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Agenda and minutes

Items
No. Item

1.

Chairman's Welcome and Update

Minutes:

The Chairman extended a particular welcome to Kent Police Divisional Commander, Chief Supt. Adrian Futers and Insp. Gary Woodward, Dartford’s Community Safety Unit Inspector. He also welcomed the Deputy Leader of the Council Councillor Chris Shippam to his first Crime & Disorder meeting as Dartford’s representative on the Kent Police and Crime Panel (PCP), renewed his welcome to Councillor Ann Allen (Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Development) in addition to welcoming all new Members to the Committee.

 

The presence of the Strategic Director (External Services), the Enforcement, Regulatory Services and Community Safety Unit Manager and the Community Safety Manager was also noted and welcomed. Given the number of new Members to the Committee, the Chairman asked the Strategic Director to give a brief overview of the Committee’s work.

 

The SD (ES) advised Members that the role of the Crime & Disorder Committee and its operating parameters were set out in full in the Committee’s Protocol and Terms of Reference (ToRs) documents, attached to the Committee’s Annual Report for 2014/15 due for consideration later in the Agenda [Item 12]. The Annual Report gave a good flavour of how the Committee operated and the topics it considered, on both a statutory and non-statutory basis.

 

In brief, the primary role of the Committee was to review and scrutinise the impact on the Borough of the policies of the joint Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) and its constituent statutory bodies: Dartford Borough Council, Gravesham Borough Council, Kent Police, Kent County Council, Kent Fire and Rescue Service, Kent Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company and the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group. Whilst the CSP was a joint body, Dartford and Gravesham Councils had separate Crime and Disorder (Overview & Scrutiny) Committees, each concentrating on the CSP’s policies as they impacted on their respective Boroughs.

 

The Committee’s current Work Programme due to be discussed later in the Agenda [Item 11] contained two statutory elements. The Committee was required to consider the CSP’s Annual Strategic Assessment (SA) document at its February meeting and the consequent CSP Community Safety Action Plan for the next 12 month period at its July meeting.  The Committee had scrutinised in rotation, the contributions made by the CSP’s constituent statutory bodies to the objectives of the Partnership as a whole. However, scrutiny by the Committee was subject to agreed parameters. Members could, for example, invite Kent Fire & Rescue to make a presentation on how they worked (with CSP partners) to tackle the problem of deliberate fires on public open spaces such as Dartford Heath. However, it would not be appropriate for the Committee to scrutinise the approach, performance and resources devoted by Kent Fire and Rescue to fighting fires per se.

 

The Chairman noted that Colin Newmarch, former Enforcement Manager in Dartford’s Community Safety Unit (CSU) had retired since the Committee last met in February 2015. He asked that Colin’s significant contribution as Enforcement Manager for the Council and his contribution to the Committee and Members understanding of Enforcement issues, be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.

2.

Apologies For Absence

To receive any apologies of absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R Lees, D J Mote and A Sandhu MBE.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest from Members.

4.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 11 February 2015 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Minutes:

The Chairman noted that, given changes to the Committee’s compliment and the absence of Councillors that evening, he was the only Member present able to confirm the Minutes of 11 February 2015. He was content that the Minutes were accurate and proposed that the Committee approve them on that basis.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the Minutes of the Committee’s meeting held on 11 February 2015 be confirmed as an accurate account of those proceedings.

5.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.

Minutes:

The Chairman confirmed that there were no urgent items for the Committee to consider.

6.

To consider references from other Committees (if any)

There are no references from other Committees at present.

Minutes:

There were no references from other Committees.

7.

Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 June to 31 October 2015.

Minutes:

                        RESOLVED:

 

That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 June to 31 October 2015 be noted.

8.

Kent Police and Crime Panel (PCP)

At the Committee’s invitation, to receive a verbal update from the Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Chris Shippam, Dartford’s representative on the PCP.

Minutes:

The Committee received an update from the Deputy Leader in his role as Dartford representative on the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel (PCP).

 

The Deputy Leader advised the Committee that following his participation in the PCP meeting held on 2 June 2015; his first impressions were that the Panel appeared to have limited scope in which to properly question the performance of Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Ann Barnes.  The Panel comprised Councillor Representatives from all Kent District Councils, plus two Independent Co-optee members and was politically balanced. Mike Hill (Independent) had been re-elected as Chairman for the ensuing Parliamentary cycle.

 

The PCC had reported her new Chief of Staff to the Panel as Mr Adrian Harper, selected from three in-house candidates for appointment on a provisional basis, given that the continued role of PCC’s had been uncertain prior to the outcome of the General Election. Subsequent to the Election Mr Harper’s appointment had been confirmed on a long-term basis.

