Panel will be ‘a critical friend’ of commissioner

A COMMITTEE of councillors is to be formed to act as a ‘critical friend’ to the new Police Crime Commissioner.

The Suffolk Police and Crime Panel will feature 11 councillors, nominated by each local authority in the county, who will hold the official to account when they are elected by the public in November.

Suffolk County Council will oversee the administration of the panel, which will also include two independent co-optees chosen through a ‘competitive recruitment and selection process’.

The county council, which will have four representatives on the committee, was expected to rubber stamp the move yesterday.

In a report, Sue Morgan, head of democratic services, said: “The main role of the panel will be one of scrutiny and challenge as well as to support the commisioner and be a ‘critical friend’.”

The panel’s powers will include reviewing the commissioner’s proposed precept, responsibility for complaints about the official and reviewing proposed senior appointments by them.

The county council will receive up to £53,000 from the Home Office to fund administrative support as well as professional advice and guidance on how to run the panel. An additional £920 per panel member will also be available in the first year of operation.

The first panel meeting will be held in October ahead of the commissioner’s appointment on November 15.