Scrutiny

The PCC holds the Chief Constable to account and where he formally documents any key decisions relating to the police service.

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) holds monthly meetings with the Chief Constable and his Executive Team so that he can monitor police performance and ask the questions needed to evaluate performance against the objectives set in his Police and Crime Plan.

It is at these meetings where the PCC holds the Chief Constable to account and where he formally documents any key decisions relating to the police service.

At the meetings, the PCC and Chief Constable discuss police performance, the budget and financial information to assess whether an efficient and effective service is being delivered.

Other discussions are held around current issues, emerging threats and areas of concern and how they can work together to tackle them.

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Complaints Panel

The Independent Complaints Scrutiny Panel was set up in February 2021 and its purpose is to review a proportion of public complaint cases each quarter based upon a defined time period or theme.  

The Panel will provide feedback and identify learning points for Durham Constabulary around the proportionality and the decision-making of investigators and Appropriate Authorities. The Panel will also consider the degree to which the outcome of the complaint is reasonable and proportionate and the degree to which the outcome is what could reasonably be expected based on the components of the complaint and the investigation.

The Panel will also be expected to identify strategic themes in decisions related to the outcomes of complaints, including suspensions, assessments, meetings and hearings, where sufficient data is available to form a view. 

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In fulfilling these responsibilities, the Committee will:

  • Decision making
  • Proportionality of Approach
  • Fairness to all relevant parties
  • Communication, including timeliness and meaningfulness of such communication
  • May include any indications identified on non-compliance with statutory framework

The Panel will provide an annual report outlining any trends identified, areas of public interest and provide an objective view on the quality and consistency of proportionality and decision making, which will be reported to the External Strategic Scrutiny Governance Group (ESSGG). 

Ethics Committee

The Durham Independent Police Ethics Committee is a forum for discussing ethical dilemmas in relation to policing and for providing advice on those dilemmas to Durham Constabulary.

Members of the Committee act as ‘critical friends' to the Force and through this role the Committee seeks to enhance the trust and confidence of the public in the ethical governance and actions of the Force.

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A member of the Durham Police, Crime Commissioner's Office (PCC) collates the findings and observations of the Panel and reports those to the Head of the Constabulary Professional Standards Department PSD) for comments and action. The Panel are informed of decisions and or changes made in regard to the recommendations they make.

The Panel will review:

  • Monitor the Force's alignment against its values and the National Police Code of Ethics
  • Analyse issues and provide advice on ethical dilemmas raised by the Force, by the OPCVC, members of the public and members of the Committee
  • Raise and analyse issues of local and national public interest
  • Promote the highest standards of ethical conduct
  • Provide a source of support to Senior Leaders and others.
  • Interact with other groups and committees when appropriate (e.g. Independent Complaints Scrutiny Panel, Joint Audit Committee)
In this challenge and support role, the Committee will provide advice and guidance in the following ways: 

BUS Panel summary

A police officer’s use of their powers in relation to BAME arrest, Use of Force and Stop/Search (BUS) all need to be proportionate, lawful, and necessary.

Officers are accountable for their actions and any application of their powers is open to legitimate review.  The use of an independent scrutiny panel is a key part of that process.

The Police and Crime Commissioner's Office (OPCC) can enable Durham Constabulary’s learning and understanding via the panel’s perspective which reflects the community it serves.

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The OPCC BUS Panel works with Durham Constabulary to test the proportionality, legitimacy, and necessity of the application of these police powers. The Panel achieves this by scrutinising and dip sampling BAME arrests, Use of Force and Stop/Search submissions.

The Panel use available information including electronic records, body worn video, and custody CCTV. The Panel is chaired by an elected member of the BUS Panel, meets quarterly, and covers Darlington and County Durham.

The OPCC will develop an annual report on behalf of the Panel and ensure its findings are relayed to Durham Constabulary and acted upon as required.

Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel

Please see below the terms of reference for the hate crime scrutiny panel.

Terms of Reference

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