Agenda and minutes

Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Committee - Wednesday 21 February 2018 7.00 pm

No. Item


Apologies For Absence

To note any apologies of absence in addition to those received from the Kent & Medway Police & Crime Commissioner, Mr Matthew Scott.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S R Jarnell and Mrs M B Kelly.


Councillor Ann Allen MBE, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Development, was in attendance by standing invitation.


The Chairman gave a special welcome to his Kent Police guests attending the Committee’s proceedings for the first time; Chief Inspector Andy Gadd, District Commander for Dartford & Gravesham and Acting/CSU Inspector Dave Crompton. 


The Chairman also noted the contribution made by Inspector Gary Woodward to the work of the Committee over a number of years, and his valued role as Dartford’s CSU Police Inspector during that time. He asked that Inspector Woodward’s contribution to the Committee’s work be recorded in the Minutes with Members’ thanks.




Declarations of Interest

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



There were no declarations of interest.


Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2017 pdf icon PDF 195 KB





1.    That the Minutes of the Committee’s meeting held on 26 July 2017 be confirmed as an accurate record 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 Members to consider.


To consider references from other Committees (if any)

There are no references from other Committees at present.


There were no references from other Committees.


Regulation 9 Notice pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 January 2018 to 31 May 2018.




1.    That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 15 January 2018 to 31 May 2018 be noted.


Kent Police and Crime Panel (PCP) Update pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To receive an update from Councillor Wells, Dartford representative on the PCP regarding the Panel meeting due to be held on 15 February 2018, and to note the published Minutes for the PCP meetings held on 20 July, 28 September and 15 November 2017.


Additional documents:


The Chairman briefed Members on the most recent PCP meeting held on 15 February 2018.


He advised that the principal order of business on 15 February had been the Panel’s approval of the Police & Crime Commissioner’s proposed Budget for 2018-19 including a proposed 7.6% increase in Council Tax provision to increase the Police precept. The principal aim of the proposed increase in the PCC’s Budget was to finance the recruitment of an additional 200 new police officers and 80 civilian staff to bolster Kent Police numbers. It was hoped that the proposed increases in both Police and Civilian Officer cadres would enable Kent Police to address the acknowledged long-standing deficiencies in both the 101 and 999 response service provision currently provided to the public in Kent. 


Members noted the 7.6% increase in Council Tax charges for residents, but welcomed the proposals in the Commissioner’s Crime Budget for 2018-19 to increase both police officer and civilian staff numbers and the aim to improve both the 101 and 999 response services currently provided by Kent Police




1.    That Members note the approval by the PCP on 15 February 2018 of the Kent and Medway Police & Crime Commissioner’s Budget for the ensuing 2018-19 financial cycle;


2.    That Members note the contents of the published Minutes of the PCP meetings held on 20 July, 28 September and 15 November 2017 respectively, as presented in the Agenda papers.




Recording of Kent Crime Data and Statistics

To receive a presentation from a Kent Police representative.  


Members received a presentation from Chief Inspector Andy Gadd, District Commander for Dartford and Gravesham, Kent Police which addressed the recent uptrend in Dartford’s recorded crime levels.


The District Commander (DC) drew on the contents of a tabled document presented to Members in confidence as compiled by Kent Police’s Analytical Team, based on core figures for identified crime categories compiled by the Force’s Data Audit Team in the preceding 12 month period January 2016 to January 2017.


The DC summarised the key crime categories for Members, to give those figures the relevant context and background; given their impact on the Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership’s 2017 Strategic Assessment document; to be considered by Members subsequently in the agenda proceedings [Item 10 - Min No. 26 refers]:


·         ‘Last 3 Years Crime Data Comparison by [Kent] District’


The DC advised that whilst Dartford was at the top of the comparative table of Kent Districts, the Borough had registered the lowest percentage increase in recorded crime in the County during the last 12 month period [23.3%].


