Agenda and minutes

Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Committee - Wednesday 15 February 2017 7.00 pm

No. Item


Apologies For Absence

To receive any apologies of absence.


An apology for absence was received from Councillor C J Shippam, Deputy Leader and Dartford PCP representative; one for lateness from the Vice-Chairman and subsequently, direct to Member Services, from Councillor S R Jarnell due to unexpected illness that evening.


Councillor Ann Allen MBE was in attendance by standing invitation from the Committee, in her role as Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Development.


Councillor T A Maddison was also in attendance and contributed to Member discussion at the discretion of the Chairman.


The Chairman welcomed his guests from Kent Police: INSP Gary Woodward, Dartford CSU Inspector; Daniel Rudden, Safer Home Experience Store Manager from the Bluewater Police Office and Erin Scott, Neighbourhood Watch & Volunteer Liaison Officer.


The presence of the Strategic Director (External Services), the EARS/CSU Manager, the Community Safety Manger and the Community Safety Officer was also noted.


Declarations of Interest

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


There were no declarations of interest from Committee Members, Councillor Allen, Councillor T. A. Maddison or the Vice-Chairman, when he subsequently joined the proceedings.


Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2016 pdf icon PDF 154 KB




1.    That the Minutes of the Committee’s meeting held on 27 July 2016 be confirmed as an accurate account of those proceedings.


Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.


The Chairman confirmed that there were no items of urgency for consideration by the Committee.


To consider references from other Committees (if any)

There are no references from other Committees at present.


There were no references from other Committees to consider.


Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 17 January 2017 to 31 May 2017.




That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 17 January 2017 to 31 May 2017 be noted.


Kent Police & Crime Panel (PCP) Update pdf icon PDF 114 KB

To note the attached Minutes for the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel (PCP) meetings held on 8 September 2016 and 15 November 2016 and to receive a verbal update from Dartford’s PCP representative.

Additional documents:


The Chairman advised that, in the absence of Dartford’s PCP representative, this item was for noting rather than discussion.





1.    That the Minutes of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel (PCP) meetings held on 8 September 2016 and 15 November 2016 [Agenda pages 19-36] be noted.




Neighbourhood Watch - Sharing Best Practice: Presentation by Kent Police


The Committee received a verbal presentation from Ms Erin Scott, Neighbourhood Watch & Volunteer Liaison Officer, Kent Police.


Principal points advised to Members included:


·         The 1st Neighbourhood Watch Scheme in England was founded in Cheshire in 1982 as a public response to a local murder;

·         There were now more than 1 million Neighbourhood Watch (NW) Schemes operating across the UK with 6,000 in Kent and Medway, including some 600 Schemes in Dartford and Gravesham;

·         The NW Scheme represented a partnership between the Police and the Public with individual Schemes led by Volunteers who; following completion of a Police vetting process; were appointed as Scheme Co-ordinators and Deputy Co-ordinators and liaised directly with their local Police forces;

·         Individual Schemes could raise money for their activities as required and on average watched over two (2) streets [but could be larger] with NW Notices displayed in the windows of residential home windows usually at either end of a Scheme to deter potential perpetrators;

·         Home Office surveys of HM Prisons revealed that NW Schemes played an effective role in dissuading criminals who, when they saw NW Notices in an area, ‘moved on’;

·         As part of the two-way exchange between the Police and the Public, Schemes were encouraged to report their observations to their local Police partners who updated each Scheme with the latest Police intel and statistics, crime trends and scams operating in their areas;

·         Police numbers in Kent had increased, including Officers on the beat, but public co-operation and help continued to be vital, with notable successes secured by the Police as a result of observation and feedback from NW Schemes e.g. recent closure of a brothel in Ashford;

·         More NW Schemes were needed in Kent with the 600 Schemes currently operating in the Dartford & Gravesham CSP area viewed as a comparatively ‘low’ figure, with vacancies for Volunteers being carried by individual Schemes;

·         Kent Police were undertaking a recruitment drive, including at colleges and other higher education venues, designed to recruit younger members for NW and  lower the current age profile of Scheme members. Older traditional members would always have a role to play in Schemes, but younger and more IT savvy members were needed to sustain the NW operation going forward in the face of competition from more social-media based schemes combating crime e.g. ‘Country Eye’.


