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Agenda and minutes

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies For Absence

To receive any apologies of absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S R Jarnell and R Lees and subsequently from Cllr. Mrs. Maria Kelly.

 

An apology for lateness was made by Councillor Mark Maddison who also confirmed that he had no declarations to make when he joined the proceedings.

 

The Chairman advised that the Strategic Director (External Services) Mrs Sheri Green was continuing to recover from her recent accident at home. Members joined the Chairman in wishing Mrs Green a speedy recovery.

 

Councillor Ann Allen MBE, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Development was in attendance by standing invitation.

 

The Chairman gave a special welcome to the recently appointed CSU Inspector Gavin Wade, attending his first Committee meeting and to the Dartford & Gravesham District Commander, Acting Superintendent Andy Gadd. He also noted the presence of the Community Safety, DTAC, and Licensing Managers and the Community Safety Officer.

2.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the term(s) of any of the Grant(s) of Dispensation.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made during the proceedings.

3.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 February 2018 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Minutes:

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the Minutes of the Committee’s meeting held on 21 February 2018 be confirmed as an accurate record of those proceedings.

4.

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 Members to consider.

5.

To consider references from other Committees (IF ANY)

There are no references from other Committees to consider at present.

Minutes:

There were no references from other Committees.

 

6.

Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 June 2018 to 31 October 2018

Minutes:

                        RESOLVED:

 

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

7.

Kent Police and Crime Panel (PCP) - Update pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To receive an update from the Chairman as Dartford representative on the PCP and to note the published Minutes for the Panel meetings held on 8 February and 25 April 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were asked to note the published Minutes for the Kent & Medway Police and Crime Panel meetings held on 8 February 2018 and 25 April 2018 [agenda pages 21-38].

 

In his role as Dartford representative on the Panel, the Chairman highlighted the following points for Members regarding the PCP meeting held on 25 April:

 

·         999 and 101 Service – the Police Commissioner had assured the Panel that measures were being taken to improve the Service and address the impact that the increased volume of priority 999 calls was having on the non-emergency 101 service. An additional 40 staff were being recruited to the Forces Control Room specifically to answer calls, plus a further 20 staff for the Incident Management Unit;

·         Public reporting of Crime – online reporting of crime by the public had increased by 11% and public reporting of road traffic collisions had increased by 60%;

·         Policing of Road Traffic – the Commissioner had expressed his fear that post-Brexit from March 2019, there would be significant challenges for Kent Police to face, given that 40% of all UK exports went through Dover. On that basis, the Commissioner had put a case to central Government for Kent to be considered as a special case for extra funding to meet increased road policing demands from March 2019;

·         Speedwatch - Panel Members had fed-back positively regarding the speedwatch scheme, with practitioners advising a noted improvement in their relationship with Kent Police;

·         Mental Health Update -  the Commissioner had welcomed the investment made by the Chief Constable to increase the size of Kent Police’s Mental Health Team,  with a further increase proposed as part of the uplift of an additional 200 Kent police officers during 2018/19.

 

In response to specific questions from Members the District Commander made the following points:

 

·         The recruitment of 40 extra staff to the Forces Control Room to improve the 999 and 101 service was an 18 month to 2 year programme, given the detailed vetting process involved to successfully recruit these staff;

·         Incentives were offered to specific officer cadres to remain with Kent Police, to help discourage transfers to the Metropolitan Force, but given the Met’s ongoing major re-structuring process, such transfers were now much less frequent.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

 

1.    That Members note the contents of the published Minutes of the PCP meetings held on 8 February 2018 and 25 April 2018 as presented in the Agenda papers (pages 21-38);      

2.    That Members note the additional comment and background provided by the Chairman concerning the Panel meeting held on 25 April 2018 as detailed above.

 

 

8.

Presentation by DBC Licensing Manager

To receive a presentation from the Licensing Manager, Joanne Philpott on the Council’s Taxi Licensing interactive training programme.

Minutes:

Members received a presentation from the Council’s Licensing Manager which detailed the key elements of a new and unique ‘workshop training day’ for new Hackney and Private Hire drivers and operators (and those renewing their licences) to operate in Dartford; provided jointly by the Council’s Licensing Team and the Kent Fire & Rescue Service (KFRS); following a multi-agency initiative in November 2017.

 

The training took place at the KFRS facility in Rochester and utilised the Service’s existing ‘Road Safety Experience’ training module, dovetailed with mandatory training modules from the Council’s Licensing Team, concerning Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE Safeguarding) and the ‘Prevent’ element of the Government’s Counter Terrorism measures.

