New members appointed to Police and Crime Panel

Two new independent members have been appointed to the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Panel.

Suma Harding and Christine Goldstraw were confirmed as independent co-opted members at the meeting of the panel on 3 December. Both appointments are initially for a temporary six month period.

Christine Goldstraw has chaired the Probation Trust Board since 2010, having previously chaired the Probation Service from 2004. She has also worked in voluntary roles, including as Governor and Chair of New College, Nottingham and has served as a Justice of the Peace.

Christine said, “The role of the panel is to act as a critical friend to the Police and Crime Commissioner and to scrutinise his strategies and plans to improve the performance of the Police and all agencies in tackling crime, its causes and effects.

“As I am from a non-political background, I believe I am in a much better position to ask the questions of the Commissioner that the general public would want to ask.

“Through my work in the criminal justice system, I have seen how crime has close links to social exclusion and the impact it can have on ordinary people. I am especially keen to see further measures brought forward to reduce re-offending rates.”

Suma Harding has been a Magistrate on the Nottingham and Newark Bench for the last 19 years and brings a wealth of experience of working in the criminal justice to the position.

Suma said, “Having worked as a magistrate for 19 years, I am able to give a voice to the victims of crime.

“I have a commercial background and have worked as a management consultant to the County Council on a variety of projects. My voluntary experience has widened my areas of expertise as I am involved with the homeless charity, framework and have been a business advisor for Young Enterprise.

“I am a guest lecturer at the Business school, Nottingham Trent University and have been a trustee for a national charity for disabled children.

“I have lived in Nottingham for 36 years and have local knowledge of the city which I hope will be invaluable in understanding crime and problems relating to offending. Coming from a dual heritage background, I appreciate the different cultures in the city and county.”

Christine and Suma were chosen from 14 applicants for the positions, five of which were shortlisted.

The Panel has been established to oversee and scrutinise the work of the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping. Its remit includes scrutiny of all major plans, projects and appointments put forward by the Police and Crime Commissioner, including a power of veto over the proposed budget and any appointment of a new Chief Constable.

The Panel is chaired by the Coun John Clarke, Leader of Gedling Borough Council. It is made up of representatives from the County Council (two members) all District and Borough Councils (one each) and Nottingham City Council (four members) - in addition to the two new co-opted members. Local authority membership is intended to reflect the population and political balance of Nottinghamshire council areas.

The Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan - which sets out priorities, objectives and areas of planned activity for Nottinghamshire Police for 2013-2017 - and crime and proposed disorder reduction grants will be discussed at the next meeting of the Panel.

The next meeting of the Panel takes place on 15th January (2pm) at County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham. Members of the press and public are welcome at all meetings of the Panel.