·         Dartford Specific Data over the past 12 Months’


(i)            ‘Burglary Dwelling: previously this category had only recorded crime committed on occupied dwellings to address the important   factor of ‘impact on privacy’ suffered by victims of such crimes. Now under the revised Home Office Crime Counting rules the category included burglary of unoccupied buildings e.g. garden sheds significantly increasing this statistic;


(ii)          ‘Public Order Offences’ – the large increase in this category - 177.2% equating to 535 recorded offences was a direct reflection of the revised and more rigid HO Crime Counting rules. The example was given of a reported instance of ‘loud shouting’ (previously treated as minor ASB) but now required to be recorded as a Public Order Offence under the revised Counting Rules, irrespective of whether perpetrators were actually found to be present when Police attended a scene.


·         General Conclusions


(i)            Recorded crime in Dartford had increased by 23.3% overall during the previous rolling year - Jan. 2016 to Jan. 2017;


(ii)          Dartford’s % increase was the lowest in Kent in the period under review;


(iii)         All Kent Districts had experienced higher % increases in recorded crime in the same period [Jan. 2016 to Jan. 2017];


(iv)         Kent Police attributed the significant increase in recorded crime across all Kent Districts, to the revised and more rigid Home Office Counting Rules;


(v)          Dartford’s increase in recorded crime, whilst the lowest across Kent Districts, had still had an impact on the 2017 Strategic Assessment for Dartford & Gravesham CSP in terms of target setting and the deployment of resources for 2018;


(vi)         VAP (Violence against the Person) and Sexual Offences had seen the largest increases in Dartford, with multiple historic offences being recorded under the revised Counting Rules when a victim suffered further assaults, thereby impacting crime figures.


·         Context/Explanation


(i)            The major factor in the increase in Dartford’s [and Kent’s] crime statistics was the recording of multiple crimes linked to a single incident.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Review of Dartford's Safer Streets Policy: Update from Kent Police

To receive an update from Kent Police representatives.



The Acting CSU Inspector advised Members that the Review of Dartford’s Safer Streets Policy initiated by his predecessor remained ongoing. The accountability of the 5 Response Teams was being examined and the ownership of their current responsibilities re-assessed. That ongoing process had started in November 2017 and was working well, but feed-back would not be appropriate at this stage. In terms of the policing of Dartford’s Night-Time Economy, Thursday night was rapidly becoming the new Friday night and similar measures were now being trialled on Thursday evenings as were currently deployed for Friday and Saturday nights in the Town Centre.


The District Commander (DC) advised that part of the ongoing review process of Dartford’s current Safer Street’s policy was its effectiveness. Key questions were did the current policy make a difference, was intelligence being effectively used to inform tasking, were the CSU efforts and resources being deployed in the right place at the right time to disperse situations or solve issues before they fully developed ? The DC was commissioning work from both CSU Inspectors [Dartford & Gravesham] and proposed that he report back to the Committee with the outcomes of the Dartford Review in 3-6 months’ time.


The Chairman thanked the DC and CSU Inspector for their input and proposals and suggested that Members receive a substantive report as a Work Plan item, to be presented to the Committee at its next meeting on 25 July 2018.





The Chairman advised that, under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), he was required to ask all members of the press and public present to vacate the Council Chamber, prior to consideration of Item A in the EXEMPT agenda papers – Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership Strategic Assessment 2017 together with the covering report from the Community Safety Manager [Item 10 agenda pages 53/54].


The Committee Co-ordinator confirmed for the record that no members of the press or public were present.


Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership Strategic Assessment 2017 pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To consider the Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership Strategic Assessment 2017 as presented to the CSP on 25 January 2018.


The covering report from the Community Safety Manager (CSM) asked Members in accordance with Committee’s Terms of Reference and as an Overview function on an annual basis; to consider the Dartford and Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Strategic Assessment 2017 [Appendix A to the report - attached as Item A in the EXEMPT agenda papers].


