Suffolk PCC’s independent advisory panel disbanded after ‘historic low’ membership

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said his office would remain open and transparen

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said his office would remain open and transparent Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

An independent advisory group to Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner has been dissolved after “historic low” numbers.

Independent advisory groups were established nationwide to help advise and give feedback to the PCC. Suffolk’s was set up in 2007 to help make recommendations, review and improve how hate crimes were handled, monitor diversity and help review the management of critical incidents.

But last month, the group was formally disbanded because of membership issues, and input and scrutiny being available through other means.

The report into the issue said: “The IAG membership is at a historic low of five members restricting effective functioning of the group.

“The IAG has discussed the development of a digital IAG and rebranding the group to encourage more representative membership from the breadth of communities in Suffolk. These alternative options have been considered by the IAG, the office of the PCC and constabulary and have been discounted.”

The report said that input and advice from organisations such as the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, the PCC’s accountability and performance panel, the force’s rural advisory group and the community engagement through safer neighbourhood teams, was working as effectively.

The report confirmed that the annual budget of £2,200 for the group would be diverted back into the PCC’s corporate budget.

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Mr Passmore said that the same level of openness and public involvement would remain despite the group’s collapse.

“Getting feedback from the community and members of the public is absolutely critical, and instead of the IAG – which hasn’t been well attended for several reasons – we want to assure everyone that we have a good programme with our public meetings, on tours and business liaison meetings,” he said.

“There is not a void at all. We do such a large amount of engagement that it perhaps became surplus to requirement.”

He said that public feedback made a “huge difference” to how he held the chief constable to account and added that his office would be “open and transparent” throughout.

The group’s closure does not mean another cannot be set up if it is felt to be needed in future.

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