 

The Workshop comprised two distinct sessions: in the morning the Council’s Licensing Team covered the mandatory training modules for ‘Safeguarding’, ‘Prevent’ and law and policy in an interactive session with drivers to enable them to obtain the required ‘credits’ for their licence. Following a break for lunch, the afternoon session from KFRS comprising a full Road Traffic Crash role play experience, tailored to meet the bespoke needs of the Taxi Driver audience. The final part of the day examined statistics for road traffic accidents, the consequences of those incidents, and how small changes in driving habits could make significant differences to the benefit of other road users. Taxi drivers were given the opportunity to ask questions of the Police, KFRS and Council Officers and asked to evaluate the training they had received.

 

Prior to November 2017; following the implementation of the 2017 Dartford Borough Council Taxi Licensing Policy earlier that year; new Taxi Drivers (or those renewing their licences to operate in Dartford) were provided with an information pack to study prior to undertaking a test. Feedback from drivers who completed that exercise was poor: they questioned the relevance of the information pack [to their daily job] and advised that their test answers were simply learnt ‘parrot fashion’ for the test.

 

In contrast, as part of the Workshop training, drivers were now shown a PowerPoint presentation during the morning session which looked at all areas of ‘Safeguarding’, ‘Child Sexual Exploitation’, ‘Human Trafficking’ and ‘County Lines’ [transportation of drugs by the young and vulnerable over long distances]. The presentation was run as an interactive session, in which drivers were asked for their views, to help give them the tools and knowledge to deal with these issues. The subsequent Policy and Legislation training was undertaken in a lighter ‘Pop Quiz’ format of multiple choice questions, with drivers holding up a letter which they thought correlated to the correct answer. The final element of the morning session covered the area of Prevent (Counter Terrorism) and ran through a number of case studies, adapted to make the material more relevant to drivers in both their work and home environments.

 

Following an initial pilot Workshop in February 2018, two additional training days had been held in May and July at the KFRS facility at Rochester with good attendance and very positive feed-back from the taxi drivers.

 

In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Dartford Town Against Crime (DTAC) Progress Report pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To note the attached report and Appendix recording the achievements of the D-TAC scheme in Dartford during the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The covering report from the Dartford Town against Crime (DTAC) Manager enclosed a progress report covering the operation of the scheme during the period 1 April to 2017 to 31 March 2018 [attached as Appendix A to the report].

 

The progress report and accompanying PowerPoint presentation covered the following principal areas:

 

·         Performance of DTAC by way of reports/information;

·         Crime statistics from Police.uk web-site;

·         Shop-safe radios and Council CCTV;

·         Policing of the Town;

·         DTAC finances;

·         New/Leaving DTAC members;

·         General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) / auditing of DTAC Disc

 

The DTAC Manager highlighted the following points in his presentation to Members:

 

·         Performance of DTAC via reports/information from DTAC Disc system – business members had continued to report to DTAC at a steady average rate of 89 reports per month during the year, with seasonal fluctuations noted during school holidays, adverse weather and the DTAC Managers annual leave cycle. Business membership had peaked at 74 in August 2017 and subsequently dropped to 61 in June 2018 equating to a 12% loss in membership. The number of users with access rights to DTAC Disc data had also fallen from a peak of 116 in January 2018 to 99 at present. Auditing of the membership and the new requirements imposed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) post May 2018 were seen as principal causes. The average number of log-ins to disc was 235 per month, but fluctuated for the same reasons as those pertaining to the submission of DTAC reports from businesses. The DTAC Disc ‘Alert’ system informed members of offences, crime methods and other matters of interest automatically, irrespective of whether members were logged onto Disc. Alerts averaged 4 (four) per month;

 

·         Reports of losses & recovery of goods to DTAC – in terms of value, recorded losses had increased steadily from £31.3K in 2016 to £55.7K in 2017 and a projected £58.9K in 2018. Similar increases had been recorded for recovered goods. The increases were seen as a reflection of the willingness of businesses to report matters to DTAC rather than an actual upward increase in trajectory for such losses and recoveries;

 

·         Crime statistics from the Police.uk web-siteLocal & Most Similar Town Groups: ‘Shoplifting within 1 mile of Town Centre’ had remained constant over the previous 12 month period with a seasonal ‘spike’ of 52 offences in December 2017 (the run-up to Christmas) preceded by a seasonal low of 22 in September 2017: on average 38.5 cases of shoplifting were recorded per month. Instances of ‘ASB, Public Order offences & Criminal Damage’ fluctuated with a seasonal peak in October and November (Halloween and Guy Fawkes’s Bonfire night) preceded by lower figures in the period July – September. The winter months and the particularly cold weather in February and March 2018 had had a drastic ‘positive’ impact on crime levels. However, the advent of finer weather from April onwards had seen a rise in these offences. The offences of ‘Violence against the Person, Robbery & Theft from Persons (Pickpocketing)’ were also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Update on the Review of Dartford's Safer Streets Policy

To receive an update from the CSU Inspector, Kent Police.