 

The PCC had also presented her Annual Report for 2014/15 to the Panel and highlighted the following points:

 

·         Victims were now placed at the heart of all policing processes in Kent with Kent Police regarded as leading the country in this new approach;

·         The ‘Track my Crime’ initiative had been well received by the public and judged a great success;

·         Kent Police’s recording of reported crime now stood at 96% accuracy following the inspection of the Kent Force by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in 2013/14. She noted that in comparison, figures for crime recording accuracy in other Forces were as low as 82%;

·         Some £300K of the Kent Police budget had been targeted for the [selective] use of body worn video cameras to help record crime and Police performance;

·         Operation ‘Athena’ an intelligence sharing strategy between Kent Police and neighbouring Forces (particularly Essex Police) was due to be rolled-out in the Spring of 2016;

·         The Kent Youth Commissioner had completed her contract in February 2015 with a creditable performance in adverse circumstances. However, the PCC had decided to widen her youth engagement policy and replace the Youth Commissioner post with a new Youth Advisory Group (YAG). Representatives from existing youth forums across Kent would be invited to participate in YAG which would be funded by the monies previously allocated to the Youth Commissioner post. Panel Members had encouraged the PCC to widen her proposed membership of YAG, to include disaffected and marginalised members of the Youth community more at risk of involvement in crime and ASB. Engagement with young people from the Gypsy and Traveller community had also been advocated by the Panel;

·         Only three (3) Complaints against the PCC had been heard by the Complaints Sub-committee in the period under review. None had been upheld;

·         Kent Police represented excellent Value for Money (VfM) returning the 4th lowest policing cost per head in the country

 

The Divisional Commander, Chief Supt. Adrian Futers expanded on the VfM point in the PCC’s Annual Report. He advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Performance pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To note the attached Performance report detailing crime statistics and public perception of anti-social behaviour (ASB) as discussed by the Dartford and Gravesham CSP on 11 June 2015.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a performance update report from the Community Safety Officer (CSO). Enclosed at Appendix A to his update was the Performance Report produced by the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) detailing performance in relation to levels of crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) recorded in Dartford and Gravesham for the financial year period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. The CSP report also compared the crime levels recorded in the period under review against anticipated levels of crime as provided by Kent Police.  The CSP Performance Report had been discussed and approved by the Partnership on 11 June 2015 and was presented to the Committee for information.

 

The Community Safety Manager (CSM) reminded Members that, previously, performance had been calculated by comparing levels of crime and ASB for a twelve month period against those recorded for the previous corresponding 12 month period. However, this method had led to a target driven culture and performance was now calculated by comparing levels of crime and ASB for the previous financial year period, against an anticipated level for crime and ASB for the same period, as calculated by Kent Police based on the previous five years of recorded crime.  Using this new comparative method, levels of crime and ASB in Dartford and Gravesham CSP had risen in comparative terms in nearly half of all crime types in the 2014-15 period under review. Conversely, Dartford & Gravesham’s performance as a CSP had actually improved slightly from 14th to 13th position, within its ‘Most Similar Group’ of CSPs [Appendix A agenda p. 19). 

 

The CSP had debated at length, the increases in Dartford’s crime and ASB levels and questioned what could be done to improve the Borough’s position against other areas in Kent. It was noted that significant changes to the recording of crime by Kent Police, allied to changes in crime categorisation by the Home Office, in particular for ‘offences of violence’, formed part of the explanation if not the solution in the consideration of Dartford’s increased levels of crime and ASB in the period under review.

 

The CSM advised Members that Kent Police now had the highest level of accuracy for recording crime in England and Wales at over 96%, following an inspection of their previous crime recording procedures by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in 2013/14. As a consequence, Dartford’s and Gravesham’s  figures for recorded crime and ASB had inevitably risen in the 2014-15 period under review and compared adversely with Kent Police’s estimated crime figures for the same period, based on crime data recorded in the 5 years prior to the HMIC inspection. However, the crime data for 2014-15 would provide an accurate base-line for the future calculation of estimated levels of crime and ASB for the CSP going forward. In this context; HMIC had inspected other Forces during 2014 (revealing crime recording accuracy levels as low as 82%). As those Forces adopted the same higher standard of recording practices as Kent Police (now known as the ‘Kent  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Community Safety Plan 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To note the contents of the Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Community Safety Plan 2015-16 (attached at Appendix A to the report) agreed by the CSP at its meeting on 19 March 2015 and comment accordingly.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee were asked to consider the Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Plan 2015-16 (attached as Appendix A to the report) and comment accordingly.

