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New Style Forums To Hold Police To Account

Join the debate at Salford Town Hall on Friday 16 August

Written by . Published on August 12th 2013.


New Style Forums To Hold Police To Account
 

THE first in a new series of public forums will be held later this month as part of Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s promise to hold the police to account.

At each forum, senior figures from Greater Manchester Police and other agencies will be quizzed on a particular topic of public interest.

Targets for policing can be pretty meaningless and more than a little insulting. Is it really acceptable to say it’s alright to have, for example, 10,000 domestic burglaries in Greater Manchester a year? Of course not – we don’t want to see any.  But you can’t set a target for zero burglaries in the real world.

The format will be similar to the select committee process held in parliament, allowing for an in-depth investigation into issues which matter to local people.

The public forums are just one of a range of new measures being introduced by Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, in order to measure police performance in a way that is accessible and meaningful to the public.

The first forum will be held at The Salford Suite at Salford Town Hall, Swinton at 2pm on Friday 16 August where members of the public are welcome to attend. The subject for discussion will be how Greater Manchester Police deals with fraud cases. This topic was chosen after Tony Lloyd was contacted by a number of members of the public, and by Members of Parliament on behalf of their constituents, about their experiences as victims of fraud.

Issues raised by these victims highlight feelings of confusion and frustration with their experience, leading Tony Lloyd to hold the first forum on how fraud is reported, recorded and investigated.

He will be joined by Altrincham and Sale West MP Graham Brady and they will question Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy and others on the subject.

Tony Lloyd explained:  “Holding the police to account is one of my key roles as Police and Crime Commissioner, and this new style of forum means we can look at issues of significant public interest and scrutinise them in a thoughtful and useful way.

“The issues we will be looking at have been prompted by Greater Manchester people getting in touch with me about their concerns, so the forums will allow us all to find out what the police have to say on these issues – and look at ways we can do things better.

“I’ve chosen fraud as the first topic because of the volume of correspondence I’ve received. There’s a perception that the police don’t take fraud seriously. The forum will allow the Chief Constable to explain how GMP deals with fraud, and for us to explore ways of improving things.

“I’m really pleased that I will be joined by Graham Brady to put the questions to the Chief Constable and others. Graham brings with him significant experience as a long-standing and highly regarded Member of Parliament.”

Tony Lloyd already holds fortnightly public forums, where reports are presented and decisions are taken. It is intended that the new forums will be held monthly, replacing one of the current forums. At the other forum, a new type of performance report will be published each month.

This is a move away from the previous system of having targets and graphs and instead, the new reports look at what the key issues are, which crimes are going up, and which are going down, emerging themes and trends and – most importantly of all – what is being done about it.

Tony added: “This is intelligent monitoring for intelligent policing. Targets for policing can be pretty meaningless and more than a little insulting. Is it really acceptable to say it’s alright to have, for example, 10,000 domestic burglaries in Greater Manchester a year? Of course not – we don’t want to see any.  But you can’t set a target for zero burglaries in the real world.

“This new type of report instead takes an honest look at the emerging trends and means I can ensure, on behalf of the people of Greater Manchester,  that the police are taking effective action to drive down crime.

“Accountability is incredibly important to ensure there is confidence in policing and I’m confident these new measures will make GMP’s performance more accessible to the public.”

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