The support that the Commission has received in facilitating these meetings has been amazing and we are very grateful to all those who have kindly assisted us with this project. As a result of this support we have now held hearings in Preston, Leeds, Durham, Newcastle, York, Cardiff and Flint, North Wales.
The meetings, which are being chaired by The Baroness Harris of Richmond, The Baroness Henig of Lancaster and The Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, are proving a great success and are enabling the Commission to hear from key policing partners as to the impact of national policing policies on the local and regional policing landscape in England and Wales. “It is very important that the Commission provides opportunities for people from all parts of the country to feed in their views.” (The Baroness Henig of Lancaster)
The importance of the exercise has been evident at all the meetings with all having been very well attended and warmly received. Many key issues have been brought to the Commissions attention including:
1) 1) the threat to partnership working. “We have heard about a range of valuable initiatives and partnerships involving the police working with other agencies which were delivering excellent results. Local representatives were concerned that these might be brought to an end as a result of all the budget cuts and changes to police governance currently being implemented.” (The Baroness Henig of Lancaster)
2) 2) the election of Police and Crime Commissioners and threat to silent crimes. “Parliament decided that Police and Crime Commissioners were the way forward for ensuring proper Police accountability, but we have found little evidence so far that communities share this view. Concerns have been expressed that policing will be politicised and that the role of a PCC was not clear vis-à-vis the position of an area’s Chief Constable. There were also concerns around equality in the choice of a Police and Crime Commissioner and whether or not pandering to popular policies would detract from the less visible, but potentially much more serious “silent crimes” such as domestic violence.” (The Baroness Harris of Richmond)
All the issues that have been identified have been logged and are contributing to the Commissions evidence base.