In a subsequent Q&A session with Members, Kent Police representatives confirmed the following points:


·         No parameters had been set for the optimum number of NW Schemes for North Kent, demand was public led and much depended on the successful recruitment of Volunteers to effectively manage individual Schemes. There was currently a vacancy for Chairman of North Kent Neighbourhood Watch. A  re-assessment of overall provision was likely when a new appointment had been made;

·         The danger of ‘information overload’ for Kent Police (KP) from the 6,000 NW Schemes operating in Kent was addressed through a ‘sift and review’ process.  If info received from Schemes was not relevant / had been over-taken Co-ordinators  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.


Bluewater Safety Shop / Community Safety at Home Facility - Presentation by Kent Police


The Committee received a PowerPoint presentation from the CSU Inspector and the Safer Home Manager on the operation of Kent Police’s Safety Store situated in the Bluewater Shopping complex.


Members were advised that the present Safety Store had been expanded from it’s original ‘Charity Shop’ image in 2014 operating as a ‘1 Stop Shop’ for Kent Police, the RSPCA, Kent Fire & Rescue and the North West Kent Crime Prevention Panel. In 2014 a variety of gimmicks such as raffle prizes and demonstrating high speed intercept cars had been used to attract the public’s interest. From those early days the facility had been re-branded with a definitive image and expanded into the current Safety Store, with financial help from Bluewater Management, including rent-free tenure.


The expanded Safety Store facility now functioned as a ‘mock house’ to demonstrate ‘best practice’ procedures to the public in the home environment for; better health & safety, to combat theft, protect valuables, prevent cyber-crime and alert parents and children to the dangers of on-line grooming. The expanded Safety Store also included a new Police Back Office facility, which gave Officers a crucial working environment within the Bluewater complex to complete paperwork and conduct interviews.


The Safer Home Objectives were identified as:


·         To showcase Kent Police to a wider public;

·         To raise awareness of policing priorities and mobilise community involvement;

·         To provide and demonstrate professional crime prevention products and information;

·         To improve the efficiency of the Policing Team;

·         To compliment the Bluewater Community Engagement Strategy;

·         To provide a platform/opportunity for relevant Community Stakeholders/Partners to compliment the Safer Home objectives.


The Safer Home Brief was to:


·         Professionalise the branding – move away from the ‘charity shop’ image;

·         Create a more interactive environment with both the older and younger demographic - e.g. using local football teams to attract fans to the Safer Home facility;

·         Be scaleable and transferable – the Safer Home facility underwent a 3 month re-fresh moving within Bluewater to empty units on a rent-free basis;

·         Provide operational functionality – supporting Bluewater Police team with a Back-Room function;

·         Facilitate Office Space;

·         Market ‘The Home’ both internally and externally to maximise benefits for the wider Kent Police Force and its partner Agencies e.g. KF&RS etc.;

·         The Vision of the ‘The Safer Home’ facility was to educate the public in terms of safety within the home environment with an added crime prevention dimension.


Specific elements of the ‘Safer Home’ facility included:


·         Public Entrance – the store front reflected a brick-build house with Bluewater and Kent Police logo branding, following customer feed-back;

·         Kitchen – to demonstrate to the public good safety measures and tips in a ‘real’ environment e.g. plugs and sockets etc.;

·         Lounge – fully furnished to reflect a home with safety and security videos e.g. ‘Stay Safe’ running on a loop on the ‘family’ TV;

·         Study –also furnished as in a home to help demonstrate crime prevention measures and hosting demographic group’s e.g. Workshop to educate elderly residents on current ‘scams’ being perpetrated in the area;

·         Technology –  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Update on New Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Powers - Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014 pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Members to note the attached update report from the Community Safety Officer (CSO).


