Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by Councillor Marie Nelson (PR 119)

I would like to object to the proposal that we should have a Police Commissioner for Cheshire.  I would like to point out that we already have a very good working relationship with the police in the area that I represent.  They attend our Community Forums and other meetings in the community and report back to the public regarding policing in the area.  They ask for suggestions for improving their performance and if there are specific issues that need to be targeted.  They also issue newsletters, and update councillors and neighbourhood watch members in a regular email.  In addition they hold regular surgeries in the community.

 They are and have been for a number of years now working with the community.  Blacon where I represent is an area of deprivation, so it has been a great boost to local people to be able to work with the police in this way.  They actually feel they are being listened to for the first time.  So why on earth undo all of this good work?

 Would an elected Commissioner be able to attend all of the meetings that our local police attend?  How would he/she work with elected members and more importantly the public?  Currently we feel we can ask our Chief Inspector to attend a meeting where he can be quizzed by residents.  We have in fact done that with a previous Chief Inspector who got a great reception but a lot of tough questions too.  Isn't that how things should work?

 At present there are elected members on the Police Authority and this works.  If some areas have issues then that clearly needs to be addressed, but it may be that they need to look at what works in other areas of the country?  It seems ludicrous that we are being asked to spend money to elect someone to run the police when what we have in place is cheaper, and more importantly clearly works.

I ask that you reject this proposal as nobody I have spoken to is in favour of it.  Quite the reverse in fact.  Parliament is there to serve the people surely?  That means listening to what we are saying?

February 2011