ONLY one public question has so far been submitted to the panel scrutinising Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer since he came into office.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) were first elected in November 2012 to replace police authorities, which the Home Office described at the time as “invisible”.
They look at the performance of the police in their area.
The PCC’s performance is regularly scrutinised at police and crime panels – mainly made up of local councillors – and meet regularly in public, but so far only one question has been asked at a public meeting.
This has led to national criticism from the Labour Party which says the current system of scrutiny is not working.
Police and crime panel (PCP) member and former police officer Cllr Alex Black said the panel had been working hard to get the public interested.
He said: “Since the PCP formed we have been trying to raise our profile with members of the public and as a result our public meetings are webcast and we have a Twitter and facebook account. We get quite a lot of hits on the webcast so people are watching.
“A lot of the subjects discussed are quite complicated issues to do with management. I wonder if perhaps people think what we are discussing is dull.”
The webcast is available on the Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) website and the only question which has been asked of the panel has come via Twitter.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer said even though there aren’t many questions at meetings, the public are engaging with him.
He said: “The Cheshire police and crime panel invites the public to engage with them regularly, through a variety of channels and I am aware of some dialogue between them.
“During the police and crime panel meeting, both myself and the Panel send messages via social media to inform the public what’s happening during the meetings. In addition, I hold regular surgeries across the county that are well attended.
“This indicates to me the public are communicating with me directly, and I with them. I am delighted the public of Cheshire is engaging with me in the way they are.
“My office is also receiving a significant amount of correspondence from the public every year.
“So far as Cheshire is concerned any suggestion the public are not engaging with the Police and Crime Commissioner is absolute nonsense.”
See full story in the Chester Leader