Being Police Commissioner for North Wales - Winston Roddick QC

Lloyd George Soceity Presentation Saturday 16th February 2019

“Being Police Commissioner for North Wales”

Winston Roddick QC

  1. Thank you for that introduction. LG was still MP for C'fon Boroughs when I was born and shortly after he died on 26 March 1945, my parents took me to see his grave alongside the river Dwyfor at Llanymstymdwy. He has been an inspiration to me throughout my life. I am particularly proud therefore to have been one of the three founding fathers of this society.
  2. Non- conformist genius - on the wall of Office as CGPCC 

When I became Wales' first Counsel General, I placed on the wall of my office in Cathays Park Cardiff the Spy Cartoon of LG titled "Welsh Non­conformist Genius". It was there to remind me of the importance of being radical especially when dealing with that most conservative of professions, Welsh Office lawyers and civil servants. I am not be a genius, but I am most certainly radical and a Welsh non-conformist. and there was every reason during those very early stages in the development of our devolved constitution that the CG be as radical as possible in his attitude to change -Afterall, I was appointed to steer the new Assembly through its nascent stages.

  1. And if you think that lawyers and civil servants are conservative, you want to try working in the police service - so that same Punch cartoon of LG was on my wall so all could see it in the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales -
  2. Driven by LG good example, I accepted the invitation to be the first independent chair of the APCC and I had the privilege in February 2016, shortly before I stood down as PCC of chairing the inaugural meeting of the Police Reform and Transformation Board on which are represented the chief constables, the Police college, HMIC and the Home Office. And I should like to think that I brought a radical approach to the policing of NW as its first PCC.

And that brings me to the 21st century

Save for the metropolitan police, the governance of all police forests was and still essential local magistrates to watch committees to police authorities. What those bodies had in common was that they were neither elected nor accountable. Therefore, although the police service was neither elected nor accountable. Therefore, although he police services of England and Wales is and always has been central to our liberties, its local governance was neither open nor accountable. Now that is a very important point and helps us to understand why the 2011 police reform act made the changes it did.

The 2011 Act introduced the most radical reforms in the history of policing. It abolished police authorities, which as I said were unelected, unseen and unaccountable, replaced them with directly elected police and crime commissioners who are accountable directly to the electorate and are scrutinised by police and crime panels, (independent bodies created by Parliament and the membership of which are selected by locally elected representatives), it scrapped national targets, reformed pay and conditions, abolished bureaucracy and set up the national crime agency and college of policing. It created a statutory framework for effective policing which, in my view, is a model of its kind he great strength of which rests in the fact that essentiality it governance is local, open and accountable…

Professors Bradley and Ewing in the latest edition of their work on constitutional and administrative law, in their chapter on police and personal liberty say that

“It is difficult to exaggerate the central importance of personal liberty in a free democratic society”

None of us would disagree it with statement, but it can also be said, can it not, that how we are policed is also of central importance to our liberties and it can also be said can it not that how the police are scrutinised in the performance of those responsibilities is just as important as those two matters.

Where are the principal statutory duties of PCCs to be found? 

The two principal Acts setting out these powers and responsibilities are the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (the 2011 Act) and the Police Act (1996) as amended. The latter Act sets out what were the duties of the now extinct Police Authorities and which by the 2011 Act were transferred on to PCCs and the 2011 Act establishes PCCs and sets out their key responsibilities.

What then were my most important statutory functions? 

  1. To secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force for north Wales and to reduce crime
  2. Hold the CC to account for the exercise of the chief constable's functions and responsibilities and those under the direction and control of the CC
  3. By sections 10 and schedule 11 of the 2011 Act I was placed at the centre of community safety and of the criminal justice system, and it would be a good thing if all judges including presiding judges, magistrates and the chief executives of local authorities in wales were to read those provisions. They are clearly written and not at all difficult to understand.

Summarise those provisions - see the Act sec 10 and Sch 11 

What other statutory responsibilities did I have as the PCC for north Wales? 

