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New police watchdog body hits snag before it becomes operational
THE body set up to hold North Yorkshire’s new police and crime commissioner to account might have to appeal to the Home Secretary for an expansion, following a political row.
An election will be held on November 15 for North Yorkshire’s first commissioner, who will replace the police authority and will have the power to hire and fire chief constables and set the force’s budget and strategy.
A new joint police and crime panel (PCP), mostly made up of local councillors, met in York’s Guildhall yesterday but were hindered by a political split.
There are six Conservatives, one independent, two Labour members and one Liberal Democrat, as well as two independent co-opted members on the PCP.
However the Liberal Democrat, Coun Brian Simpson, of Scarborough Borough Council, has dropped his party affiliation, meaning the panel does not have the required political make-up.
Unless Scarborough puts forward a new Liberal Democrat, the PCP will have to ask the Government to increase its size in order that the panel is represented by all the major political parties.
At yesterday’s meeting, the panel was advised by the treasurer and the chief officer of the North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA) about the current finances of North Yorkshire Police.
Joanna Carter, chief officer of NYPA, told the panel that the force had managed to save £13.5 million, largely through staff and officer reductions, and had outlined a further “prudent” £3 million savings in the next year, through further reductions and sharing services with neighbouring forces.
The PCP is made up of councillors Simon Myers, Neville Huxtable, Margaret Atkinson, Carl Les, Gillian Ivey, Eric Hope, Mick Griffiths, Brian Simpson, Fiona Fitzpatrick, Dafydd Williams, and independently-co-opted Professor Gary Craig and independently-co-opted Santokh Singh Sidhu.