Session 2008-09, 4 December 2008

Oral Evidence

Home Affairs Committee to take evidence on proposals for direct elections to police authorities

The Home Affairs Committee will hold a one-off evidence session on Tuesday 16 December to look at the Government's proposals to introduce directly-elected Crime and Policing Representations onto police authorities, the bodies that oversee police forces.

In its Report into Policing in the 21st Century, the Committee concluded that the public should have a greater say in holding their local police to account for performance but remained unconvinced that the Government's proposals as expressed in the Policing Green Paper would achieve this objective. Members also expressed concern that adding an additional layer of representation could undermine partnership working between local authorities and the police.

Further concerns have since emerged that extremist parties will target seats on police authorities to increase their local influence.

The Committee will take evidence from the Association of Police Authorities and the Local Government Association, who have been leading the campaign against the Government's proposals, and from Vernon Coaker MP, Minister of State at the Home Office, on the Government's position.

Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee said:

"We welcome the Government' aspiration to make the police more accountable to the communities they serve, but we would be concerned if this came at the expense of extremist parties gaining influence over the police."

"We have not had an opportunity to take evidence from the Local Government Association or the Association of Police Authorities since the release of concrete proposals for police authority reform in July. For this reason, we have invited Sir Jeremy Beecham and Mark Burns-Williamson to give evidence so that we can hear their concerns in more detail and consider whether we should make a further response to the Home Secretary."


At 11.45

€ Sir Jeremy Beecham, Local Government Association

€ Mark Burns-Williamson, Association of Police Authorities

At 12.15

€ Vernon Coaker, Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Security

Location: Wilson Room, Portcullis House, House of Commons