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Agenda item

CSP Performance Report

Minutes:

The covering report from the Community Safety Manager (agenda Item 12) asked the Committee to note the contents of the Dartford & Gravesham Community Safety Partnership’s Quarterly Performance Report - June 2017 (attached as Item A in the EXEMPT papers) which detailed performance in relation to levels of crime and disorder and anti-social behaviour (ASB) recorded in the Boroughs of Dartford and Gravesham. The Performance report had been discussed by the CSP at their meeting on 22 June 2017.

 

The Community Safety Manager (CSM’s) covering report advised Members that the format of the CSP’s Quarterly Performance Report for June 2017 differed from that of previous documents. Performance was now being compared with that of the prior Quarter, rather than the corresponding Quarter in the prior year, as before. The June 2017 report covered the final Quarter of the 2016-17 financial year and compared performance to the prior Quarter [October–December 2016]. The June 2017 report also utilised the revised set of performance indicators (PIs) set-out in the CSP’s 2016-19 Community Strategy and subsequent 2017 Refresh documents [Min. No. 14 refers].

 

The new PIs were more reliant on data from partner agencies than in previous years and this had led to some difficulties over differing reporting periods for individual agencies, the frequency data was collected by individual agencies and the subsequent availability of the data to CSUs and CSPs. Some of the data was taken directly from front-line recording systems; rather than the audited figures released to the public; and were therefore subject to an ‘obligation of confidence’ by recipients. The new PIs were used by CSPs across Kent and marked a departure from the traditional Police-led statistics of previous years, by adopting a range of alternative measures to demonstrate progress in tackling risk, harm and improving quality of life for residents.

 

However, there was no standard dataset and CSU Officers had to make individual enquiries to partner agencies to obtain the information each CSU and CSP required. This data gathering process had been identified as an area in which efficiency could be improved, if a collaborative request was submitted by KCC or by CSUs jointly, and this proposal would be pursued by CSMs when they met at County level.

 

The Dartford and Gravesham CSP continued to work at County level to improve both access to data sets and more importantly, obtain insights into what risks the data identified. The importance of that policy had been underlined by the publication of a recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) entitled - Kent Police: Crime Data Integrity Inspection 2017. The HMIC report [subject to embargo when the CSM’s report had been written] had raised concerns over crime recording and data gathering by Kent Police. The findings of the report had obvious implications for data gathering by individual Community Safety Units and Community Safety Partnerships across Kent, as addressed elsewhere in these Minutes.

 

The CSM highlighted the following points for Members from the June 2017 Performance report [EXEMPT Item A] prior to taking questions:

 

·         The June 2017 Performance report provided data from Kent Police for recorded crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) and statistics provided by other partner agencies made available to CSPs through the Kent County Council’s Community Safety Portal;

·         The Quarterly Performance reports supported the CSP’s annual Strategic Assessment and Action Plan process by providing quarterly updates which focussed on the most current data to better identify any emerging trends and patterns;

·         The data provided by the KCC Community Safety Portal was not Dartford centric and was submitted without any contextual analysis;

·         The data showed a slight decrease for overall crime for Dartford in the Quarter under review, in contrast to a small increase in overall crime recorded for Kent;

·         The ‘iQuanta Bar Chart MSG (3 months) – Crimes per 1,000 population’  [Agenda p. 140] of the EXEMPT document listed increases in crime for the 15 Most Similar CSP’s in Dartford’s Group, but gave no analysis of, or context for, the data;

·         The ‘iQuanta Bar Chart’ showed that rates of crime per 1,000 of the population for Dartford (based on the latest Quarter) remained the highest for any Kent District and 13th highest out of the 15 CSPs in Dartford’s Most Similar Group (MSG);

·         The corrective action taken by Kent Police to record crime following the publication of the HMIC report in March 2017 was seen as a primary cause for the rise in Dartford’s crime compared to other CSPs in their MSG;

·         Positive developments in the Quarter under review had been the formation of a new Vulnerability Forum and the holding of 3 workshops in March 2017 to address Human Trafficking. 