Members were reminded of the Strategic Assessment (SA) process, conducted each year by the Dartford & Gravesham CSP to ensure the Partnership continued to address crime and anti-social Behaviour (ASB) issues impacting on its communities, through the collation and analysis of data collected across the Partnership’s agencies. The views of Dartford and Gravesham residents concerning crime and community safety issues in their communities also formed part of the Strategic Assessment process.


The Community Safety Officer (CSO) informed Members that the Strategic Assessment process in 2017 had presented the Partnership with a unique challenge, because the established way of assessing performance; through comparing and contrasting levels of crime outcomes with those of previous years against identified priorities and objectives and identified cross-cutting themes; had been compromised following the changes to Home Office rules for recording crime and the associated inspection of Kent Police in early 2017 by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).


The HMIC inspection report (published in April 2017) had rated Kent Police’s recording of crime as ‘Inadequate’ estimating that more than 24,000 (16%) of offences across the County had gone unrecorded by the Force between June and November 2016. The inaccuracy of that data had compromised the opportunity to analyse crime levels and compare them against those of previous years and by extension, properly monitor performance and delivery against identified objectives in the 2016 SA. In addition, comparison between the 2016 data and that collated by Kent Police in 2017 [post the HMIC inspection] also became problematical, as was a comparison of the Partnership’s performance in 2017 against other CSPs in its Most Similar Group (MSG).


The CSO referred Members to the Performance Summary tables set out on pages 4 and 5 of the 2017 SA document [agenda pages 66/67] as a more relevant comparison tool to assess the CSP’s performance in 2017. The tables for Dartford and Gravesham respectively, detailed the performance of each Borough by Crime Type against the Annual Crime Figure by Type for the County and the Annual Changes in those figures on a County basis. The trend in performance for each crime type was indicated by a coloured directional arrow [rather than a % figure]: a green arrow for Improvement in performance, red arrow for Deterioration and blue for No Change in performance. It was noted that Dartford had recorded improvements in performance in 2017 for the crime categories of: Theft from Motor Vehicle, Theft of Pedal Cycle and Substance Misuse. Improvements in tackling Anti-Social Behaviour had also been recorded in Dartford in comparison to a deterioration in such measures recorded at a County level in 2017.


In response to a broad spectrum of questions from individual  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.


Update - Committee Work Programme 2017-18 and Beyond pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To note the updated Committee Work Plan for the remainder of the 2017-18 municipal cycle and beyond.

Additional documents:


The report asked Members to agree the contents and timeframe for an updated Committee Work Plan for the remainder of the current 2017-18 municipal year and beyond, as set out in Appendix A attached to the report.


Following earlier discussion of agenda Items 9, 10 and A [Exempt] Members agreed to add the following topics to the updated Work Plan (attached as Appendix A to the report):


·         Gang activity in Dartford including links to London based Gangs and cross-border crime and what resources/funding is allocated to such work (Kent Police /Dartford CSU) – July 2018 [Min. No. 25 refers];


·         Update on the Review of Dartford’s Safer Street’s Policy (Kent Police/Dartford CSU) – July 2018 [Min. No. 27 refers].


The Lead Member for Enforcement & Community Safety noted the improved response by Dartford CSU to Unauthorised Encampments in the Borough, following the Committee’s scrutiny of the topic in July 2017 on a Draw-Down basis [Min. No. 10 refers].


He advised that complaints from constituents in his Ward and across the Borough had shown a marked decrease in the intervening period, and he asked that the efforts of the EARS Manager, his CSU Team and Kent Police be recognised in this regard and formally recorded in the Minutes. 




1.    That Members agree the contents of the updated Committee Work Plan for the remainder of the current 2017-18 municipal year and beyond [attached as Appendix A to the report] with the addition of the topics detailed above.


Next Meeting

Subject to confirmation at Annual Council on 9 May, the next meeting of the Committee will take place on Wednesday 25 July 2018.


Members were advised that, subject to agreement at the Annual Meeting of the General Assembly of the Council on 9 May 2018, the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Wednesday 25 July 2018.