Minutes:

The District Commander and CSU Inspector, Kent Police advised Members that the current review of Dartford’s Safer Streets Policy remained ongoing and was not yet at the final report stage, but the following points/considerations would help form the new Policy:

 

Current Patrolling Strategies for Town Centre

 

A review conducted by the CSU Inspector over three consecutive week-ends of the current patrol patters had revealed that;

 

·         The main anti-social activity in the Town Centre from the Night-Time economy occurred after midnight;

·         Dispensing with patrols pre-midnight could free between 4 to 6 Officers for other duties;

·         Increased use of Special Constables to police the Night-Time economy could produce further staff ‘savings’ for re-location to other duties

·         Existing venues in the Town Centre operating as part of the Night-Time economy would be re-visited and re-appraised;

·         Existing hot-spots would be re-evaluated;

·         Liaison with British Transport Police would be increased to address the known problem of criminals from London and elsewhere in Kent and Essex commuting to Dartford station to commit offences in the Borough.

 

The following points were made by the District Commander, CSU Inspector and the Community Safety Manager, in response to specific questions from Members:

 

·         The CSM advised that an unforeseen consequence of GDPR  was that Kent Police could not furnish the Council [as a second user under the Act] with details of car owners who had committed parking offences with a consequent impact on the ability of Traffic Enforcement Officers to issue PSPOs;

·         The District Commander confirmed that Kent Police were fully aware of the potential impact on public confidence that withdrawing patrols of the Town Centre at the week-ends prior to midnight might have. Data from the current patrolling patterns was still being reviewed and public opinion to any proposed changes being gauged utilising social media, the CSU twitter feed account. Once the new patrol patterns had been confirmed Kent Police and the CSU would undertake a media campaign via the CSU twitter feed and the Police website to ensure that the public were made aware of the new proposals before they instituted.

 

The Chairman thanked the District Commander and the CSU Inspector for a valuable update and their positives responses to Members’ questions and concerns.

 

11.

EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that, under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) he was required to confirm that no members of the press and public were present in the Council Chamber prior to consideration of the Dartford & Gravesham Community Safety Partnership Performance Report for July 2018 [Item A in the EXEMPT agenda].

 

The Committee Co-ordinator confirmed for the record that no Members of the press or public were present and the Committee went into closed session.

12.

Performance - Dartford & Gravesham CSP Performance Report July 2018 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To consider the Quarterly Performance Report presented to the Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) at their meeting on 19 July 2018 [Item A in the EXEMPT papers].

Minutes:

The Committee considered in closed session, the Dartford & Gravesham Community Safety Partnership’s (CSP) Quarterly Performance Report - July 2018 (enclosed as Item A in the EXEMPT agenda papers).

 

The covering report from the Community Safety Officer (CSO) asked Members to note the contents of the July 2018 Performance report [EXEMPT Item A] which detailed performance in relation to recorded levels of crime and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in Dartford and Gravesham, as an indication of the CSP’s current position within Kent as a whole. The Performance report also highlighted key Community Safety activity that had been delivered in both Dartford and Gravesham, since the CSP had last met, as a means of monitoring the Partnership’s progress in addressing its strategic priorities.

 

The covering report also advised Members that the format for the July 2018 Performance report differed from previous reports, due to the various changes in crime data recording processes that had been introduced nationally. As a consequence; the data for recorded crimes in the period under review was not comparable to that for the corresponding period in the previous year; and any comparisons made between the two periods would be neither reliable nor useful. However, the new practices had not affected the recording of incidents of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and year-on-year comparisons for recorded levels of ASB were still valid. It was expected that year-on-year comparisons of crime rates would be possible [and relevant] from 2019-20 onwards. Whilst the Police crime data was incomparable year-on-year, work had continued within the Dartford and Gravesham CSP to improve access to data sets to provide insight to the risks the data was identifying, as part of the refresh process of the Partnership’s Community Safety Plan, including the additional priority relating to Nuisance vehicles including bikes, which had been identified through locally received information rather than Kent Police data.

