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Agenda item

Dartford Town Against Crime (DTAC) Progress Report: July 2018 to July 2019

To note the attached report recording the achievements of the D-TAC scheme in Dartford during the period 1 July 2018 to 1 July 2019.

Minutes:

The covering report from the Community Safety Manager (CSM) set out for Members the background to the current Dartford Town Against Crime (DTAC) operation, including the following key elements:

 

·         DTAC  operated to support the aims of both the Dartford Town Centre Partnership and the Dartford & Gravesham Community Safety Partnership, but with its own terms of reference, Board of Management and Steering Group;

·         DTAC promoted the concept of a safe and secure town centre, and enabled partners to adopt a proactive approach to identifying, target and focus on the most serious, prolific and professional criminals operating in Dartford, in addition to those engaged in petty crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB);

·         The DTAC Intelligence Manager co-ordinated the dissemination of information to the network of DTAC partners and promoted activity that would result in action being taken against persistent offenders;

·         The objectives outlined in the 2016-18 Business Plan for DTAC had been to:

 

(i)            Install the infrastructure required for Borough wide coverage to facilitate membership growth and reinforce the Council’s emergency planning procedures;

(ii)          Increase the number of people reporting crime through Disc (Secure Information Sharing System) used by DTAC partners;

(iii)         Undertake radio training, Counter-Terrorism training and Conflict Management training.

 

The CSM advised Members that the Council’s recently appointed DTAC Intelligence Manager, Karen Radford, was attending her first Crime and Disorder (Overview & Scrutiny) meeting, having travelled that day from Wales to do so.

 

She had taken up her role in May 2019 following the departure of her predecessor in December 2018. He asked that the outstanding contribution made by Mike Morgan as DTAC Intelligence Manager from 2015 to 2018 be noted, and advised that his successor had a similar 30 year background as a Kent Police Officer reaching the rank of Inspector, and had previously served in Dartford CSU in a police capacity in 2014. The 5 month interregnum between Intelligence Managers (IMs) had been unfortunate, but in her short tenure to date, the new IM had established 6 priorities to which she was working:

 

·         To re-establish a robust radio network across the Borough;

·         To personalise the current NABCP (National Association Business Crime Partnership) national forms for distribution to DTAC members to include Data Protection Act 2018 requirements;

·         To achieve NABCP accreditation;

·         To refresh the DTAC Business Plan;

·         To increase DTAC membership and work with the Dartford Town Centre Partnership.

 

Members then received a PowerPoint presentation which expanded on the following principal themes in greater detail:

 

·         What is DTAC;

·         Role of the Intelligence Manager (IM);

·         Data Protection including effect of 2018 GDPR Act;

·         New Members;

·         Disc – Intelligence database;

·         Shop Safe Scheme;

·         Crimestoppers;

·         DTAC Meetings, Board, AGM and Members;

·         Way Forward

 

Key points in the presentation included:

 

·         DTAC was developed in 2003 as a combined partnership between local businesses, Kent police, the local authority, town centre management and other agencies, with a Board of Management derived from the membership and was a non-political and non-profit making group;

·         DTAC’s crime reduction strategies to identify local and travelling criminals, manage their offending behaviour and reduce criminal opportunity, was aimed at both the day-time and night-time economies in Dartford;

·         The key role of the IM was to facilitate the effective flow of information between Dartford Council, DTAC members, supporting agencies and key partners including Kent Police, and to provide a ‘heads-up’ to businesses to check customers via the Disc intelligence database;

·         The IM was able to use civil powers to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and worked closely with the Council’s CCTV operation, the Shopping Centre Managers (and their CCTV operations), security staff, Council accredited Officers and business managers to ensure public safety, and proactively deal with offenders who affected businesses in Dartford on a daily basis;

·         Effective management of the DTAC radio system linked all members to the Council’s CSU operation [and by extension Kent Police];

·         The Government’s Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) implemented on 25 May 2018 was the primary legislation which regulated how companies protected EU citizens personal data and applied to DTAC members. DPA 2018 had required all DTAC members to be contacted to sign new GDPR compliant agreements and membership packs, and all DTAC forms to be altered. DPA 2018 also related to staff/membership usage of DTAC radios and the passing of intelligence, information and personal data using DTAC’s Disc database;

·         DTAC membership benefits now included; access to the GDPR compliant intelligence database (Disc), with instant messaging to enable members to communicate with each other quickly and effectively to combat crime and identify known perpetrators. Weekly newsletters and bulletins, radio linkage to a network of CCTV cameras, security staff and Kent police. Regular DTAC meetings, staff training and Partnership support to address offending behaviour affecting local businesses;

·         Full DTAC membership cost £360 + VAT per annum (or pro-rata monthly), Associate membership cost £200 + VAT per annum (or pro rata monthly) for those who did not require access to the Disc database.  DTAC membership was good with 9 (nine) more businesses waiting to join the Partnership’s current 83 members of which 61 were businesses. It was hoped to extend the present DTAC radio coverage to include Longfield Parish and the Tree Estate, once the present transmitter had been upgraded to encourage businesses in those areas to join;

·         The free ‘Shop Safe I.D. Scheme’ introduced to protect the elderly, vulnerable and persons with learning difficulties visiting the town centre, was also being made GDPR compliant to conform to DPA 2018. The Scheme currently had 82 members with 10 more waiting to join. Members’ details were kept on a database, together with emergency contact details of a carer/relative, and were held by CSU staff, Orchard Centre Security, and the Memory Café in the Orchard Centre. Members  were given a personal I.D. tag which could be attached to a key ring to identify them, and allow their carer/relative to be called in time of need;

·         Dartford Town Centre had been chosen by Kent Police ‘Crimestoppers’ to host a new initiative whereby images of ‘Kent’s most wanted’ criminals were displayed on 2 digital media screens in the town centre, and was understood to be the first such initiative in England. The initiative had started on 25 June 2019 with 2 screens located in the Orchard Shopping Centre. The screens rotated several times each hour throughout the day, 7 days a week and had since led to 2 (two) arrests;

·         Way Forward: increase membership of DTAC and of the Shop Safe Scheme, increase radio coverage testing and training across the Borough. Encourage all DTAC members to use the Disc system and phone app to share information and intelligence. Put Dartford on the national map for running an effective DTAC partnership scheme.

 

In response to subsequent questions the Strategic Director (External Services), the EARS/CSU Manager, the CSM and the DTAC IM, confirmed the following points for Members:

 

·         DTAC presently concentrated on the town centre and was a Council assisted scheme. It was proposed to expand the present DTAC operation to include Swanscombe, Ebbsfleet and Longfield and make it an independent operation. Bluewater had a separate policing team, but shared a common database and vehicle I.D. camera technology with DTAC;

·         Details of the DTAC and Shop Safer Schemes should be on the Council website for Members and their constituents, but Officers would confirm this;

·         Once DTAC was extended to Swanscombe, increased co-ordination with the Town Council and their Safer Community Committee was proposed;

·         The Crimestoppers initiative in the town centre was operated by Kent Police with the aid of PCC funding, the first such initiative in the UK. The present Crimestoppers operation was going well and had helped to increase footfall in the town centre. It was hoped that a future long-term ‘Kent most wanted criminals’ scheme would be funded by shop owners;

·         The CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) precept could be used to fund CCTV infrastructure, but not running costs;

·         The town centre retained a dedicated Police Constable, supported by a PCSO. It was confirmed that the town centre was to receive an additional dedicated Police Constable who was yet to be recruited.

 

The Chairman thanked the DTAC Intelligence Manager for an excellent presentation and all Officers for their positive responses to Members’ questions.

 

                                    RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the report and presentation recording the achievements of the DTAC scheme in Dartford for the period 1 July 2018 to 1 July 2019.

 

 

 

Supporting documents: