Keeping Essex Safe Now and in the Future
A new governance structure has been created to provide experienced outside voices to help inform the thinking of both the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable of Essex Police as they make decisions about the future of, and vision for, policing in our county.
Nick Alston said: “Since becoming PCC, I have been reflecting long and hard about how we ensure that the decisions I make are not just in the best short term interest of the people of our county and of Essex Police but also help to secure the medium and long term future of policing in Essex. As an example, we need to ensure that we have the right balance of financial investment between police officers, PCSOs, police staff, IT systems, buildings and vehicles. The decisions that the Chief Constable and I make now as we continue to deliver effective policing should not risk jeopardising Essex Police’s capabilities five or ten years in the future.
“I am also conscious that there are high profile national cases which have damaged public confidence in policing. I want to bring insightful outside voices into the policing environment to ensure that we properly address the issues that may have undermined the trust of the public.
“After much reflection and hard work from my team, I have decided to introduce three new policing boards, with the full endorsement of Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh. I am confident that taking the pioneering step of creating these boards is in the best interests of the people of our county.
“The role of the Police and Crime Panel is to hold me to account, which they do effectively and rigorously. These new policing boards are designed to help enable me to fulfil my role of holding the Chief Constable to account for delivering the best possible policing for Essex both now and very much with an eye to the future.
“I am delighted that, through an open recruitment process, we have been able to attract independent advisors for the boards who are all people of great experience and insight, and who are so passionate about policing that they have offered their time and expertise on an unpaid basis.”
The centrepiece of the new structure is a Strategic Policing Board, which will advise the PCC and Chief Constable and help them refine their vision for policing in Essex and its relationship with other public partners. There will also be a Finance Committee which will consider long term funding issues and the implications of current financial challenges. It will not usually be concerned with short term accounting or audit matters. An Ethics and Integrity Committee will work strategically to help the PCC and Chief Constable understand what the future ethical challenges for our police service might be. It may for example consider key issues such as the appropriate use of force, the treatment of whistle blowers, covert policing and the conduct of undercover officers. It will not get involved in individual cases of misconduct, but it would look at lessons learnt from current casework and emerging issues.
The independent advisors joining the PCC and Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh as members of the boards are:
• Betsy Stanko: Betsy is an internationally acclaimed academic, specialising in crime and policing. She works as Head, Evidence and Insight, at the London Mayors’ Office for Policing and Crime. She is a founding member of the Women’s Refuge movement, and has regularly provided advice to both the Metropolitan Police Service and the Cabinet Office on policing.
• Gary Sweeney: Gary has been a practicing GP in Essex for nearly 30 years. He is Chair of the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and is vice Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board. He has worked with Sir Thomas Hughes Hallett on the ‘Who will care’ commission.
• Philip Tolhurst: Philip is a highly experienced solicitor, working as a managing partner and latterly senior partner in his own practice in Essex for over 35 years. In 1998 he co-founded the Raleigh Trust, working with in particular young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop their leadership potential. He is a member of the Council of Essex University and its finance board.
• Lyle Watters: Lyle is the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President Strategic Planning for Ford of Europe. He has worked extensively across Europe and internationally. He lives in Essex with his family.
• Keith Attwood: Keith is a former CEO of e2v technologies plc and an experienced Board Director with 30 years of management experience in multiple market sectors including telecommunications, aerospace and medical. He lives in Essex and is currently working with the CBI at a national level in the areas of employment, education and skills and is a member of the governing board of Anglia Ruskin University.
It is envisaged that each of the boards will meet three times a year, with reports of the meetings being published on the PCC website. The boards will provide guidance to the PCC, but will not have formal decision making powers.