 

In response to a variety of questions from individual Members concerning specific aspects of the July 2018 Performance report [EXEMPT Item A] the CSM and the CSO confirmed the following points:

 

·         CCTV Operator – report para 2.1.4 (agenda p. 128) - a grant of £38K had been secured from the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to recruit an additional CCTV operator on a 1 year fixed-term contract, with the intention to apply for a further PCC grant in 2019. The staffing addition had already helped to identify perpetrators involved in serious incidents through the use of CCTV footage;

·         Gang prevention Measures – para 2.1.4 (p.128) – a bid to the PCC for funding to support some Gang intervention work had been unsuccessful, as had a funding bid to the Home Office’s “Trusted Relationship Fund” (TRF). However KCC, who had submitted a County-wide Gang’s based bid into the TRF had been successful in progressing to the next round of the bidding process. If KCC’s bid was ultimately successful, it was hoped that Dartford would benefit under the County-wide criterion. An emerging issue appeared to be that of Gang members and their families being  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

2018 Refresh to CSP Community Safety Strategy (2016-19) pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To consider the 2018 Refreshdocument [attached as Appendix A to the report] which updates the CSP’s Community Safety Strategy (2016-19).

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report placed before the Committee the Dartford & Gravesham Community Safety Partnership’s (CSP) Community Safety Strategy (2016-19) 2018 Refresh document [attached as Appendix A to the report] for Member’s consideration and comment as appropriate.

 

At its meeting on 21 February 2018 [Min. No. 27 refers] the Committee had considered the CSP’s Strategic Assessment (SA) 2018 document. The priorities identified in the SA 2018 together with the views of partner agencies and elected Members, had been reflected in the Community Safety Strategy (2016-19) Refresh 2018 document and agreed by the CSP in March 2018.

 

Members welcomed the 2018 Refresh document, in particular the increased use of local knowledge by CSU Officers, including using feedback from residents and the local British Legion, which had resulted in the apprehension of 3 perpetrators in eastern Dartford involved in Nuisance bike offences and theft. The Mayor expressed his particular appreciation of the action taken by the Dartford CSU Inspector in this respect.

 

                        RESOLVED

 

1.    That Members note the contents of the Dartford & Gravesham Community Safety Partnership’s (CSP) Community Safety Strategy (2016-19) 2018 Refresh document [attached as Appendix A to the report].

14.

Committee's Rolling Work Programme for 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To consider the Committee’s rolling Work Programme for the current 2018-19 municipal cycle as set out in the draft Work Plan [attached as Appendix A to this report].

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report from the Committee Co-ordinator attached at Appendix A to the report, a draft rolling Work Programme for the 2018-19 municipal year for Member’s consideration.

 

Following previous discussion of ‘Gangs’ in the context of the CSP’s July 2018 Performance report [Min. No. 12 refers], Members confirmed that the Committee should receive a report on all aspects of Gangs and gang members currently operating in Dartford, or transferred to the Borough from London and other local authorities. Cross-border co-operation with other Police Forces and local authorities, the social implications of such Gang activity for Dartford residents, and the cost of measures to combat Gang activity in the Borough (including the provision of social care and housing) should also feature as elements in the report submitted to the Committee at its next meeting in February 2019.

 

Members also confirmed the proposal to receive a presentation from Kent Trading Standards in February 2019 which would concentrate on measures being undertaken to protect the elderly and vulnerable from fraudulent contractors and operators.

 

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members approve the draft Work Programme attached at Appendix A to the report with the additions outlined above.

15.

Crime and Disorder (O&S) Committee Annual Report 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider the Committee’s draft Annual Report 2017-18 [attached at Appendix A] and comment accordingly prior to submission to the General Assembly of the Council.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The covering report from the Committee Co-ordinator asked Members to consider a draft report [attached as Appendix A] on the work carried out by the Crime and Disorder (Overview & Scrutiny) Committee during the preceding 2017-18 municipal year and comment as appropriate, prior to submission to the General Assembly of the Council in accordance with the terms of its Protocol [attached as Appendix B to the report].

 

The Chairman thanked the Committee Co-ordinator for the 2017-18 Annual Report and for his support of the Committee during the preceding municipal cycle. Members echoed these sentiments.

 

                        RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the contents of the Committee’s Annual Report covering its work during the 2017-18 municipal cycle;

 

2.    That the 2017-18 Annual Report be submitted to the General Assembly of the Council as submitted in the agenda papers [pages 73-124].