I sat on my first Police and Crime panel last week. The idea of it is that it provides Scrutiny to the work done by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl. With the latest information about his plans, his budgets and his ambitions, the committee is also to act as a “critical friend” to the PPC in the development of his ideas. It is not just a County Council committee, it pulls in members from the districts as well as independent members to give a broad representation.
I have known Martin for a while, since the start of the PCC election process because I was the Labour Agent at the time. But this brought a different viewpoint onto the work that Martin has been doing and gave me the opportunity to ask some of the more strategic questions around police numbers on the street and other concerns that have been raised by residents.
Also, we had a presentation on Restorative Justice, the idea that Criminals and their victims meet in a “conference” and the victim has the opportunity to say how the actions have affected them and really put a “face” to the crimes committed. Certainly from the numbers given, it seems to be some serious steps in the right direct, where it is appropriate.
It will be interesting to see how this committee develops, I am really keen to see it be “useful”.