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Agenda item

Chairman's Welcome and Update


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 recorded in the Minutes.