Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Tories and Labour reject plan for new police overview committee - to save time!

Brighton and Hove Council's Tory and Labour groups have come together to reject a Green Party proposal to set up a new scrutiny committee to hold the police and fire and rescue service to account - saying their councillors are too busy to sit on it!

As the Greens' policing spokesperson, I proposed the new committee at last week's full council meeting, during a discussion of new legal requirements to set up a Crime and Disorder Committee for the city.

Labour and Tory councillors agreed with me that it wouldn't be right for the existing Community Safety Forum - an informal space for community and neighbourhood groups to raise safety and crime issues - to play the role.

But they said their councillors were too busy (that's 'member overload' in council speak) to expect them to sit on a new committee, and instead agreed the already overworked Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee could do the job without needing any more meetings or officer support.

There are lots of different organisations in the city working to reduce crime and improve safety in the community – including the council, local police and East Sussex Fire and Rescue service.

Making sure they work together effectively is absolutely vital - we can't just not do it because some councillors are too busy or too lazy! If that's how they feel, I don't underdstand why their councillors don't just resign, really (as Tory councillor Paul Lainchbury looks like he'll have to after claiming thousands in allowances but never turning up to committee meetings).

Plenty of others are up for the job, after all.

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