Scrutiny of Police and Crime Commissioner called into question by Herts County Council
PUBLISHED: 15:03 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:22 14 February 2020
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Concerns have been raised by county councillors about how effectively Hertfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner is being held to account.
Last week - when the Hertfordshire police and crime panel met to scrutinise the commissioner's annual budget - seven members of the 14-strong panel were absent which prompted concerns about a potential lack of effectiveness.
Councillor Colin Woodward, Herts County Council's representative on the police and crime panel, said he was "disappointed" by the turnout - and plans to write to the panel's chair, councillor Siobhan Monaghan.
Councillor Woodward said: "It was very disappointing about representation at the meeting. The members of the panel were almost out-numbered by the Police and Crime Commissioner, and five districts were not represented at all."
Those concerns were echoed by the county council's executive member for community safety and waste management, councillor Terry Hone.
He said: "This panel should scrutinise him [the police and crime commissioner].
"If those people invited from the district and boroughs choose not to go along, is it an appropriate use of time? Or something the chair needs to take up seriously with the district and boroughs and anyone else who is supposed to go?"
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Cllr Barbara Gibson said: "I wonder, is the panel going to review its make-up and what may be wrong and what may need to change to make it a more effective and more engaged group?"
Earlier in the same meeting, Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd had expressed his own concerns - highlighting the "inquorate" budget meeting.
Following the meeting police and crime panel chair, Councillor Monaghan said she understood the points that Councillor Woodward was making.
However she stressed that she was "comfortable" with the number of members that attended the meeting and with the decisions that were made.
She said that all 14 panel members had had sufficient time and detail to scrutinise proposals, and added that any concerns can be raised with her beforehand.
Councillor Monaghan, who is a member of Broxbourne Borough Council, said that as chair she was keen to ensure all members of the panel understood the importance and responsibility of the role.
And she said she would be discussing the issues raised with members of the panel at a later date.
The next election of Hertfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner will take place on May, 7.