Familiar faces on South Wales Police crime panel
THE new watchdog which will oversee the work of the South Wales Police commissioner has some familiar faces — including the leader of Neath Port Talbot Council and a former Swansea chief superintendent.
South Wales Police's police and crime panel is made-up of 12 members, a mix of councillors from the local authorities covered by the force along with independents.
And among the people sitting on the panel are Neath Port Talbot Council leader Ali Thomas, Swansea councillors Pearleen Sangha and Gareth Sullivan, and the former head of police in the city, Mel Jehu.
The panel has a range of powers, including reviewing commissioner Alun Michael's annual policing plan, dealing with complaints about the commissioner by the public, and vetoing his proposed council tax precept.
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Councillor Sullivan, said: "I am looking forward to being involved in the new panel — it has an important role to play in areas like finance.
"I know the commissioner wants to emphasise community links, and that is something the councillors will be able to do."
The panel met yesterday in Merthyr Council's headquarters to elect a chairman, with local councillor Ernie Galsworthy getting the hot seat.
The panel also agreed to hold its meetings in different local authority areas, with the next meeting — on January 28 — being in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Police commissioners were elected to every force outside London in November in the biggest shake-up in police governance in 50 years.
They replaced police authorities, which had been in control of force budgets and planning.
Former Penarth MP Mr Michael won the South Wales Police election, polling 66,879 votes.
The Labour candidate was short of a majority, meaning he went into a count of second preferences with the runner-up, former policeman and independent candidate Mike Baker.
The turnout across the force was 15.2 per cent, though that figure varied widely — in Swansea it was 12.8 per cent, while across Neath and Port Talbot it was 16.2 per cent.