New style forums to hold police to account

The first in a new series of public forums will be held later this month as part of Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s promise to hold the police to account. 

At each forum, senior figures from Greater Manchester Police and other agencies will be quizzed on a particular topic of public interest.  

The format will be similar to the select committee process held in parliament, allowing for an in-depth investigation on issues which matter to Greater Manchester people. 

It’s one of a range of new measures being introduced by Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd to measure performance in a way that is accessible and meaningful to the public. 

The first forum will be held on how Greater Manchester Police deals with fraud cases. Tony chose this topic after being contacted by a number of members of the public, and Members of Parliament on behalf of constituents, about their experience as victims of fraud.  

Issues raised by these victims highlight feelings of confusion and frustration with their experience and led him to hold the forum on how fraud is reported, recorded and investigated. 

Tony will be joined by Altrincham and Sale West MP Graham Brady and they will question Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy and others on the subject. 

Tony said: “Holding the police to account is one of my key roles as Police and Crime Commissioner, and this new style of forum means we can look at issues of significant public interest and scrutinise them in a thoughtful and useful way. 

“The issues we will be looking have been prompted by Greater Manchester people getting in touch with me with their concerns, so the forums will allow us all to find out what the police have to say on these issues – and look at ways we can do things better. 

“I’ve chosen fraud as the first topic because of the volume of correspondence I’ve received. There’s a perception that the police don’t take fraud seriously. The forum will allow the Chief Constable to explain how GMP deals with fraud, and for us to explore ways of improving things. 

“I’m really pleased that I will be joined by Graham Brady to put the questions to the Chief Constable and others. Graham brings with him significant experience as a longstanding and highly-regarded Member of Parliament.” 

The forum will be held at the Salford Suite at Salford Town Hall, Swinton, at 2pm on Friday 16 August. Members of the public are welcome to attend. 

Please note, due to time constraints and the format of the forum, the aim of which is to allow Tony to hold the police and other agencies to account, members of the public will not have the opportunity to ask questions. 

Tony already holds a fortnightly public forums, where reports are presented and decisions taken. 

It’s intended these meetings will be held monthly, replacing one of the current forums. 

At the other forum a new type of performance report will be published each month. 

This moves away from the previous system under the former police authority of having targets and graphs – and an emphasis on presentation rather than substance. 

Instead the new reports look at what the key issues are, what crimes are going up, and which are going down, emerging themes and trends and – most importantly of all – what’s being done about it. 

Tony added: “This is intelligent monitoring for intelligent policing. Targets for policing can be pretty meaningless and more than a little insulting. Is it really acceptable to say it’s alright to have, for example, 10,000 domestic burglaries in Greater Manchester a year? Of course not – we don’t want to see any. But you can’t set a target for zero burglaries in the real world. 

“This new type of report instead takes an honest look at the emerging trends and means I can ensure, on behalf of the people of Greater Manchester, that police are taking effective action to drive down crime. 

“Accountability is incredibly important to ensure there is confidence in policing and I’m confident these new measures will make GMP’s performance more accessible to the public.”

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