Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry has faced questions about her future in the role after she admitted five speeding offences in court.
The independent chair of Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Panel, Christine Goldstraw, said the news was “a bombshell” and “deeply disappointing”.
Mrs Goldstraw, who served as a magistrate for 10 years, chairs the panel which supports and challenges Mrs Henry’s elected role.
The panel intends to raise questions on how the offences will impact on her “high-profile role where she is expected to set by example”.
But the panel says it does not have the authority to demand her resignation.
Mrs Henry has said she intends to explain more about the incidents “in due course” adding she did not want to comment further until the case is fully concluded.
The Home Office, which supports police and crime commissioners, said it is unable to comment as the case is ongoing as Mrs Henry will not be sentenced until July.
Mrs Henry (Con), 51, of Giltbrook, was elected as police and crime commissioner in May 2021 and is responsible for holding Nottinghamshire Police to account and overseeing the force’s spending.
She appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, May 3, after committing five speeding offences from March to June 2021.
The offences took place while she was campaigning to be the new police and crime commissioner as well as after she had been elected to the post.
Mrs Goldstraw said: “Obviously, I think for all of us, the news is a bombshell.
“Speaking for myself as the chair this is deeply disappointing, and I am shocked to hear the number of offences.
“Our next meeting is not until June and that will be the first formal opportunity that panel members will be able to put questions to the commissioner on how this will impact on her high-profile role.
“People in high-profile roles are expected to set by example. This is going to be a difficult time of reflection for her and the future going forward.
“The role of Police and Crime Commissioner is unique.
“They are elected on their own manifesto. We have no powers to require her to resign or sack her, but we are a long way off those discussions.
“Until the outcome (of sentencing) in July is known it is difficult to second guess.”
Serving magistrate Cllr Linda Woodings (Lab), who also sits on the police and crime panel, said: “It is really disappointing she has accrued five speeding offences in a 12 week period. Any person can miss a sign and get caught out but five is a different problem.
“She has made promises about improving the safety on Nottinghamshire’s roads. Is she a fit and proper person to be holding this office? That’s what needs to be asked at the next police and crime panel meeting.
“If I had accrued five speeding offences I would be expected to hand in my resignation to the bench, and if I failed to, I would be removed. Why does the same not happen here?”
Cllr David Mellen (Lab). leader of Nottingham City Council, has also spoken out over the news.
He said: “Having pledged to crack down on speeding and promised to ‘reduce crime with action, not words’ it is ironic that the Commissioner has been caught speeding five times, including twice near primary schools in Nottingham.
“There’s a reason speed limits exist around schools, it’s to protect the lives of children and keep them safe. Thankfully, no one was hurt in these offences.”
Cllr Kevin Clarke, leader of the opposition Nottingham Independent group at Nottingham City Council is calling for her resignation.
“She should resign immediately. Speeding is speeding,” he said.
The Police and Crime Commissioner is elected on a mandate she is going to stop crime in Nottinghamshire, but she is committing it.
“Five speeding offences in four months is a little bit too much for me.”
Mrs Henry has pleaded guilty to all five offences but the case could not be concluded on Tuesday, May 3.
She exceeded 30mph in Chilwell, near Olympia Sports Centre, on March 17, 2021, at 2.56pm. The speed recorded was 35mph.
She also exceeded the 30mph speed limit a day after on March 18, 2021, at 10.33am, on the A610 in Nuthall Road between Stockhill Lane and Bar Lane. The speed was recorded at 40mph.
She then exceeded the 30mph speed limit again on May 2, 2021, at 11.05am on the A6464 Woodside Road in Beeston. The speed was recorded at 38mph.
She then exceeded the 30mph speed limit near Burford Primary School in Oxclose Lane in Daybrook on May 27 at 8.33pm. The speed was recorded at 38mph.
Her last offence was on June 8, at 9.13pm, at Oxclose Lane in Daybrook where she drove at 35mph on a 30mph road.
However, her lawyer, Noel Philo, argued sentencing should be dealt with by a district judge and that two of the incidents should be challenged under ‘special reasons’.
If special reasons are proved, it could prevent some of a potential 15 points being added to Mrs Henry’s licence.
A total of 12 or more penalty points on a driving licence can result in a ban from driving of a minimum of six months.
The court heard in a written statement Mrs Henry was “embarrassed and ashamed” about the incidents.
She will have her case heard and sentenced in July.
In a statement following the hearing Mrs Henry said: “For technical legal reasons the court has constituted that they cannot deal with the case today.
“I cannot comment on the ongoing case. I will be explaining the context of this matter in due course.”