 

The covering report reminded Members that the Committee, at its meeting on 11 February 2015 had considered the CSP’s annual Strategic Assessment (SA) 2014 document. The priorities identified in the 2014 SA document, together with the views expressed by partner agencies within the CSP and elected Members, had been taken forward in to the Community Safety Plan for 2015-16. The Plan had been discussed and agreed by the CSP at their meeting on 19 March 2015. The Plan guides the work of all CSP partner agencies and ensures that the focus upon the Community Safety Partnership’s agreed priorities is maintained.

 

The Community Safety Manager (CSM) confirmed the following points and key areas regarding the 2015-16 Plan for Members:

 

·         The Plan was a statutory requirement strategically linked to the CSP’s 2014 SA document;

·         The Priorities identified in the 2014 SA remained the same as those identified in the previous year and had been incorporated into the 2015-16 Plan as combating - Anti-Social behaviour (ASB), Violent crime including domestic abuse (DA), Substance misuse (alcohol and drug-related), Property Crime (domestic burglary and theft offences), Reducing re-offending, Road Safety;

·         Kent Police statistics had been analysed  and distilled for the 2015-16 Financial Year prior to incorporation into the Plan;

·         Preventing Violent Extremism through the delivery of the Government’s Prevent Strategy, a key part of the Government’s CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy responding to the ideological challenge of terrorism and those promoting it;

·         Safeguarding Children – promoting their welfare and preventing child sexual exploitation (CSE) were major challenges which all local authorities had to get right;

·         Partnership Structures set out in the Plan [Agenda p. 30] were designed to ensure the CSP’s Priorities identified in the Plan were delivered and the performance and progress of the work undertaken by the CSP Sub-Groups effectively monitored;

·         Road Safety Group – the Group’s Speed Watch scheme undertaken by local resident on a voluntary basis continued to be effective in reducing speeding throughout the Borough. The Scheme had no enforcement powers but offending drivers were notified by letter sent by Kent Police that they had been speeding and persistent repeat offenders could be visited by Police Officers and formally warned;

·         Reducing Re-offending Group – a success for the Group was the voluntary tagging of re-offenders scheme. Funding had been given to the Group to enable offenders being released to have appropriate documentation to allow them to access services and benefits in an effort to reduce the likelihood of reoffending;

·         Drug & Alcohol Action Group – the Group had recently produced a local Alcohol Strategy following an action from the Health and Wellbeing Board, other actions had included the promotion of the  Needle Exchange programme to tackle the number of discarded needles (thankfully few in number) and combating the increased use of so-called ‘Legal Highs’.

 

The Lead Member for Enforcement & Community Safety noted the relationship between CSP’s Plan for 2015-16  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Members are invited to note the contents of the Committee’s draft rolling Work Programme for the current 2015-16 municipal year and beyond and comment accordingly.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report summarising the work undertaken by the Committee during the 2014-15 municipal cycle and a draft Work Plan for 2015-16 (attached as Appendix A to the report).

 

The Strategic Director advised Members that all the statutory bodies within the CSP had now made presentations to the Committee on their work. However, given the changes to the responsibilities of the Probation Service and the formation of the new Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) a presentation from the Kent Surrey and Sussex CRC would be a useful addition to the Work Plan in due course, once the CRC had settled into its role.

 

She suggested that a firm proposal for the next meeting of the Committee in February 2016 could be a review of the new Anti- Social Behaviour (ASB) powers now in force, following recent legislation changes. The new powers would have been in effect for some 18 months by February 2016 and CSU Officers would be asked to prepare a report for the Committee on how the new measures were helping combat ASB in the Borough.

 

Other possible topics discussed by the Committee for inclusion in the rolling Work Programme were:

 

(i)            A report on the PREVENT agenda to combat terrorism and extremism in the community [CSM/CSU];

 

(ii)          Safety Shop facility in Bluewater [Kent Police];

 

(iii)         Neighbourhood Watch – Sharing Best Practice [Kent Police]

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    That an updated Work Plan be presented to the Committee  at its next meeting in February 2016, reflecting discussion on 22 July 2015;

 

2.    That the Committee receive a report in February 2016 reviewing the use and effectiveness of the new powers available to local authorities and CSP partner agencies to combat Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and the outcomes of implementation of the new powers in the Borough.

 

12.

Committee Annual Report for the 2014-15 Municipal Year pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To consider the attached draft Annual Report and Appendices for the 2014-15 municipal year prior to submission to the General Assembly of the Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the Annual Report on its work during the 2014 - 15 municipal cycle for consideration and submission to the General Assembly of the Council (GAC).

 

The Chairman thanked the Committee Co-ordinator for compiling the document and all Officers for their contributions to the Committee’s proceedings in the period under review, with particular thanks to the Strategic Director for her continuing guidance and advice.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the contents of the Committee’s Annual Report for the 2014-15 Municipal Year be noted and submitted to the General Assembly of the Council.