Reviewing effectiveness of police accountability

Frontline Consulting and Grant Thornton conducted a first-term review of police and crime panels (PCPs), looking at their effectiveness and the strength of their relationships with their police and crime commissioners (PCCs).

Our report shares the lessons from the first term to help panel members and PCCs build arrangements to continue to improve the effectiveness of police accountability in this new term.

The key findings from our report are summarised below.

Panels and PCCs did not agree on the main barriers to effectiveness – 93% of police and crime panels cited limited powers as the top barrier to their effectiveness while only 37% of PCCs rated it as important; 34% of PCCs considered ‘political allegiances’ to be a top-three barrier to panel effectiveness but placed staffing support for the panel as their top barrier (40%)

Panel effectiveness and influence may be increased by greater public interest – PCPs should ensure their work resonates with the public by selecting the right topics, responding swiftly to issues affecting the PCC, and ensuring their challenge and support is insightful and adds value.

Only around half of PCCs and panels felt panels got the balance right between challenge and support – PCCs considered panels more effective in their support than in their challenge. Only 42% of panel members viewed their proactive scrutiny work as being very or extremely successful. 

61% of PCCs said PCP recommendations or observations sometimes influenced or changed their decision-making – with only 18% saying their decision-making was always or mostly influenced by the panel's work.

The report includes a series of recommendations to help strengthen the effectiveness of policing accountability arrangements

Read the report
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