The Sussex Police & Crime Panel at its last meeting invited questions from members of the public to be put to the Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne.
One question posed was by Worthing Daily editor Alan Rice, who asked as a Worthing resident: “Should 20 mph limits be introduced in West Sussex residential streets (e.g. Worthing) will the policing of the limit be any different from the policing of the current 30 mph limits?”
Ms Bourne referred the question to Sussex Police as she judged the issue to be an operational matter and not a strategic one – as were a number of the questions posed. Cllr Sue Rogers of Horsham District Council requested the Commissioner to clarify the distinction between operational and strategic matters which the public found confusing. Katy Bourne agreed to do so.
For our readers guidance, the answer to the question given by Sussex Police in writing later was: “Essentially the answer to this query is no, the police will enforce all speed limits which are supported by a lawful traffic regulation order or enactment.”
The difference between operations and strategic matters came up again at Worthing Full Council on Tuesday when the Cabinet Member for Environment Cllr Clive Roberts was under fire over car parking issues.
Goring residents and traders asked questions as to why the car park behind Goring Road shops had been closed and without warning. Cllr Roberts said it was an operational matter and not one of strategy which is the Cabinet Member’s remit. To be fair Cllr Roberts did his best to answer the questions aided by a Council officer present but unfortunately not to the satisfaction of the residents and traders.
Earlier in the meeting Cllr Roberts apologised for misleading the Council in the April meeting, over whether he was Cabinet Member during the negotiation with NCP of the ‘Deed of Variation’ which led to the recent significant settlement. But again he stressed this was an operational matter and the timing of when reports were brought to Cabinet were in the hands of the officers.
Worthing Daily has every sympathy for residents who are confused by the distinction between operational and strategic and applaud the Police & Crime Commissioner’s promise to clarify matters.
We call on Worthing Borough Council to do the same – what is exactly the Cabinet Member’s responsibilities?
Where does the buck stop?