You can speak and ask questions at meetings of the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel. The panel scrutinises the work of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, covering the Thurrock area.
Your right to speak
At every ordinary meeting of the panel up to 30 minutes will be set aside for members of the public to ask questions of the chairman of the panel. You must not circulate written statements, documents or photographs at meetings.
Notice of questions
A question may only be asked if notice has been given in writing, including by email, to the secretary to the panel.
Questions must be received no later than 10:30am on the third working day before the day of the meeting. Each question must give the name and address of the questioner.
The chairman may exercise discretion and allow an urgent question to be asked, provided that written notice of the question is delivered to the secretary to the panel by 10.30am on the morning of the day of the meeting. The notice must ask the chairman to exercise discretion and say why the matter is urgent.
Any question received after the deadline, and not allowed as an urgent question, will be held over until the next ordinary meeting.
Number of questions
At each meeting no-one may submit more than 2 questions. No more than 2 questions may be asked on behalf of the same organisation. Where, in the opinion of the Chairman, 2 or more questions are in similar terms they will be grouped together.
Order of questions
Questions will be dealt with in the order in which they are received, except that similar questions may be grouped together.
Scope of questions
A question may be rejected if it:
- is not about a matter for which the panel has a responsibility
- does not affect the area covered by the Essex Police force and the Essex Fire and Rescue service
- relates directly to a police operational matter
- is defamatory, frivolous or offensive
- is substantially the same as a question asked at a meeting in the past 6 months
- will require the disclosure of confidential or exempt information
Notification of rejected questions
Notification of rejection will be given at the earliest opportunity, in the form in which the question was received. Reasons for rejection will be included.
An order paper that sets out all the submitted questions will be circulated to members, the public and the press at the meeting.
Only those questions appearing on the order paper, and supplementary questions, shall be dealt with at the meeting.
Asking the question at the meeting
The chairman will invite each questioner to put their question to the meeting. If the questioner is unable to be present a written answer will be provided in the form in which the question was received within 10 working days of the meeting.
An answer may take the form of:
- a direct spoken response
- a reference to a publication
- a written response
Where the question cannot be dealt with during question time because of lack of time it will be dealt with by a written answer. Only the panel member replying to the question is permitted to speak to the questioner.
A member of the public who has put a question in person may, without notice, ask a supplementary question. The supplementary question must arise directly out of the original question or the reply. The chairman may reject the supplementary question on any of the grounds above.
Withdrawal of question
Any question may be withdrawn by the person submitting it at any time before the question is answered.