of the Panel held on 11th June 2021 and Confirmation Hearings held on 11th June 2021 and 3rd September 2021 be approved.


Chair's Announcements


The Chair briefed the Panel on Stage 2 of the Home Office review of Police and Crime Commissioners, noting that the consultation exercise had an extremely tight timescale. He informed the Panel that he had made a submission, which he had shared informally with Panel members. One of the issues being consulted over was the desirability of Panels being organised at a regional level. Councillor Findlow commented that he thought this would be extremely ill-advised, although he could see some benefits of expert advice being available at a regional level to assist with such things as the interpretation of statistics.


Appointment of Independent Co-opted Member of the Panel

To receive a verbal update from the Chair.



Mr Evan Morris, Panel Chair, noted that he had stepped back from the work of the subgroup which had been established to lead the recruitment process, as one of the candidates had been known to him.


Councillor Rob Bissett, the Panel’s Deputy Chair, who had chaired the selection subgroup briefed the Panel on the outcome of the process. Twenty-one expressions of interest had been received by the Secretariat which had led to twelve formal applications being received. Four individuals had been shortlisted by the subgroup, unfortunately one candidate withdrew shortly before the interviews were held. All three candidates who were interviewed had done well. The unanimous view of the subgroup (Councillors Bisset, Delaney and Riley) was that Miss Yasmin Somani should be appointed to the Panel. Brief details on Miss Somani’s experience were circulated to Panel members.


The Panel thanked Mr Bob Fousert for the sterling work he had done as a member of the Panel over many years.




That Miss Yasmin Somani be appointed to the Panel for a three-year term with effect from 1st October 2021.


Adoption of a Charter for the Police and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 138 KB

To consider the adoption of a Charter outlining the work of the Panel and what the public can expect from the Panel.

Additional documents:


The Chair outlined the background to the drafting of the Charter, which had been well received by Panel members and used in the recruitment process for an independent co-opted member of the Panel. Councillor Findlow suggested that the Charter should include an explicit statement relating to the Commissioner’s accountability to the Panel.




That the Chairman, supported by the Secretariat, update the draft Charter to reflect Councillor Findlow’s comments and then publish the Charter on the Panel’s page of the Cheshire East Council website.


10th Annual Conference for Police and Crime Panels - Panel Attendance pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To determine attendance at the 10th Annual Conference for Chairs, Members and Officers of Police and Crime Panels.


The Chairman sought the views of the Panel of sending members to the Annual Conference in Warwick or in investing in more targeted training which could be of particular benefit to new Panel members. The consensus view was that the Chairman should attend the Conference with the balance of the training budget being spent on providing more general training for Panel members. Panel members favoured face to face rather than virtual training. The Secretariat were asked to liaise with Frontline Consulting who had offered to provide the training, based on something that they had delivered to other Police and Crime Panels and had been well received by those Panels.


Commissioner's Public Scrutiny Board - 19th August 2021 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

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


The Panel reviewed the papers published by the Commissioner in advance of his Scrutiny Board in August.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To consider the work programme.


The Panel’s work programme was noted.


Panel members expressed a preference for informal meetings with the Commissioner to be held on a Friday, subject to meetings not clashing with other commitments that Panel members may have. The Secretariat were asked to liaise with Panel members and the Commissioner’s Office over the programme of informal meetings. 


Consideration of the Commissioner's Annual Report pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To consider the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Annual Report 2020/21.


The Chair welcomed the Commissioner to the meeting. By way of introduction to the three agenda items to which he would contribute, the Commissioner outlined the work that he had undertaken in his first few months in office. He noted that he had formally moved the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner from Stockton Heath to Winsford; he had also restructured his Office. The Commissioner thanked the Panel for their backing at Confirmation Hearings for his chosen candidates as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Executive. 


The Commissioner noted that the draft annual report related to the last year of his predecessors’ term of office.


Cllr Riley queried overall detection rates and also the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on the roads. She noted that Covid had created a range of issues over the year to which the annual report related, making comparisons difficult. She also commented that for a year when the county had been locked down for a considerable time, the number killed on the roads in Cheshire had increased. The Commissioner agreed that overall detection rates were too low, but did note that there was a national issue with definitions over recording, this was being taken up with the Home Office. The Commissioner suggested that it would be helpful for the issue of those killed and seriously injured on the roads to be discussed at an informal meeting with Panel members.


The Panel noted the Commissioner’s annual report.


