The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 replaced the Police Authority with a directly elected Police and Crime Commissioner, with the aim of improving police accountability.
Each police force area must have a Police and Crime Panel to scrutinise and maintain a check and balance on the new Police and Crime Commissioner, although the Panel will not have direct control over the Police and Crime Commissioner’s decisions.
The Police and Crime Panel will have similar powers to an overview and scrutiny committee established in accordance with section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000, in that it will be able to require the Police and Crime Commissioner to attend public meetings; require information in the possession of the Police and Crime Commissioner; and make recommendations on the draft Police and Crime Plan (for which it is a statutory consultee) and expenditure proposals. The Police and Crime Panel will also have the ability to:
(a) Review and veto the proposed precept;
(b) Review and veto the decision to appoint a Chief Constable; and
(c) Review but not veto the appointment of various other senior staff.
In Kent, the Police and Crime Panel is a Joint Committee of Kent County Council, Medway Council and the twelve District Councils in Kent (of which Dover District Council is one). It will also include two independent members.