Agenda and draft minutes

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel - Thursday, 14th October, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Remote Meeting via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Diane Parsons  Email:

Note: Item 6a paperwork was provided to the Panel for information after publication of the Panel papers. 

No. Item


Welcome and apologies


The Chair reminded all present of the decision-making arrangements for the meeting as set out on the agenda frontsheet.  Following the expiry of the legislation permitting remote committee meetings in May 2021, the County Council resolved at its meeting on 5th May 2021 that in light of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic circumstances, remote live-broadcast committee meetings should continue, with any formal decision required being taken by the Chief Executive Officer under his emergency decision-making powers and after consultation with other officers and Members as appropriate and after taking into account any views of the relevant Committee Members.  As the Panel is constituted as a committee of the council, those present were reminded that the meeting was as such being held informally and any formal decisions required would be taken by the Chief Executive Officer under the terms advised.


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and outlined that it had not been possible to meet in person in a way that provided the appropriate level of Covid safety while also meeting the increasing interest in the meeting.  However, the Chair felt it likely that another meeting of the Panel would be needed before January 2022 and that this would be held in person if a suitable venue could be secured.


The Chair also conveyed that his thoughts and condolences are with the family of Sarah Everard at this time.


A welcome was extended to Martin Walker and Fraser Forsyth as the Panel’s proposed independent co-opted members.  Apologies were noted from Councillor Lindsay Burr.



Minutes of the Panel Meeting held on 22nd July 2021 pdf icon PDF 508 KB


Resolved – that the following be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for consideration under his emergency delegated powers:-


That the minutes of the meeting held on 22nd July 2021, having been printed and circulated, be taken as read and confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Declarations of Interest


Councillor Keith Aspden notified that he is a Member of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee and Fire Commission, and the NJC for Local Authority Fire Services.  Councillor Patrick Mulligan notified an interest in respect of his wife’s Chairmanship of IDAS; an organisation which receives funding from NYCC, City of York Council and the OPFCC.  An interest was also declared on behalf of Martin Walker, in his absence, in relation to being a Trustee of IDAS.


Appointment of independent co-opted members to the Panel pdf icon PDF 312 KB

Report from the Panel Secretariat.


Considered –


The report of the Panel Secretariat regarding the process undertaken to recruit the Panel’s two independent co-opted members, including a verbal update recommending  the Panel’s approval of Martin Walker and Fraser Forsyth.


It was highlighted in the verbal report provided that Martin and Fraser had been outstanding candidates during the recruitment process, bringing valuable skills and experience around potential ‘gap’ areas for the Panel such as criminal justice and victim support.  Both candidates were invited to introduce themselves.  Due to technical issues, Martin Walker was unable to join for this item.  Fraser Forsyth provided a brief summary of his professional experience.


The Panel was asked to approve the appointment of both Martin Walker and Fraser Forsyth.


The Chair also thanked the small working group of Panel Members who assisted during the recruitment process.


Resolved – that the following be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for consideration under his emergency delegated powers:-


That Martin Walker and Fraser Forsyth are appointed to the Panel as independent co-opted members for a four-year term from 14 October 2021.


Public Questions or Statements to the Panel

·     Any member of the public, who lives, works or studies in North Yorkshire and York can ask a question to the Panel.  The question or statement must be put in writing to the Panel no later than midday on Monday, 11th October 2021 to Diane Parsons (contact details below). 

·     On 14th October, the time period set aside for asking and responding to all questions will be limited to 30 minutes. No one question or statement shall exceed 3 minutes.

·     Please see the general rules regarding Public Question Time at the end of this agenda page. The full protocol can be found at


[Martin Walker joined the meeting during this item, following technical issues]


Gwen Swinburn delivered the following statement to the Panel:


“In spite of the confidence in our police and fire service top management, recent events give cause to look at our governance and assurance.  I am deeply concerned with the complexity and firewalls between this Panel, the PFCC, Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer and, most concerningly, the so-called Independent Audit Committees, whose role should be front and centre, very visible and involving members of this Panel.  The entire governance framework is confusing, outdated, not transparent enough and not fit for our current purpose in my view.  I have written to the Panel separately to lodge some more detailed and initial concerns.


