Cllr Warren Ward reminded those present at the start of his declaration of interest by saying,
“Chair, I’ve got a declaration of interest.
In the report it mentions a quote from the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner.
In 2014, I was employed as a private secretary to errm the Police and Crime Commissioner Panel.”
I am of course welcome that Cllr Warren Ward brought this up, as Wirral’s criminal justice system caught up with Merseyside’s former Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner on the subject of road safety (although the embarrassing incident below wasn’t mentioned at last night’s meeting). At the time of the offence she was Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.
Cllr Ann O’Byrne (who for the purposes of clarity and avoidance of doubt is a completely different councillor to the current Merseyside Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Cllr Sue Murphy) according to a report in the Liverpool Echo pled guilty at Wirral Magistrates’ Court to two driving offences which were
driving “without due care and attention”
failing to stop after a road accident
after crashing into an orange BMW Mini. She pled guilty, was fined and had to pay prosecution costs of £565.
Of course there will be many regular readers who will see parallels between this behaviour and that of some politicians.
In the past some councillors have been accused of failing to stop going on after political accidents (such as the library closure programme only halted by a government ordered public inquiry), of generally being politicians behaving “without due care and attention” and also in the process of being more interested in scoring petty party political points and damaging the peoples’ trust in democratic systems in the process.
But then I shouldn’t be too critical as there are plenty of good politicians too that unfortunately get tarred by the same brush by association!
Certainly there is a lot of car crash TV I have filmed at public meetings over the years!
Moving swiftly back to the subject of the current Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy. She was asking questions on Monday afternoon about the effect on jobs of a joint Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service project (involving consultants Deloittes are doing) at an eleven minute public meeting of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee (see video of the meeting below). You can read the agenda and reports to do with that on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s website.
As this is a committee of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, I had better declare an interest as an Appellant in a First-tier Tribunal case in which Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority are Second Respondent (case reference EA⁄2016⁄0054).
Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.
David Rees (a road safety manager at Wirral Council) made it clear at the meeting that Wirral Council hadn’t received any legal claims for compensation from pedestrians arising from A-boards on the footway.
Conservative councillor Gerry Ellis stated that the person who had raised the issue with Wirral Council about the A-board outside a Moreton shop had been threatened with legal action by Wirral Council and asked a senior manager at Wirral Council (the Head of Environment and Regulation Mark Smith) to explain why.
However the Labour Chair of the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee Councillor Michael Sullivan intervened before Mark Smith had a chance to answer. I will also point out that from my recollection at least one Labour councillor expressed the view at the meeting that Wirral Council employees should not be criticised by Wirral Council councillors.
The Chair decided unilaterally that in his view the report was purely about pedestrian casualties and that as he knew of no recorded accidents known to Wirral Council involving A-boards, Cllr Sullivan told Cllr Ellis that Wirral Council’s Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee wasn’t the forum for discussing such matters and ended any debate on the matter.
Finally, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner have been in touch with me.
During the 30 working day inspection period this year (which finished mid-August 2016) I requested some invoices. However I challenged whether some of the blacked out bits were done properly in accordance with the legislation. Technically not providing the information inside the 30 working day inspection period is unlawful (although it’s a civil law matter).
So I challenged it and around a month later got back three invoices from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside with less redaction.
Can the citizens of Merseyside expect the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside to understand the law? Would that be expecting too much considering these invoices are to their “legal services department”? Or was this a genuine mistake? Or am I too robust in press scrutiny of the local public sector?