Training ‘awayday’ planned for new Norfolk police and crime panel

Members of the new panel which will scrutinise Norfolk's first elected police commissioner are to be sent on a training 'awayday' to ensure they are clear about policing in the county and what their role on the panel entails.

The first meeting of the Norfolk Police and Crime Panel will take place on Friday, with the panel made up initially of councillors.

The county and district councils have picked representatives to sit on the panel, reflecting the political balance of the force area, while two independent members will be appointed later in the summer.

The membership of the panel so far is William Richmond (Breckland District Council), Ian Graham (Broadland District Council), John Holmes (Great Yarmouth Borough Council), Brian Long (West Norfolk Council), Andrew Boswell (Norfolk County Council), Alec Byrne (Norfolk County Council), James Joyce (Norfolk County Council), Richard Shepherd (North Norfolk District Council), Brenda Arthur (Norwich City Council) and Christopher Kemp (South Norfolk Council).

The panel is being set up to maintain a 'check and balance' on the performance of the police and crime commissioner, who will be elected in November, replacing the current police authority.

And one of their first tasks is to agree on a training programme for the panel, with officers recommending a 'training awayday' in September.

The panel is being asked by county council officers to consider a training programme so they fully understand their role and remit.

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Officers have planned the training day at a venue to be confirmed on Friday, September 28, with the purpose to ensure that members: • Have a common understanding about local community safety issues and how resources are currently being used

• Are clear about policing in Norfolk

• Are clear about the role of police and crime commissioners

• Are clear about the role of the Norfolk police and crime panel

Representatives from Norfolk police, the police authority, the countywide community safety partnership, the county council and the Norfolk and Suffolk Criminal Justice Board will be invited to the 'awayday' to give the panel the training.

The report which will come before the panel states: 'It should be noted that the training and induction programme may have a cost implication for the panel.

'While it is not possible to accurately predict this in advance, the costs incurred are likely to be minimal, especially if the majority of training sessions follow formal meetings and are predominantly led by local authority or partner organisations.

'Any briefings or specialist training activity at external locations, or involving outside providers, is likely to incur costs that will be attributable to the panel budget.'

The panel will have the power to veto the police and crime commissioner's precept and choice of chief constable and to ask the commissioner before them to explain their actions.

The government says elected commissioners will make policing more accountable to the public, but critics say it risks politicising policing.

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