“I also have to address the role of this Panel which understandably has come under some recent scrutiny.  We cannot get away from the fact that both of the controlling parties have only men here, despite plenty of talented women among their ranks.  It’s far more than bad optics, especially now.  It does need addressing.


“I am asking, Chair, whatever happens, an independent-led root and branch review of every aspect of governance of our PFCC’s police and fire services is commissioned at pace.


“Finally I read with horror the views of the PFCC’s staff as leaked to the media last night and the PFCC’s complete denial.  This is gut-wrenching after what they went through with his predecessor.  We need to thank them for their bravery and for bringing this to the attention of all of us.


Finally to Mr Allott.  As repugnant as your initial remarks were, it is your behaviour ever since that tells all.  This letter, the final straw, means you have to do the one decent thing available to you now which is resign.  Thank you, Chair.”


The Chair acknowledged the concerns raised and advised that the Panel will work towards getting the assurance sought for the Panel, with a report back at the next meeting.


Susan Galloway submitted the following questions to the Panel, which were read out on her behalf:


“Is the Panel satisfied that in-depth background checks are done on (a) new recruits and (b) those police officers transferring in?  If those checks show up any concerns what action is taken by whom and to whom are they reported, and how are those actions recorded?”


Simon Dennis was invited to help respond to the questions by outlining in detail the vetting process undertaken for new recruits and transferees, and it was confirmed that all staff, officers and volunteers undergo a form of vetting.  Some roles require a higher level of clearance.  Checks on transferees are enhanced by a more in-depth process and concerns emerging during vetting are escalated.  The vetting manager can conduct a vetting interview but also can opt to reject an application as a fail without interview, depending on the concerns. 


Councillor Grogan asked as a supplementary how spent convictions are dealt with in relation to police officer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 541.


Complaints Raised with the Police, Fire and Crime Panel (October 2021) pdf icon PDF 475 KB

Report from the Panel Secretariat.

Additional documents:


Considered –


The report of the Panel Secretariat, outlining the nature and volume of the complaints received directly to date by the Panel in respect of remarks made by the Commissioner following the death of Sarah Everard; and seeking Panel’s agreement on handling of those complaints through informal resolution.


Diane Parsons highlighted that 121 complaints had been received by the Panel to date and outlined the nature of the underlying concerns and expressions of anger within the complaints received.  Excerpts of complaints were read out to the Panel by way of further illustration.  Many complainants had felt Mr Allott’s remarks to be “victim blaming” and that his subsequent apology had not sufficiently demonstrated an awareness of having been wrong in his views and comments.


The Panel’s powers in respect of complaints handling were outlined in full, with amplification from the NYCC Monitoring Officer.  The Panel were asked to consider whether to deal with the complaints in the meeting, whether to defer to a subsequent Panel meeting or whether to opt to take the complaints at a meeting of the Complaints Sub-Committee.


Resolved – that the following be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for consideration under his emergency delegated powers.


That the Panel considers the complaints raised at the Panel meeting of 14th October 2021.




The Chair then invited the Commissioner to speak to the complaints that had been raised regarding his conduct. 


The Commissioner provided a detailed statement in which he sought to amplify his apology regarding the interview with BBC Radio York and outlined further training that he is seeking to better understand violence against women and girls.  He also highlighted initiatives that he is leading on in this regard and illustrated with examples of correspondence from leading women’s / victim support charities who have offered to provide further briefing and training to the Commissioner.  The Commissioner invited the Panel to acknowledge his commitment to learning and making progress for victims; particularly as it would enable continuity on important work such as development of the Police and Crime and Fire and Rescue Plan.


The Chair highlighted the Panel’s frustration at the weakness of the complaints process; a point which has been made in previous years to the Home Office and which he intends to communicate again.  He also expressed the view that there should be a power of recall as for other public figures such as MPs and that he intends to write to the Home Office on this point.  The Chair conveyed that while he welcomed the initiatives outlined or planned by the Commissioner, they did not address the volume of complaints, the hurt and anger expressed by many.  He advised that having taken soundings across the County Council, whom he represents, confidence in the Commissioner has been lost and it was felt his position is untenable.


The Chair then opened up the discussion to other Panel Members.  The key points conveyed can be summarised as follows:


·       the Commissioner was challenged as to why  ...  view the full minutes text for item 542.