Consideration of the Commissioner's Draft Police and Crime Plan 2021-24 pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To consider the draft Police and Crime Plan.

Additional documents:


The Commissioner outlined the process that had been followed to develop the draft Police and Crime Plan, which was being considered by the Panel, noting that the final version would be published on 1st November 2021. Accessible versions would be available for those with disabilities. 


The Commissioner noted that he would shortly be writing to every household in Cheshire outlining his plans and seeking views on policing priorities. He would also seek views on a precept for 2022/23.


Members of the Police and Crime Panel questioned the Commissioner on his draft Police and Crime Plan:


Cllr Paul Findlow

Congratulated the Commissioner on producing the plan so quickly, but asked why the Plan did not include clear, measurable objectives. The Commissioner outlined that the Plan was a strategic document and that he would use detailed performance information in the ongoing task of holding the Chief Constable to account.


Cllr Mick Warren

Sought clarification over the Commissioner’s priorities for carbon neutrality.  The Commissioner indicated that he was driving down the Constabulary’s carbon footprint, but that he was content to have   2040 as the target for carbon neutrality. The Commissioner congratulated Cheshire East Council on the very ambitious targets that it had adopted.


Cllr Lynn Riley

Sought assures that the strategic public sector partners in Cheshire were working together around the prize of fully integrated working. The Commissioner indicated that he supported such an approach and noted that the Constabulary would shortly be appointing a victim’s champion.


Asked the Commissioner for clarification over what steps would be taken in the important area of reducing violence against women and girls. The Commissioner agreed that this was an important long term priority. He noted that Safer Streets funding had been used to help make improvements in this area.


Suggested that a more collegiate approach to Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) could be a sensible way forward, rather than the creation of one CSP for Cheshire which was the Commissioner’s favoured approach.


Mr Evan Morris

Noted that the Commissioning landscape would change if Commissioners were granted the power of wellbeing that was currently being consulted over by the Home Office. The Commissioner agreed.




That the Chair assisted by the Secretariat make a formal submission to the Commissioner in relation to the draft Police and Crime Plan.


The letter sent to the Police and Crime Commissioner by the Chair of the Panel providing formal feedback on the draft Police and Crime Plan is appended to these minutes as a matter of record.


Overview and Scrutiny of the Police and Crime Commissioner


Members of the Police and Crime Panel questioned the Commissioner on a range of issues, including:


Cllr Lynn Riley

Sought clarification over a comment that the Commissioner had made in his introduction relating to his desire for Cheshire to be the best police force in the country. She asked what being the best force in the country would look like and what benefits that would bring to the public. The Commissioner responding by saying that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) would determine where the force sat in league tables. In relation to the public, he indicated that he would want to see more Police Officers patrolling the streets, something which was seen as important by a great many people.


Highlighted the importance of Community Orders in addressing crime and in the long term in preventing crime. The Commissioner informed the Panel that this approach was still used in Cheshire, but that he would provide further information to Panel members.


Cllr Peter Lloyd Jones

Recognising the increasingly complex world in which the Police operated asked the Commissioner what would be the optimum number Officers he would wish to see in Cheshire. The Commissioner responded by saying that at present the Chief Constable was content to work to the target of 2,345 Police Officers. The Commissioner did recognise that Policing was becoming ever more complex and that if the Chief Constable were at some point in the future to feel he needed additional offices, work would need to be undertaken to see if that were possible.


Asked the Commissioner on the timetable that he would work to in relation to developing proposals for the 2022/23 Police precept. He was concerned that a great many people across Cheshire were suffering the impact of sharply rising prices. The Commissioner confirmed that his letter to households would be sent on 8th November and would be the start of a consultative exercise.  Feedback to the consultation exercise would be possible through a number of channels. The Commissioner commented that he too shared concerns about the rising cost of living.


Cllr Paul Findlow

Asked if the Commissioner had made a submission to Part Two of the ongoing Home Office Review, specifically those questions that related to Police and Crime Panels. The Commissioner responded, saying that he had made a submission and would share it with the Panel.


Asked a question on behalf of a fellow Cheshire East Councillor relating to the ongoing Community Governance Review, and whether the allocation of Police Community Support Officers would change if parish boundaries changed as a result of the Review. The Commissioner indicated that this was an ongoing issue, but that where possible Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) would have an association with a Parish. No changes had yet been made.


Raised concerns about the growth of out of court disposals at the national level. The Commissioner indicated that in the right circumstances such disposals had a role to play. The Commissioner offered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.