Should Beds police and crime commissioner and panel chair be from same party?

Beds police and crime commissioner Kathyrn Holloway. Picture: Bedfordshire Police

Beds police and crime commissioner Kathyrn Holloway. Picture: Bedfordshire Police - Credit: Archant

It seemed simple enough – should the person chairing Bedfordshire’s police and crime panel be from a different political background to the Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner?

But the panel couldn’t agree to agree, so the issue is due to be discussed at a panel away day on July 2.

“If the PCC is from Labour, then the chairman should be from the opposition,” said panel member and Labour Luton South councillor David Agbley.

“There’s a conflict of interest if the PCC is from one party and the chairman from the same group.

“The rest of us are not going to be privy to what they say, and wouldn’t have confidence in what they do.”

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He added: “The conflict of interest is not there if they are from different political groups.”

Conservative Bedford borough councillor Alison Foster, of Harrold ward, disagreed. She said: “I have every sympathy with the point made.

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“However, I think it’s restrictive on democracy. We would have to do that with other committees in the council.”

Fearing a precedent would be set, she said it wouldn’t work for every committee.

“I feel strongly that we should not limit the election of a chairman, and prevent any particular party from being elected,” she added.

The panel’s elected independent co-optee Paul Cain said: “At the away day in July we can talk about the chairman and vice-chairman because I have something to say on this issue.

“There’s a conflict of interest in a lot of panels around this country.”

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