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11 May, 2023

What Commissioner Zoë is doing to hold the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police to account

Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe

Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe was elected as Commissioner for North Yorkshire and York by the public on 25 November 2021.  

Her role is to be responsible for overseeing North Yorkshire Police services to ensure that they are efficient, effective, and responsive to community needs. This is a non-operational role that does not make decisions on the day-to-day running of North Yorkshire Police. 

The different responsibilities of a Commissioner and a Chief Constable are clear: 

Police Fire and Crime Commissioner   Chief Constable  
Makes sure that the views/needs of residents and businesses inform how our police and fire services operate.   Must deliver an effective police force and has direct control over the force, its officers, and staff.  
Sets the police priorities and decides how much money North Yorkshire Police will be given each year to operate.   Leads and makes decisions on all aspects of operational policing.  
Acts on behalf of the electorate to ensure that the Chief Constable is delivering effective policing service by holding them to account.   Is the most senior police officer in North Yorkshire Police.  
Elected into office.   Politically independent.  
Accountable to the public.   Accountable to the Commissioner.  

Holding the Chief Constable to account

In April Commissioner Zoe overhauled the way in which she holds the Chief Constable to account by taking a more robust approach to scrutiny. She published an Assurance Framework which outlines the multiple forums undertaken by Commissioner Zoë and her senior leadership team within the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, and details the extensive ways she monitors, evaluates and challenges North Yorkshire Police on behalf of the public. 

“As Commissioner my role is clear, to intensify scrutiny activity, challenge the areas that need improving and continue to be the advocate for communities who want their voices heard. I hope that by publishing this Assurance Framework it helps the public to have a clearer understanding of how this works on a regular basis.” 

Find out about all the ways Commissioner Zoe holds the Chief Constable to account here: www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/pfcc-scrutiny/   

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS)

HMICFRS reports are an inspection of North Yorkshire Police and not of Commissioner Zoë and the work of her Office (OPFCC).   

Commissioner Zoe welcomes regular inspections from HMICFRS because the reports are an independent and rigorous assessment of North Yorkshire Police which she can use to intensify the level of scrutiny required to ensure the Force are aspiring towards becoming an outstanding service.    

The latest HMICFRS PEEL inspection report for North Yorkshire Police was published in March 2023

“Unfortunately, I’m more than disappointed with other findings in the report and I’m sure members of the public will be too.  It’s unacceptable that North Yorkshire Police requires improvement in multiple areas, in particular its strategic planning, organisational management and value for money – clearly more needs to be done and is being done as I continue to hold the Chief Constable to account. Our Police Force needs to do significantly better.” – A snippet from Commissioner Zoe’s public response 

Read the public statement in full on the Commissioner’s website: www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/nyp-hmicfrs-peel-march-2023/    

Commissioner Zoe held the Chief Constable to account in a live online public meeting: https://bit.ly/PAM20March2023  

The latest HMICFRS inspection report into Child Protection Services for North Yorkshire Police was published in May 2023

“North Yorkshire Police have had a year to progress their action plan following the first HMICFRS report on child protection. My team and I were regularly assured that all concerns would be tackled head on and improvements made at a significant pace but instead, 12 months later, the force is not in the position I expected them to be in. Not enough has been done and there is simply no excuse – North Yorkshire Police have let the public and the most vulnerable in our society down.” – A snippet from Commissioner Zoe’s public response 

Read the public statement in full on the Commissioner’s website: www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/hmicfrs3may2023/  

Commissioner Zoe held the Chief Constable to account in a live online public meeting:  https://bit.ly/OPM-3May2023 

Following the recent inspections, Commissioner Zoe is seeking further assurances and more evidence-based information that will enable her to have greater confidence that North Yorkshire Police is performing as she expects it should be.  

Who scrutinises the performance of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner?

Every police force area has a panel, whose job it is to scrutinise the performance of the Commissioner. 

The role of the police, fire and crime panel is to maintain a regular check and balance on the performance of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. 

The North Yorkshire police, fire and crime panel covers York and North Yorkshire. It comprises ten elected representatives drawn from North Yorkshire Council and the City of York, in addition to three individuals that have been co-opted as independent “Community” Members. 

Its role includes: 

  • Reviewing the Commissioner’s proposals for the amount of council tax local people pay towards policing and fire and rescue. It has the power to veto these proposals if it considers the amount is inappropriate. 
  • Considering the Commissioner’s police, fire and crime plan and annual report/annual fire statement. 
  • Considering the Commissioner’s proposals for the appointment of a new Chief Constable and Chief Fire Officer. 
  • Considering non-criminal complaints about the Commissioner.