To consider the proposed appointment of Mr Jeff Harris as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Panel will:
i. Put questions to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposed appointee for Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner; and
ii. Following deliberation later in the meeting, make a recommendation to the Police and Crime Commissioner as to whether or not the nominee should be appointed to the office.
The Chairman explained that, in accordance with Section 1 of the Police and Social Responsibility Act, the Panel had a duty to consider the proposed appointment of Mr Jeff Harris as Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (DPCC) for Surrey. The purpose of the hearing was to allow Members of the Panel to question Mr Harris to establish whether he had the professional competence and personal independence to carry our the role.
During the course of the question and answer session, Mr Harris clarified the following points:
· The key duties of the DPCC would be to support the Commissioner in his partnership work, supporting the process of engaging with key partners and stakeholders. He would also be responsible for undertaking and reviewing specific projects, as determined by the Commissioner.
· He saw the position of DPCC as a full-time role and, as a result, had given up his role with the Metropolitan Police. He would, however, be continuing his mentoring work with the Prince’s Trust.
· He saw his relationship with the Chief Constable as a ‘critical friend’ and, if appointed, he intended to work with the Police’s senior management team to, amongst other things, improve partnership arrangements.
· Whilst he acknowledged the financial constraints, he did not believe that partnership working required large sums of money to succeed. For example, he intended to explore business sponsorship opportunities, work closely with the third sector and encourage local communities to get involved.
· He had never been a Freemason or a member of any other society.
· He and the Commissioner had not worked together for many years and they had not been in regular contact during the interim. When invited by the Commissioner to become the DPCC, he had accepted on the basis that he believed he had the right skills and experience for the role, and that they would make a strong team. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner had been sensitive to the fact that the appointment could not be made until after the confirmation hearing, and all official press releases had therefore referred to him as the DPCC designate.
· He had not been a Metropolitan Police Officer for 8 years.
· Neighbourhood Policing was essential and junior Police Officers were integral to the process.
· The Commissioner would lead on key strategic issues such as domestic violence and rape. However, he was well aware of the importance of these areas of policing.
· It was acknowledged that there could potentially be occasions when he and the Commissioner held different opinions on a particular strategic issue, and he was happy to have full and frank discussions.
· He believed that, if appointed, he would bring a varied skill-set to the role. In particular he considered himself to be a good communicator, negotiator and someone with significant experience of developing successful partnerships to achieve common goals. He also believed that his experience of working at a senior level in Local Government gave him a good understanding of the wider role of the Police.
· Through his involvement with the Prince’s Trust he had significant experience of working closely with young people aged 16 to 25. He believed that this experience would be highly beneficial should he be appointed as DPCC, particularly as young people were a key demographic group that the Commissioner wanted to work with.
· Having been a serving Police Officer, it was only natural that he would have some desire to get involved at an operational level. However, he fully understood that, if appointed, he would be supporting the Commissioner in a strategic capacity and would respect the division between this and the operational aspects of policing.
· Had the position of DPCC been advertised and subject to a formal recruitment process, he would have applied.
· In terms of appraisal, the Commissioner would set his performance targets.
· Having been involved with Victim Support, both he and the Commissioner acknowledged the vital services it provided and would take this into account when determining where best to direct resources.
· Whilst he acknowledged that he would be a politician and not a Police Officer, he stressed that he was a-political and independent of any political party.
The Chairman thanked Mr Harris for his time and confirmed that the Panel would be deliberating in private at the end of the meeting. She explained that she would write to the Commissioner later that day with the Panel’s formal recommendation in relation to the proposed appointment.