The Merseyside Police and Crime Panel examine the actions and decisions of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). The Panel make sure information is available for the public so that they can hold the PCC to account.
The Panel’s responsibilities include:
- Contributing to the development of the PCC’s police and crime plan.
- Making comments on the PCC’s annual report at a public meeting.
- Scrutinising the PCC’s proposed council tax precept.
- Confirming the appointments of the chief constable and the PCC’s senior support staff.
- Making reports and recommendations to the PCC.
- Dealing with complaints about the PCC.
The Panel is made up of 10 elected representatives (councillors) from the local authorities within the Merseyside police force area plus two independent co-opted members.
Knowsley MBC is the host authority for the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel. Information about meetings of the Panel, including agendas and minutes can be found on the Knowsley Council webpage.
Copies of formal reports/recommendations submitted by the Panel to the Police and Crime Commissioner are also available, along with the formal responses from the Commissioner to the Panel reports.
Why was the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel established?
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 introduced new arrangements for the way the police was governed in England and Wales. It created Police and Crime Commissioners, elected by the public and accountable to the electorate for how crime is tackled in their area and Police and Crime Panels, whose main purpose is to hold such Commissioners to account.
Each Commissioner and Panel are linked to a police force area. The Merseyside Police Force area covers the five local authorities: Knowsley Borough Council, Liverpool City Council, St. Helens Borough Council, Sefton Borough Council and Wirral Borough Council.
Emily Spurrell was elected as Merseyside's Police and Crime Commissioner in May 2021. Her job is to set the police force’s priorities and budget for the year ahead and to hold the Chief Constable to account for service delivery and performance within that policy and financial framework.
What is the role of the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel?
The Merseyside Police and Crime Panel’s role is to hold the Commissioner to account for the exercise of their duties and responsibilities. The Panel also make sure information is available for members of the public so that they too can hold the PCC to account.
The Panel focus its attention on important strategic actions and decisions made by the PCC. It is the Panel’s role to act as a “critical friend” offering both challenge and support to the Commissioner.
What powers and responsibilities does the Police and Crime Panel have?
Panels have a range of powers to help them carry out their responsibilities. In specific terms, the Panel is obliged to:
- Review the Commissioner’s proposed budget/precept (the local charge on the council tax to fund the police) and submit a report/recommendations on it – this includes the Panel having the power of veto;
- Review the Commissioner’s draft Police and Crime Plan (or a variation of it) and submit a report/recommendation on it;
- Review the Commissioner’s Annual Report and submit a report/recommendations on it (this requires the Panel to have a public meeting at which it will question the Commissioner on the content of the document).
- Hold confirmation hearings for the following:
- the Commissioner’s proposed appointment of a Chief Executive and Chief Finance Officer (two separate statutory roles);
- the Commissioner’s proposed appointment of a Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (this is a discretionary appointment); and
- the appointment of a new Chief Constable (this includes the Panel having a power of veto over the commissioner’s initially proposed candidate).
- Hold a scrutiny hearing (meeting in private) where the Commissioner is proposing the removal or resignation of the Chief Constable.
- Appoint an Acting Commissioner in certain circumstances (such as where the Commissioner is incapacitated).
- Suspend the Commissioner where he/she is charged with an offence carrying a potential term of imprisonment.
- Make arrangements for recording and dealing with conduct matters relating to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.
Who are the Panel members?
Merseyside Police and Crime Panel comprises of 10 elected representatives from each of the local authorities within the Merseyside police force area plus two independent co-opted members.
Current panel members are:
Councillor Shelley Powell
Councillor Shelley Powell is a Labour Councillor representing the Halewood South Ward.
Liverpool City Council
Councillor Barbara Murray
Councillor Barbara Murray is a Labour Councillor representing the Yew Tree Ward.
Councillor Richard Clein
Councillor Richard Clein is a Liberal Democrat Councillor representing the Cressington Ward.
Councillor Billy Lake
Councillor Billy Lake is a Liberal Party and Independent Group Councillor representing Tuebrook Ward.
Councillor Sonya Kelly
Councillor Sony Kelly is a Labour Councillor representing the Birkdale Ward.
Councillor David Robinson
Councillor David Robinson is a Labour Councillor representing Derby Ward.
St. Helens Council
Councillor Paul Hooton
Councillor Paul Hooton is a Green Party Councillor representing the Haydock Ward.
Councillor John Hodkinson
Councillor John Hodkinson is a Labour Councillor representing the Sutton North West Ward.
Councillor Sue Powell-Wilde
Councillor Sue Powell-Wilde is a Labour Councillor representing the New Brighton Ward.
Councillor Leah Fraser
Councillor Leah Fraser is a Conservative Councillor representing Pensby and Thingwall Ward.
How is the Panel funded?
The Home Office provide up to £53,300 funding for each panel each year to cover support and running costs. Expenses of up to £920 are also available to each member.
Complaints against the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner or the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner
The responsibility for dealing with any complaints against the Police and Crime Commissioner or Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner lies with the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel. The Panel has the power to delegate its responsibilities in relation to the handling of complaints against the Police and Crime Commissioner or any Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner. In this respect, the Panel has delegated its responsibilities regarding the initial handling and recording of complaints to the Monitoring Officer of Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council (the Host Authority).
The Monitoring Officer therefore deals with all complaints and conduct matters against the Commissioner or her Deputy. Any serious complaint or conduct matter must be referred by the Monitoring Officer, to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). For the complaints not being dealt with by the IPCC, the Monitoring Officer deals with them in accordance with the arrangements set out in the Complaint Handling Procedure.
If you wish to submit a complaint specifically in relation to the conduct or behaviour of the Police and Crime Commissioner or her Deputy, please print and complete the Complaint Form and return it to:
The Monitoring Officer,
Host Authority – Merseyside Police and Crime Panel
Or E-mail the form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your suggested complaint is against any of the following:
- The Chief Constable;
- Police Officers or Police Staff;
- The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Support Staff or Chief Executive; or
- Independent Custody Visitors.
Please view the Commissioner’s Complaints Policy which is situated on the Policies webpage of their website. This is to ensure that your complaint is dealt with by the relevant organisation or person.