Merseyside Police and Crime Panel struggle to recruit required extra Co-Opted Member nearly 2 years after resignation
By John Brace (Editor)
Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)
On Monday I published a piece headlined Phil Davies faced grilling by Merseyside Police and Crime Panel as preferred candidate for Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner post about the meeting last week of the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel. Since then the Liverpool Echo reports that Phil Davies has withdrawn his application.
However in that piece published on Monday, I also mentioned that I was not sure (at that point) why there was only one independent person on the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel now when there are supposed to be two.
There used to be two independent people, but in August 2018 one of the previous two, Kate Robinson (presumably not the Electoral Services Manager at Wirral Council of the same name) resigned.
A recruitment process to fill the vacancy started in February 2019, but by July 2019 there had only been three applicants (all from the Sefton area where it had been mentioned in a local newspaper). By March 2020 there had been nine applicants.
The Merseyside Police and Crime Panel meeting scheduled for the 19th March 2020 (cancelled because of the pandemic) was going to be asked to decide that the existing independent member Keith Pickup carry on for a second term of four years, but as nine people had by then applied (recruitment closed on the 2nd March 2020) that a Selection Panel be set up to shortlist the candidates in March 2020 for the second Co-Opted Member, with interviews in April 2020 with a recommendation to the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel in July 2020. It is to also be noted that a Selection Panel had already been set up in July 2019 of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Cllr Shaw and possibly also Cllr Sweeney.
Although there can be more than two co-opted members of a police and crime panel, the Minister has to agree to this first and the extra co-opted members can’t make the total number of the panel more than twenty (which isn’t an issue on Merseyside where there are in total twelve positions (ten councillors, two co-opted) on the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel).
The original story on Knowsley Council’s website about recruitment expected a decision by July 2019, with details such an application form, background information, eligibility criteria, Merseyside Police and Crime Panel arrangements, person specification and roles and responsibilities still available to view on Knowsley Council’s website.
One of those documents explain that it is a one day a month job. Although expenses (such as travelling) are reimbursed it is unpaid. Similar to the recruitment process for magistrates, it asks a question on the application form about involvement in local community activities.
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