Police tsar ‘not lazy’ after just nine decisions published

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ONE of the region’s crime commissioners has come under fire for publishing details of fewer than ten of his policing decisions since taking office in November.

Research by a police advice group has revealed that only a handful of the newly-elected crime tsars have published fewer formal decisions online than Shaun Wright of South Yorkshire.

As of yesterday only nine decisions had been posted on the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner website, compared with 41 by West Yorkshire’s Mark Burns-Williamson.

Julia Mulligan of North Yorkshire has published 48 while Humberside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove has published 22.

Ian Johnston, crime commissioner for Gwent in Wales, has published 94 formal decisions since November last year and is the most prolific of all 41 PCCs.

According to research by CoPaCC, which provides independent advice on policing and related services, only six commissioners have published fewer decision items as of last month than in South Yorkshire.

Police and crime commissioners, who replaced police authorities in being tasked with making sure local forces work effectively, are required to publish “a record of decisions of significant public interest”.

In South Yorkshire the most recent item published on the commissioner’s decision log was on March 27 over the appeals process for police staff dismissed from their jobs. Mr Wright this week announced the county would not merge its mounted section with West Yorkshire Police’s, but this was done via a Press release.

Penny Baker, Sheffield Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Community Safety, said: “While Shaun Wright doesn’t quite have the dubious honour of being the Britain’s laziest police chief, this research puts him pretty close.

“Local people will be left wondering what our local police commissioner actually does to justify his big-bucks salary.”

Bernard Rix, CoPaCC’s chief executive, said PCCs who published few decisions “are either not publishing their decisions, taking a narrow view of what decisions they should publish or are simply not as active”.

Tracey Cheetham, who was appointed by Mr Wright as his deputy earlier this year, said his decision log “does not disclose the full entirety of decisions”.

She said: “I have never worked with anyone so committed as Commissioner Wright. He works very long hours to ensure the communities of South Yorkshire are safe and decent places to live.

“Since the Lib Dem candidate came last in the PCC election last November, Sheffield Lib Dems have consistently attempted to undermine the role by making personal and contrived attacks on the Commissioner and his staff.”