Global progressive policing

Transparency: Offices of Police and Crime Commissioners (OPCCs) recognised for excellence

Bernard Rix, CoPaCC Chief Executive and Publisher of Policing Insight, provides details of today's event to recognise OPCCs for meeting their statutory requirements on openness and transparency.

“The public need independent, consistent and clear information on the performance and activities of their PCC. Transparency is essential to promote confidence in the elected PCC. A consistent minimum amount of evidence will also allow the public to compare the performance of their PCC with PCCs elsewhere.” – Home Office

PCCs, their Chief Executives and representatives from their offices gathered earlier today for a presentation of this year’s CoPaCC OPCC Transparency Quality Marks. Hosted by the leading police assurance provider Grant Thornton, attendees heard from speakers including Richard Thomas from the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Policing Insight will be publishing Richard Thomas’s presentation later this week.

CoPaCC first reviewed PCCs’ ability to meet their statutory transparency responsibilities one year after the first PCC elections, with a CoPaCC Thematic published in November 2013. As CoPaCC’s Chief Executive, I subsequently gave evidence on our Thematic’s findings to the Home Affairs Select Committee, where the Chair of the Committee suggested that CoPaCC might act as “a national register that just collates all this information together”.

Our original November 2013 Thematic sought information from OPCCs through a formal Freedom of Information request – the only time that CoPaCC or Policing Insight has ever used an FoI. Since then, we have deliberately NOT used FoIs to gather this type of information, as we recognise that FoIs create an additional – and, in this case, entirely unnecessary – burden on recipients. Instead, each year we simply invite each OPCC to provide us with details of how it meets the current statutory transparency requirements. We then undertake our analysis of the material we receive, along with our own desk research, and publish the results. 

The thirteen OPCCs awarded the CoPaCC “OPCC Transparency” Quality Mark today – photographed below with (seated at front, left to right: Richard Thomas of the Committee on Standards in Public Life; Bernard Rix, Chief Executive of CoPaCC; Paul Grady, Head of Police, Grant Thornton) – were:

  • Norfolk
  • Cleveland
  • West Midlands
  • Gwent
  • Hertfordshire
  • North Wales
  • Suffolk
  • Gloucestershire
  • Leicestershire
  • Warwickshire
  • Avon & Somerset
  • Surrey
  • Nottinghamshire

Further OPCCs who have also achieved the transparency quality mark will be announced, and presented with their award, during December 2016.

Paul Grady, Head of Police for Grant Thornton who hosted the event, commented that “Transparency is an essential part of the democratic process. For the public to be able gauge how successful their PCC is in delivering their electoral mandate, they need access to information that is accessible, easy to understand and fit for purpose. We congratulate all those who have been successful in meeting the standards required.”

For my part, these OPCCs have all demonstrated that they are transparent in what they do, meeting relevant legal requirements. They present key information in an accessible format on their websites and I congratulate them all on their good work. I look forward to what I trust will be continued excellent work by each and every one of them in this area.

Bernard Rix
Publisher, Policing Insight

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