New crime panels being set up across the region will contain up to 70 per cent of the members of the police authorities they were designed to abolish, with critics condemning the controversial policy as an unnecessary waste of tens of millions of pounds.
The crime panels are being created in every force in England and Wales next month, alongside newly elected commissioners, to replace police authorities, in what is being billed as the biggest change to policing for a generation.
The Yorkshire Post has learned, however, that seven out of 10 existing police authority members will sit on the new Humberside panel, with eight out of 14 sitting on the West Yorkshire panel and six out of 10 sitting on the South Yorkshire panel.
Only North Yorkshire represents a dramatic shift, with just two out of 12 new panel members being on the current police authority.
With the new crime panels able to wield the power of veto on commissioners’ proposals, including appointing chief constables and setting the police precept – the same as existing police authorities – critics say millions is being wasted merely creating “an added layer of bureaucracy”.
Hull East Labour MP Karl Turner said: “It is no surprise that 70 per cent of Humberside’s new crime panel is made up of ex-members of the police authority.
“These figures undermine claims by the Government that crime panels do not replace police authorities. This costly political project is the wrong priority at the wrong time. The millions spent could pay for 3,000 extra officers”
Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday said the new Police and Crime Commissioners will allow victims a greater say in the punishment of people responsible for antisocial behaviour.
She also criticised Labour’s candidates for the new roles, including Lord Prescott who is campaigning in Humberside, describing them as “Lord Prescott and the Has Beens”.