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Holding the PCC to account
Norfolk’s Police and Crime Panel is tasked with holding the PCC to account for the way he performs his duties. Made up of county councillors and independent members, the panel scrutinises, supports and challenges the actions and decisions of the PCC.
If the panel seeks to scrutinise the PCC on an operational matter, the Chief Constable may be invited to attend alongside the PCC to offer factual accounts and clarity (if needed) of the chief constable‘s actions and decisions. The Chief Constable retains responsibility for operational matters and his accountability remains firmly to the PCC and not to the panel.
Holding the police to account
The Chief Constable is responsible for maintaining the Queen’s Peace and has direction and control over the force’s officers and staff. The chief constable is accountable to the law for the exercise of police powers and to the PCC for the delivery of efficient and effective policing, management of resources and expenditure by the police force. At all times, the Chief Constable, their officers and staff, remain operationally independent in the service of the communities they serve.
The PCC holds the Chief Constable to account for the policing service delivered in Norfolk via bi-monthly public meetings. These meetings are known as the Police Accountability Forum (PAF). Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings, which are held at Norfolk Police HQ in Wymondham, as observers. Items on the agenda include how the constabulary is performing against policing priorities set by the PCC in his/her police and crime plan, how the police budget is being spent and financial planning for the future, and updates on major police investigations and initiatives.
The PCC and Chief Constable also hold a monthly meeting to discuss and make decisions relating to strategic direction, policy issues and medium/longterm planning. Meetings of the Strategic Governance Board, which is chaired by the PCC and attended by chief officers from both organisations, are held in private but the decisions are published on this website.
The PCC also meets with Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, and the Chief Constables of both counties to monitor collaboration between the two forces. Meetings of the Norfolk and Suffolk Collaboration Panel are held in public, with the venue alternating between Norfolk and Suffolk.
Throughout the year, monitoring takes place of the PCC and police budgets, with formal reports on spending against the set budgets subject to scrutiny at public meetings where the PCC holds the Chief Constable to account.
At the end of the financial year, annual accounts are examined by external auditors, Ernst and Young, who are required to provide an audit opinion. The accounts have to be audited and formally approved by the PCC and the Chief Constable by the end of September each year.
In addition to the work undertaken by the external auditors, the PCC appoints internal auditors, TIAA, to ensure that throughout the year there is continual audit coverage of internal controls, financial and business risk.
There is also an Audit Committee, whose members are independent of the PCC and Norfolk Police, which holds regular public meetings to consider the internal and external audit reports of both the PCC and the Chief Constable.