The Community Safety Officer summarised his report for the Committee as submitted in the Agenda papers [p. 37-43] and invited questions.


The Strategic Director (External Services), CSU Officers and the Kent Police Inspector confirmed the following points in response to specific questions and expressions of concern from Members:


Community Trigger (CT):


·         The Community Trigger (CT) process gave victims of anti-social behaviour (ASB) the ability to demand a review of their cases, where the locally defined threshold for ASB had been met and effectively represented a ‘complaints process’ for the handling of individual ASB cases [but did not replace the formal complaints process for individual organisations within the CSP];

·         No CTs had been activated in Dartford to date (February 2017) but the co-location of the local policing team within the Council’s Community Safety Unit, together with the Council’s Housing Services team also located within the Civic Centre building, enabled those three principal bodies to undertake reviews of ongoing ASB cases and exchange information and effectively undertake the CT process in a less formal manner;

·         Members’ request, that the CT process be more widely advertised to residents, would be considered;

·         The concerns of the Greenhithe Ward Member in relation to on-going ASB issues in Castle Hill were noted and would be responded to;

·         Expressions of concern from other Members in relation to acts of ASB and/or Criminal Damage in their Wards could be investigated by the CSU Team, if Members could provide specific details and a resident to contact.


Civil Injunctions (CIs) and Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs):


·         Civil Injunctions (CIs) were used primarily against anti-social individuals;

·         PSPOs were designed to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a designated area;

·         The Council considered use of both CIs and PSPOs as they deemed appropriate;

·         A PSPO was proposed to combat ongoing ASB issues at Crossways Industrial Estate in the Greenhithe Ward, once the exact criteria to be applied had been finalised, to meet the local circumstances and improve residents wellbeing;

·         Both measures [CIs and PSPOs]could be used in tandem or consecutively e.g. a PSPO could be imposed to provide an underpinning solution to an area based problem, then as required,  follow-up action taken with CIs applied against persistent ASB offenders within the area of the PSPO ;

·         The definition of a Community Trigger given in para 3.4.1. of the report [agenda pages 37/38] had been personalised and differed to the criteria for activating the CTI process on the Council website.


Designated Public Place Orders (DPPOs):


·         Existing DPPOs were due to be replaced by PSPOs in October 2017 some 3 years after the 2015 Act came into effect;

·         The existing DPPO for the Town Centre during the hours of the ‘Nightime Economy’ would be replaced by a revised PSPO with similar conditions;

·         All existing DPPOs would be reviewed and relevant conditions transferred to the new PSPOs as relevant and new conditions added if appropriate.




1.    That Members noted the contents of the report.



Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership Strategic Assessment 2016 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

To consider the Dartford & Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Strategic Assessment 2016 document as presented to the CSP on 26 January 2017 [Appendix A to this report - included as Item A in the EXEMPT agenda papers on the grounds of Confidentiality].


The report asked the Committee to consider the Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSPs) annual Strategic Assessment 2016 document, as presented to the CSP on 26 January 2017 (Appendix A to the report – marked as Item A in the EXEMPT agenda papers).


The report advised Members that the Council was under an obligation of confidence in relation to the Strategic Assessment 2016 document, in that, the data it contained had been provided to the Council on an In-Confidence basis and should as a consequence, be considered by the Committee in the EXEMPT part of the Agenda proceedings.




1.    That Appendix A to the report be considered as Item A in the EXEMPT part of the Agenda.



Work Programme 2016-17: Update pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To note the proposed amendments to the Committee’s rolling Work Programme for the remainder of the 2016-17 Municipal Cycle and beyond.

Additional documents:


The report asked Members to agree the contents of a revised Work Programme for the remainder of the 2016-17 Municipal Year and the summer and winter meetings of the forthcoming 2017-18 Municipal cycle [Appendix A to the report].


