Complexity of Police Panels and Committees

Plenary on 2006-11-08
Session date: 
November 8, 2006
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Len Duvall, Chair, Metropolitan Police Authority


A number of local councillors and community activists have expressed their concerns about the complexity of police panels and committees. Please could you set out clearly the roles, responsibilities, membership and inter-relationship of a) the Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panels, b) Action (formerly TAZ) committees and c) the Police Community Consultative Groups?


Answer for Complexity of Police Panels and Committees

Answer for Complexity of Police Panels and Committees

Answered By: 
Len Duvall, Chair, Metropolitan Police Authority

I think this is a problem of the old merging with the new. What we should be looking at is this: Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panels are there, that is what Government decided it wanted to do as we were putting in Safer Neighbourhood Teams. They should be working with a borough consultation group, there are various models of what that looks like, from the older consultative groups to the newer consultative groups. Then there should be the Crime and Disorder Partnership with the Council, as local authority, and the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) overseeing some of that work.

Now, clearly, if there are other panels, there will be stop and search - as Ian alluded to - we established a local panel on stop and search rightly because that seemed to be a contentious area and it needs monitoring and it needs particular focus around that work. There may well be, at borough level, a Neighbourhood Watch Panel where we bring Neighbourhood Watch groups together. This might not be consistent across London but I would imagine that would be the basic panels.

I do understand that some boroughs have kept their old sector working groups going. They think it is quite important to them, it is established. Again, some boroughs have changed that focus and tried to collapse that into doing their business through a much more streamlined way.

I do think for many outsiders this is a bit complex; where are the decision lines, what do they all do? I think it is our mission to explain that in a very gentle way.

We need to help and support local authority Borough Commanders in terms of their consultation exercises. Where boroughs are not fully utilising some of the resources available to them we would like to give them more resources to improve upon their consultation. Some boroughs - not councils but the borough itself - and the consultative groups are more advanced than others. We are looking to support them in terms of their activities, but they need to be working together rather than individually, and I think that, on the whole, is happening right across London.