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Home Secretary Michael Howard has appointed the first group of people to sit on police authority selection panels....
Home Secretary Michael Howard has appointed the first group of people to sit on police authority selection panels.

The new authorities will include independent members for the first time, who will sit alongside local councillors and magistrates.

They will be selected for their skills and experience from a variety of backgrounds and the contribution they can make to providing a local police service to meet local needs.

The independent members in each police area will be chosen by local selection panels made up of three people: one chosen by the Home Secretary, one chosen by existing members of the police authority and one chosen by the other two.

The panel will choose a short list of twenty candidates from which the Home Secretary will pick ten. The councillor and magistrate members of the new police authority will then make the final choice.

Police authorities are to have 17 members made up of 9 councillors, 5 independent members and 3 magistrates.

The Home Secretary can provide for larger police authorities. This is done by an order under the Police and Magistrates Courts Act 1994.

He has approved an increase to 19 members for:

Devon and Cornwall, to take into account the isles of Scilly;

Dyfed-Powys, because of the large geographic area of the authority; and

Greater Manchester, to allow all 10 relevant councils to be represented on the new authority.

Membership of a 19 member police authority will be 10 councillors, 6 independent members and 3 magistrates.

New police authorities will be set up under Section 3 of the Police and Magistrates Courts Act 1994 in November. They will be independent organisations able to obtain revenue from their local authorities.

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