Police panel snub: Hull City Council backs colleagues who refuse to sit on commissioner group
CITY councillors have backed a decision by its three representatives to withdraw from a new cross-Humber panel overseeing the work of police and crime commissioner Matthew Grove.
The panel is meant to be made up of councillors from all four local authorities in the Humber sub-region.
But Hull's three nominated councillors are refusing to take part, claiming its current make-up is potentially unlawful.
Now, a full city council meeting has voted unanimously to back their stance.
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There was also all-party support for the issue to be referred to Home Secretary Theresa May for a review.
Subject to her views, the city council may even consider a legal challenge.
Panel member Councillor Helena Spencer said the attitude of South Bank politicians towards Hull had turned a straightforward process into a complicated one.
In particular, she singled out councillors from North East Lincolnshire Council for stubbornly insisting on equal parity when guidance in the legislation covering the panels requires them to be politically and geographically balanced.
She said: "What should be a simple process has been wrecked, particularly by North East Lincs and by their attitude against Hull."
She said the current political make-up of the four councils meant the panel should have a Labour majority.
However, North East Lincs councillors have even voted against that, even though they are both Labour councillors.
Cllr Spencer said another determining criteria in appointing the panel was the respective populations of each council area.
"The recent Census has confirmed there are almost twice as many people on the North Bank than on the South Bank.
"Other indicators, such a crime figures and levels of deprivation, also weight heavily in favour of the North Bank and Hull in particular."
Lib Dem Councillor Mike Ross, who is also a panel member, seconded her motion supporting the decision to withdraw from unpaid positions on the panel reserved for Hull members.
He said: "If the rules are there for things to be done in a certain way we should be doing it that way."
Conservative group leader Councillor John Fareham said he hoped the wrangle could be sorted out soon.
"We need to be around the table as right-minded independent members of the panel.
"Having a set of nodding donkeys there is not part of the process and Hull needs to be a part of that process."
He said the panel needed to be able to challenge Mr Grove over issues such as his recent appointment of fellow East Riding politician Paul Robinson as his deputy.
"I find it surprising he did not appoint someone from the South Bank because appointing someone from the same very narrow geographical part of the sub-region does not send out the right message.
"This is the sort of issue the panel was set up to question."