 

Members expressed their concern over the HMIC report findings. Both in the current context and historically, given that Kent Police had consistently cited the high accuracy of the recording of crime by the Force; the so called ‘Kent Test’ established by HMIC following their inspection of Kent Police in 2013; as the reason for Dartford’s high crime rate and poor performance within the context of its Most Similar Group of CSPs. The findings of the latest HMIC inspection report contradicted this theory, and some Members questioned whether the Committee could have any confidence in crime data produced by Kent Police since 2014 and going forward.

 

The CSU Police Inspector acknowledged the concerns and frustrations of Members. Concerns shared by Kent’s Chief Constable who had reacted positively and swiftly with measures to address the findings of the HMIC report. The new measures would be relayed to CSUs, CSPs and Members in due course.

 

In response to further specific questions from Members he advised the following:

 

·         The fact that Dartford had the worst crime rate per 1,000 of the population [June PR para 2.2] did not mean Dartford was given a correspondingly high number of Police Officers to re-dress the situation. Rural District Authorities [with lower crime rates than Dartford] required an equal number of Police Officers, because of the greater area that had to be covered. However, crime rate was a factor in the dispersement of Kent Police resources;

 

·         He expressed the hope that Members would retain their confidence in Kent Police’s recording of crime; despite the adverse findings in the HMIC March 2017 inspection report; given that the Chief Constable had already introduced a variety of measures to address specific failings identified by HMIC, including the appointment of a fully trained Crime Recording Registrar;

 

·         The Chief Constables positive leadership and actions had achieved a significant rise in Kent Police’s recording of crime, now up to 93% from the low of 83% recorded by HMIC in March 2017. It was hoped the figure  would increase further to the 96% recorded by HMIC in their 2013/14 inspection of Kent Police;

 

·         He asked Members to note that only 1 Police Force in England had passed the latest 2017 round of HMIC inspections. There had been changes in the Home Office ‘rules’ for recording crime since 2013/14 with particular crime types (especially those against the person) impacted by the changes more than others. An example was given of a single person swearing in public had to be recorded on a multiple basis, defined by the number of persons present at any given incident. These new multiple crime recording requirements; added to the fact that Forces could no longer ‘cancel’ crimes previously recorded [but on investigation not committed] without obtaining additional verifiable information (AVI); had the  propensity to severely distort crime figures, and Forces were now expressing their concerns about these changes;

 

·         The current crime reporting model did not allow for the separating out of multiple crime incidents to better inform CSUs and CSPs of underlying and emerging crime trends, to maximise the use of their resources and properly inform their Community Safety Strategy and annual Refresh documents;

 

·         The CSU Inspector and his 3 Sergeants scrutinised all crime reported in Dartford, but did not claim to be expert in the field of crime recording. Members might wish to consider requesting a presentation from a Kent Police crime data expert, to a future meeting of the Committee;

 

·         The Community Safety Manager supported the proposal to have a Kent Police or KCC crime data expert attend a future meeting of the Committee. There was a need to drill down into the current data for recorded crime and establish the integrity of the current figures, given the ongoing operational implications for Dartford’s CSU resources. 

 

The Chairman and Members welcomed the proposal to invite either a Kent Police or KCC crime data expert to address a future meeting of the Committee. Local authorities needed to be aware of the context and underlying themes surrounding increases in locally recorded crime and what impact new national strictures for crime recording were having on those increases. Recorded crime data needed to be properly analysed and put into context at the local level to enable individual CSUs and CSPs to effectively deploy their resources in a planned and strategic fashion, to address crime in their areas, including the assessment of emerging trends and spikes in existing criminal activity. 

 

                                    RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the contents of the Dartford & Gravesham Community Safety Partnership’s Quarterly Performance Report (June 2017) as attached at EXEMPT Item A in the Agenda;

 

2.    That a presentation by a KCC or Kent Police crime data expert be added to the Committee’s Work Plan for the remainder of 2017-18.