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Speed awareness course for Police Commissioner

Matthew Grove (left) defeated Lord Prescott (right) in elections for the post last year Credit: PA

The police and crime commissioner for Humberside, Matthew Grove, is to go on a speed awareness course after breaking the law in his car.

Mr Grove was recorded driving at 36mph in a 30mph zone on the Peaks Parkway in Grimsby in October.

He was offered the opportunity of a speed awareness course as an alternative to prosecution for a motoring offence.

Mr Grove said he "welcomed" the opportunity to go on the course and "reflect on my standard of driving."

He was elected to the £75,000 a year post last November as the Conservative Party candidate after narrowly beating Labour's Lord Prescott.

Justice system should 'look outwards'

The justice system should "look outwards" to the citizens it serves, said the author of a report arguing for PCCs to have more power. Max Chambers said:

Currently, PCCs are operating with one arm tied behind their back...That includes the ability to appoint the right people as well as set the local strategy and hold criminal justice leaders to account for performance.

Our ambition is for a system where, instead of local criminal justice leaders looking upwards and inwards to Whitehall for direction and validation, they increasingly look outwards to each other and downwards to the citizens they serve.

– Report Author Max Chambers

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PCCs introduced in 2012 to make forces accountable

Controversial Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) were introduced to make forces more accountable.

  • PCCs were brought in last year after only 15.1 percent of registered voters took part in the elections.
  • They have the power to set force budgets and hire and fire chief constables.
  • Last month the Home Affairs Select Committee warned that checks and balances on PCCs were "too weak" after raising concerns that those elected to the role were showing a "worrying" ability to evade rules when sacking chief constables.

PCCs should have more powers, say think tank

PCCs should have the power to hire and fire prison governors and inspect police, says Policy Exchange. Credit: PA

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) should have the power to hire and fire prison governors and probation chiefs, according to a leading think tank.

More powers should be given to PCCs as limits on their current remit mean 41 of them are "operating with one arm tied behind their back", say Policy Exchange.

If proposals from the think tank's report, Power Down, were implemented PCCs would have the power to appoint local justice figures as well as order prison and police force inspections.

Policy Exchange, which claims it was the organisation which first proposed the idea of PCCs, argues expanding the role will make the justice system cheaper, more effective and more dynamic.

Police Commissioners 'welcome transparency'

Tony Lloyd, the Chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, has welcomed calls for greater transparency in their relationships with Chief Constables and says that the "vast majority" have "developed a strong and purposeful" relationship.

Police on patrol

"Commissioners are mindful that a good working relationship with their Chief Constable is good for force morale and will contribute to better decision-making," he said.

"The public elected Police and Crime Commissioners to hold Chief Constables to account so we welcome measures to improve transparency and enhance the confidence of the public."

Police 'accountable to the law and the law alone'

The Police Federation of England and Wales said constables "should never face the possibility of being removed from their job due to political reasons or interference".

Constables ;should never face the possibility of being removed from their job due to political reasons' Credit: Dave Kendall/PA Wire

Chairman Steve Williams said: "All police officers should have the operational independence afforded to them by the office of constable - the principle that they are accountable to the law and the law alone.

"Police officers must be free to carry out their duties for the benefit of the public and to be free from compromise they must be sure their actions could not be improperly held against them in the future."

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Vaz claims PCCs have 'worrying' ability to evade rules

Home Affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz said it is "worrying" that Police and Crime Commissioners "seem able to side-step the statutory process for dismissing a chief constable".

Home Affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz. Credit: PA/PA Wire

Mr Vaz said: "Police and Crime Panels should make more active use of their powers to scrutinise decisions such as this.

"We will be returning to this area when we carry out our next major inquiry into Polic eand Crime Commissioners, towards the end of this year."

PCC clashes should 'not have come as any surprise'

The Home Affairs committee said it should "not have come as any surprise" that there were a number of high-profile clashes between commissioners and chief constables following reforms that were made.

The Home Affairs committee warns that curbs on elected police commissioners are 'too weak'. Credit: ITV News

Elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC), which replaced existing police authorities in 41 force areas across England and Wales, were handed the power to set force budgets and hire and fire chief constables.

Just 15.1% of registered voters took part in the November 2012 PCC election - the lowest recorded level of participation at a peacetime non-local government election in Britain.

Gwent PCC 'welcomes' scrutiny by select committee

Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Ian Johnston said he welcomed the Home Affairs select committee's scrutiny into the role of PCCs.

I would like to reiterate that the interests of the communities of Gwent have, and always will be, at the forefront of my decisions and that at all times I act within the relevant legislation.

I also want to reassure members of the public that I will be moving to appoint a new Chief Constable at the beginning of September.

MPs critical of Gwent commissioner Ian Johnston

A group of MPs that warned curbs on Police and Crime Commissioners are "too weak" have been particularly critical of Gwent commissioner Ian Johnston, who "persuaded" Chief Constable Carmel Napier to retire earlier this year.

Napier's retirement meant the formal process was bypassed.

Gwent commissioner Ian Johnston has been criticised by the report. Credit: Gwent PCC

The Home Affairs committee said the reasons given for the decision were "unsubstantiated by any concrete examples".

It also rounded on him for criticising the grilling he received about the move at the hands of Labour MP Chris Ruane, who represents the Vale of Clwyd constituency in North Wales.

"We were disappointed that, shortly after we took evidence from Mr Johnston, he took to Twitter to criticise a member of the committee for asking questions that he believed had been prompted by Gwent MPs, describing the proceedings as 'sad really'," the report said.

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