The Committee Co-ordinator confirmed that the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) had declined the Committee’s invitation to address Members on 26 July 2017 [report para 3.4 refers] and that a further invitation had been sent to his office proposing 14 February 2018 as an alternative. He reminded Members that the PCC hadrecently addressed the Council’s Borough and Parish Forum [5 July 2016] and that as a consequence, securing a second visit by the PCC to address Dartford Members was proving more difficult.


In subsequent Member discussion, the Lead Member for Enforcement & Community Safety proposed that the Committee receive a presentation from Kent County Council Trading Standards on current ‘scam’ operations being perpetrated in the Dartford area, in particular those criminal activities that targeted the elderly.




1.    That the proposed rolling Work Programme for the Committee (attached as Appendix A to the report) be noted;


2.    That the proposed addition from the Lead Member for Enforcement  & Community Safety as detailed above, be pursued by CSU Officers.



Next Meeting

Subject to confirmation at Annual Council [10 May] the next meeting of the Committee will take place on Wednesday 26 July 2017.


Members were advised that, subject to confirmation at the Annual Meeting in May, the next meeting of the Committee would be Wednesday 26 July 2017.




The Chairman advised that under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) he was required to ask that all members of the press and public present vacate the Chamber prior to discussion of the CSP Strategic Assessment 2016 document.


No members of the press or public were present.


CSP Strategic Assessment 2016


The Committee considered, in closed session, as recommended in the covering report [Agenda Item 13 and Min. No. 25 refers]; the Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP’s) Strategic Assessment 2016 document (agenda Item A in the EXEMPT papers).


The SA 2016 document advised that the Partnership was required by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to produce an SA on an annual basis. The SA was based on research, evidence and intelligence gathered from both Kent-wide and local sources and wherever possible, that information was analysed at a Dartford and Gravesham level.


SA 2016 detailed recorded crime and disorder offences for the period 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016 for both Boroughs (separately) and fed into the Partnership’s three-year Community Safety Strategy for the period 2016-19. The main aim of the annual SA was to identify any changes in circumstance that might necessitate amendments being made to the existing Strategy and to ensure that new or emerging local priorities were addressed. For the first time since changes to several definitions of crime types and the application of new Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime in 2014, year-on-year comparisons with information contained in the Partnership’s SA 2015 document were possible.


In addition to year-on-year performance comparison for the Partnership, SA 2016 also drew comparisons between the Partnership and other CSPs in Kent Districts and Medway and compared the performance and position of the Partnership within its Most Similar Group (MSG) of CSPs.


In this latter respect; SA 2016 noted that other Police Forces represented within its MSG of CSPs had significantly lower levels of accuracy for recorded crime [as assessed by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)]. Kent Police continued to lead the field with 96% accuracy for the recording of all reported crime [as assessed by HMIC in 2014]. By comparison, within the Partnership’s MSG, greater Manchester Police had been assessed by HMIC as having only an 85% accuracy level for recording reported crime, with the Staffordshire and Sussex Forces [in the MSG] at 91% and 94% respectively. These differing levels of accuracy within the MSG for recording reported crime made the objective assessment of the Partnership’s performance on a comparative basis, difficult. Dartford remained 13th out of 14 areas assessed within its MSG for the level of crime recorded locally per 1,000 of the population and was above the average experienced by other areas with similar demographics. Dartford’s position within the MSG remained unchanged from the previous 2015 Assessment.


The Community Safety Officer (CSO) advised Members that total recorded crime in Dartford for the period 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016 had risen by 12.8% which mirrored an increase in every Kent and Medway District [average 12%]. Within the total crime recorded figure; Dartford had experienced rises in most crime categories in the period under review; with a significant rise in the volume of violent crime, particularly in offences of violence against the person [29% slightly above the Kent average of 28%]. The significant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.