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Agenda item

Committee's Rolling Work Programme for 2019-20 and Beyond

To consider the Committee’s rolling Work Programme for the current 2019-20 municipal cycle and beyond, as set out in the draft Work Plan attached at Appendix A to the report.

Minutes:

The report from the Committee’s Co-ordinating Officer enclosed at Appendix A for Members consideration and comment, a draft Work Plan for the 2019-20 municipal year and beyond.

 

The Chairman proposed two additions to the draft Plan:

 

(i)            An update on the DTAC Shop Safe Scheme [Min. No. 9 refers];

(ii)          A report from CSU and Kent Police Officers on the rise in the misuse of nitrous dioxide (NO2) canisters in the Borough which, in the Chairman’s Parish, was seen as reaching epidemic proportions.

 

In response to the Chairman’s second proposal, the Community Safety Manager reprised the advice he and Kent Police had given to the last meeting of the Borough & Parish Forum on 2 July 2019.

 

He advised that it was not an offence to possess nitrous oxide (NO2) canisters used commercially to operate soda stream drink dispensers, or to use such canisters to achieve a so-called ‘high’. It was an offence to supply such canisters to other users for recreational purposes, but difficult to prove unless the offence observed. Inhalation of NO2 provided a quick ‘high’ but the effect dissipated quickly: which again made use difficult to prove by the police. The principal offence was littering, with used canisters being dumped in piles of 80-100 canisters from cars in car parks and other public areas.

 

Following the concerns expressed by Forum Members on 2 July 2019; the CSM, Kent Police and the Council’s Waste & Parks Manager; had taken co-ordinated action to map out dumping ‘hot-spots’ in the Borough. The Council’s new waste contractor had software to help monitor the hotspots and would add GEO code references to help better identify the exact locations. PSPO enforcement, enhanced litter enforcement by Council Officers, plus use of vehicle I.D. (via the DVLA) were all measures the Council and Kent Police would pursue. However, Members were asked to retain realistic expectations over outcomes, given that the possession and use of NO2 canisters was not an offence in and of itself.

 

The Strategic Director (External Services) proposed that the topic be added to the February 2020 meeting of the Committee, when a considered report would be presented to Members. It was also open to the Committee to consider what measures CSP partner agencies could be expected to make to tackle the problem. She would consider this further, and relay her thoughts to Members in due course.

 

The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Youth, Health & Wellbeing undertook to encourage her KCC colleagues to address the issue. The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety praised the work already undertaken by the CSU and Kent Police, despite the lack of enforcement powers over possession or l use of NO2 canisters by individuals.

 

The Chairman advised that he intended to lead a campaign to tackle the misuse of N02 canisters with Cabinet Member support, and that he had already spoken to Dartford’s MP, Gareth Johnson, with a view to lobbying Government on the issue.

 

                                    RESOLVED:

 

1.    That Members note the contents of the draft Work Plan for the Committee for the 2019/20 municipal cycle and beyond [attached at Appendix A to the report];

2.    That the additional topics as Minuted above, be added to the Work Plan for the meetings of the Committee in February and July 2020.

                       

Supporting documents: