Your Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for scrutinising the policing service delivered across Norfolk and for holding the county’s Chief Constable to account.
And, similarly, there are panels and committees whose responsibility it is to scrutinise Stephen’s work as your PCC.
Police Accountability Forum
One of the ways Stephen monitors the work of our police force is through a regular public meeting with Chief Constable Simon Bailey, at which he receives updates against crime and disorder reduction objectives and the police budget, among other things. Those meetings are called the Police Accountability Forum and more information, including copies of meeting agenda and reports received, can be found on our Public Meetings page.
Norfolk and Suffolk Collaboration Panel
Stephen also keeps a close eye on the progress and development of the collaborative projects between Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies, holding regular public meetings with Suffolk’s PCC and the Chief Constables of both counties. More information on that work is available on our Collaboration page.
Out of Court Disposals Scrutiny Panel
The Norfolk and Suffolk Constabulary Out of Court Disposals Scrutiny Panel has been set up to independently scrutinise the use of Out of Court Disposals in response to national recommendations following concerns about their appropriate use.
The role of the Panel is to ensure that the use of Out of Court Disposals is appropriate and proportionate, consistent with national and local policy, and consider the victims’ wishes where appropriate. The Panel aims to bring transparency to the use of Out of Court Disposals in order to increase understanding and confidence in their use. Findings of the Panel, together with responses to recommendations made, are to be reported publicly to support this aim.
What is an Out of Court Disposal?Out-of-court disposals allow the police to deal quickly and proportionately with low-level, often first-time offending which could more appropriately be resolved without a prosecution at court. Disposals available to the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) include community resolutions, penalty notices, simple cautions and condition cautions. In addition, Restorative Justice is a technique which can be used out-of-court and in conjunction with an out-of-court disposal. Out-of-court disposals are not intended for use in serious or contested cases, or for persistent offenders - court will always be the right forum in these situations - but it would be disproportionate for all low-level offences to be dealt with at court. Using out-of-court disposals means that more time can be spent on frontline duties and tackling serious crime, there is a means of providing reparation and a prompt resolution for victims, and there is opportunity for offenders to be directed into rehabilitative or educational services to tackle the causes of offending behaviour reducing the likelihood of reoffending.
How does the Panel work?The Panel reviews and discusses case files as a group and concludes one of three categories:
- Appropriate and consistent with national and local guidelines
- Appropriate with observations from the Panel
- Inappropriate use of out of court disposal.
Latest Panel reportThe Panel met for the eighth time on 11th January 2016. Twelve Panel members were present, with six apologies. Panel Business: The Panel agreed the Decisions Log from the August 2015 meeting. Scrutiny of Case Files: Rationale and file selection - The panel requested a focus upon detected Hate Crimes, disposed by means of Out of Court Disposal, that were issued in Suffolk and Norfolk between January and October 2015. A total of 59 instances were identified (Suffolk 48 & 11 Norfolk). Panel findings - Of these instances, two were scrutinised, one Norfolk and one Suffolk case. The panel concluded that there is an obvious disparity between each county and this type disposal.
- For Norfolk, the Panel observed that the victim was at the centre of this investigation, the appropriate resolution was achieved swiftly and diligently in line with local and national guidelines.
- For Suffolk, the Panel observed that there were obvious and definitive delays in addressing the early and key stages of this investigation, resulting in key evidence not being secured. The supervision, police decision-making, in this instance, lacked definition and the inherent delay appeared to drive the disposal type.
The Audit Committee is independent of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Norfolk Constabulary.
The Committee considers the internal and external audit reports of both the PCC and the Chief Constable and provides advice on good governance principles and appropriate risk management arrangements. The Committee members will begin to hold their meeting in public later this year. More information about the work of the Audit Committee is available on our Public Meetings page.
Independent advisory groups
Stephen hosts a number of voluntary forums and groups which meet regularly as part of his consultation with members of the public to hear what you have to say about policing and crime in the county. Volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and experience. While their role is more about providing a community perspective on crime and policing issues, the members of the panels have the opportunity to question and challenge Norfolk Police officers and staff on action being taken to tackle key concerns or services being delivered to the public.
Norfolk Police and Crime Panel
Hosted by Norfolk County Council, the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel has representatives of the seven local authorities in Norfolk, co-opted members and independent members. The Panel meets at least four times a year to scrutinise the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Members may call on Stephen to attend their public meetings to answer questions or request reports from him.