  • To publish the Police and Crime Plan setting out my strategic policies for the policing of north and 8 Wales and it is to those strategies that the chief constable has to work in drawing up his operational plans for the policing of north Wales. The plan must set out my policing and crime objectives, details of grants made to partners, the budget I will give to the chief constable and how I would hold him to account and how I would measure his performance of my objectives

The Police and crime panel. It is made up of ten  local councillors and two co-opted independent members.

PRSRA - Ss 5, 7 and 8

PRSRA -Ss 21-27, Schedule 5, and Local Government and Finance Act 1992 Ss39-43

To each of its quarterly meetings, I provided regular reports and updates which explained how I scrutinise the Force's performance. The Police and Crime Panel is not authorised to scrutinise the Chief Constable.

Funding/finance 

Part of the money that makes up what I give the CC

in his budget comes from the HO. The other 40% I had to raise by way of local taxation -known as the precept. I also held all other police funding provided for the policing of north Wales.

PRSRA-Ss 11-14 and Schedule 11

Transparency and engagement 

PCCs must obtain the views of local people and victims of crime before drawing up the police and crime plan and before the precept is set The PCC must publish an annual report which must be presented to the panel at a public meeting.

Appointments and removal from office.

The PCC may appoint, suspend or remove the chief constable and must be consulted by the chief constable on the appointment of deputy and assistant chief constables. The Panel has a power of veto over the appointment of the chief constable A PCC must appoint a chief executive and a chief finance officer (who must be separate people), and may appoint a Deputy PCC: all three of these posts are subject to confirmation hearings by the panel ..

Complaints 

As the Commissioner, I had direct responsibility for complaints against the chief constable, and indirect oversight of how the chief constable deals with force complaints.

PRSRA - Ss 38-40 Schedule 8, 55, Schedule 1, Ss 6·12, Schedule 15, Ss 6 &.7

Mention appointment of deputy – Julian Sand ham Part IV, Police Act, as amended PRSRA- 531 and Schedule 7 PRSRA • Schedule 1 514, PRSRA- Ss 15, and 89, Police Act S22A PRSRA- 517

My police and Crime Objectives

Cicero "let the security of the people be the highest law"

The outcomes to which I committed myself were security in the home, safety in public places and visible and accessible policing. To achieve those outcomes, I set four objectives in my Police and Crime Plan. Namely:

  • Preventing Crime
  • Effective police response
  • Reduce harm and the risk of harm
  • Build effective partnerships

Underneath these four objectives I set out the measures against which the CC's performance of them would be measured.

The Police and Crime Plan is therefore the starting point for all scrutiny actions which were undertaken by my office.

I established a Strategic Executive Board which I chaired It was my decision-making forum. Members include the Deputy Commissioner, the Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable, the Assistant Chief Constable, the Director of Finance and Resources of the police force and the Chief Executive and Chief Finance officer of my office.

I was provided with a monthly performance report by the force. This performance report addresses each one of the measures outlined in my Police and Crime Plan. I was also provided with a quarterly update by the Chief Constable on work Streams to support delivery of the Police and Crime Plan.

OBJECTIVES

My first objective was preventing crime. Prevention was at the heart of everything I did. North Wales Police was praised by HMIC for being none of only 10 forces in England and Wales to have an effective crime prevention strategy in place. I strongly agree with Sir Robert Peel's founding principle that the greatest public benefit in relation to crime and its consequences is in the success of measures to prevent its occurrence. One initiative which I introduced, in relation to the preventing crime and effective response objectives, is the Rural Crime Team. The purpose of which is to give the rural and farming communities of north Wales dedicated officers that concentrate on rural crimes. 

During the summer, the rural crime team and I attended all of the north Wales agricultural shows to build relationships and partnerships with the rural communities and the Farming Unions.

Explain why it was set up. 

