First police crime panel meeting

The first meeting of the Sussex Police and Crime Panel will be on Monday (November 26), just days after the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner for East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton & Hove.

The Panel’s job will be to support the newly appointed Commissioner Katy Bourne, fielded by the Conservative Party.

She beat Liberal Democrat, Labour, Independent and UKIP candidates for the new role. The Commissioner replaces the former Sussex Police Authority.

Until now there has been a Shadow Police and Crime Panel, chaired by West Sussex County Councillor, Brad Watson OBE. From Monday it will lose its ‘shadow’ status and the Panel will start work.

The Panel includes councillors from each of the 15 local authorities in East and West Sussex, plus two independent members. For West Sussex County Council the Members are Brad Watson and Andrew Smith.

One of its first tasks is to review the new Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan. However although it cannot veto Mrs Bourne’s budget, it can exercise control over the amount she wants to raise from council tax.

“For many months we have been doing a lot of work before ‘going live’ and we are delighted we can now begin officially,” said Brad.

“We will be holding the new Commissioner to account, to ensure public accountability and transparency. However our first job will be to appoint a chairman and vice-chairman of the Panel until next June. Then both post holders will be chosen annually by members.”

The new Commissioner will be invited to attend the first meeting to outline her vision for the new role. The aim is to hold the Chief Constable to account, however the new post plays no part in day to day police operations. Mrs Bourne will hold the post for three-and-a-half years, after which the post will be elected every four years.

The Panel meeting, which is open to the public, will take place at East Sussex County Council in County Hall, Lewes at 10.30am, where all future meetings will be held. It will be webcast. It can be viewed live at and a recording will be stored on East Sussex County Council’s website for six months. The next meeting will be on January 11.