Councillor Darren Cooper served as the Chair of the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel since its inception in 2012, doing so with great professionalism, determination, tact and humour. He was extremely well respected by his councillor colleagues and independent members, as well as administrative staff supporting the panel.
Jess Phillips MP says:
“Darren Cooper and I acted respectively as the Chair and Vice Chair of the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel when it came in to being. As the Chair he was always fair and did not let political allegiance get in the way of making sure that his job as scrutineer was done. He was committed to making sure that people here in the West Midlands were protected by our Police Force.”
“He was never afraid to confront difficult issues such as female genital exploitation and child exploitation. As a new councillor he was always there for me with words of wisdom and humour. The West Midlands has lost a great man, we will all miss him.”
Councillor Cooper had great respect for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioners, Bob Jones and David Jamieson. He took both statutory roles of the Police and Crime Panel equally seriously: to scrutinise and support the PCC. He also skillfully supported the transition to a new Police and Crime Commissioner when Bob Jones died in 2014 and the West Midlands became the first area to elect a new PCC.
Just last week, as he was reflecting on the changes made to policing governance in 2012, he reiterated his long held view that there had been no benefit in introducing PCC’s, but that it was incumbent upon him and the Panel members to make the existing system work as well as possible.
“There is no doubt whatsoever he accomplished this” concludes Councillor Ken Hawkins, current Vice Chair of the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel.
“On a personal level I didn’t know Darren until I joined the Panel this year and I got to like him from the start and was really looking forward to working with him in the next municipal year. Everyone connected with the Police and Crime Panel is shocked and saddened at hearing of Darren’s passing. He will be greatly missed and we send our deepest sympathies to Darren’s family, friends and colleagues.”
Edited 1 April 2016