It proved to be a great success in North Wales but it also became a model for other forces both at home and internationally. Emulated by Australian forces and police forces of New Zealand 

3rd Objective 

The aim of the reducing harm objective was to focus on the serv1ce delivered to vulnerable victims and to reduce the risk of harm to victims by providing quality services that gives them the confidence to report crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual offences.

The Amethyst team, In my first year I introduced the Amethyst team which was a dedicated rape investigation team the purpose of which was to give confidence to the victims of rape and serious sexual offences to come forward and report it. The victims confidence in the police's response to

sexual offences resulted in an increase in the number of sexual offences reported to the police .. The reports are abs essential to the effective policing of these offences - no complaint- no offence. No offence- no offender. No offender - risk of repeats continue.

North Wales Victims Centre.

Another innovation and one I am very proud of was the establishment in St Asaph of the VC for NW. In its first three months of operation 3000 victims engaged with it. 

Creating effective partnerships was the fourth of the objectives. I say "was" because it became the most important and topped the list in the final version of my police and crime plan and I will explain why. There are a number of reasons, but more effective working is the principal reason. 

North Wales police and indeed other public sector agencies continued to face a very challenging financial climate in which to operate. All the police forces of England and Wales have had to reduce the number of police officers. Therefore, reducing demand through effective partnership working is imperative if the financial challenges and their consequences are to be met.

But my reason for giving this objective such high importance is not only to assist North Wales police and its partners in overcoming our respective financial challenges. There are much stronger reasons. Neither the police nor any other agency responsible for the health, safety and wellbeing of the inhabitants of NW can be effective other than by co-operative working. The police cannot work alone to prevent crime or to secure the safety of the inhabitants of north Wales. It needs the support and co-operation of the other statutory bodies including the local authorities, health boards, the other emergency services and the voluntary sector. As the issues arising out of cases involving mental ill-health, missing from home, domestic violence, child sexual exploitation and other serious crimes are often much wider than just policing, an effective response requires co-operative working between the various agencies. They must sit around the same table. As the focus on these crimes continues to sharpen, the importance of partnership working will continue to grow.

Let me then summarise the case for partnership working.

  • It supports the delivery of my other three priorities, preventing crime, delivering an effective response and reducing harm and the risk of harm.
  • It better enables the police and each of its partners to carry out their roles more effectively as well as more economically.
  • enables responses to be more effective and lasting in their benefit to the community than they otherwise would be.
  • It reduces demand, thereby increasing the capacity of frontline staff of all responsible authorities.

I worked in partnership with other agencies through the North Wales Leadership Board, the North Wales Safer Communities Board, the Substance Misuse Area Planning Board and the Local Criminal Justice Board.

That then is why working in effective partnerships became the top priority within my Police and Crime Plan.

Conclusion

That then is a summary of my role and responsibilities as the police and crime commissioner for North Wales .. But Having plans and strategies is one thing; quite another thing is fulfilling them. The important question therefore is - how is my performance of the role to be measured. Did I make a real difference or not?

Before I address that question, to avoid any impression that I've written my own testimonial, let me tell you where the answer comes from. It comes from my successor in his annual report to the Police and Crime Panel. What the report does is to compare the figures as they were on the day I began as police and crime commissioner with the figures as they were on the day I finished in that role.

Figures appear as follows

  • The number of victims of crimes fell by 16%
  • Offences generally fell by 8%
  • There were nearly 9000 less antisocial behaviour incidents
  • 500 less burglaries
  • 11 fewer people were killed and or seriously injured in traffic accidents
  • 123 7 more cases of indecent photographs of children were detected
  • Also, the number of offences committed by previously convicted persons fell by29%
  • During each of my four years, public confidence and satisfaction rating of NWP amongst the public of NW increased
  • Every aspect of satisfaction on the part of the victims also increased very substantially


One thing in particular was left out of that report by my successor and that is an acknowledgement these achievements were those of the police themselves and on my last day in office I wrote to each and every one of them congratulating them and thanking them for what they achieved.

Thank you very much. Diolch am wrando.

Stori ohonai'n mynd ar goll ar fy beat yn lerpwl

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