Agenda and draft minutes

Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Committee - Wednesday 8 February 2023 7.00 pm

No. Item


Apologies For Absence

To receive any apologies of absence.


An apology for absence had been received from Councillor Mrs. M B Kelly, and Cllr. Wells had advised that to work commitments outside the Borough might delay his arrival past 7 p.m.


The EARS Manager, Mark Salisbury, was absent due to illness.


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of any Grant of Dispensation by the Audit Board or Chief Officer and Director of Corporate Services.


There were no declarations of interest.


Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 246 KB




That the Minutes of the Committee’s meeting held on 27 July 2022 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 urgent items for Members to consider.


To consider references from other Committees (if any)


There were no references from other Committees for Members to consider.



Forward Plan [Regulation 9 Notice] pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To consider any issues arising from the Forward Plan [Regulation 9 Notice] for the period 13 January – 31 May 2023




That Members note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice (Forward Plan) for the period 13 January – 31 May 2023.


Chairman's Update


The Chairman welcomed attending Kent Police representatives, Members and Officers to the proceedings, and advised that the Press were present to observe the public proceedings, but not the final EXEMPT Item, and that the PCP Update [agenda Item 8], be deferred until Cllr. Wells joined the meeting later that evening.


He gave a particular welcome to Acting Inspector Nick Grainger KP, who was attending his first meeting of the Committee, following the departure of his predecessor Insp. Trevor Jenner to take up a new role, and asked that Member’s appreciation of Inspector Jenner’s efforts on behalf of the Council and Dartford’s residents be recorded in the Minutes.


Members were also asked to join the Chairman in wishing the EARS Manager, Mark Salisbury, a speedy recovery from his present illness together with their best wishes on his pending retirement from the Council in March. Since joining the Council in 2015 from KCC, Mark Salisbury had made a significant contribution to combating crime and anti-social behaviour in the Borough, both as EARS Manager and with his overall responsibility for the day to day operation of the Council’s Community Safety Unit.


In other business, the Chairman advised Members that he had recently attended a successful Kent Sikh Police Officer’s event in Northfleet, aimed at improving links between KP and the Sikh community, based in both Gravesend and Dartford. 



PSPO Update pdf icon PDF 101 KB


In a change to the published agenda order [pending the arrival of the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Youth to give his PCP update], Members considered the Community Safety Manager (CSM’s), update report on the progress of the borough-wide Nuisance Vehicle Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) 2022 to target Nuisance Vehicles [first agreed by Cabinet in May 2022 - Min. No. 10 refers].


The CSM advised Members that the PSPO had been a significant success and achieved a positive impact in terms of eradicating the persistent anti-social behaviour (ASB) at Crossways Boulevard, Dartford from vehicles meeting and competing at quadrant court, activity which had previously caused local residents alarm, harassment, distress and sleep deprivation (from the high and prolonged noise levels generated by those events). She referred Members to her predecessor’s report to Cabinet in February 2022 [Min. No. 114 refers], which had advised that between November 2010 and October 2021 Kent Police had recorded 576 calls from members of the public related to nuisance vehicles. Whilst difficult to analyse each individual call in detail, it appeared that approximately 199 calls had related to vehicles which had gathered or been used in an anti-social manner on public roads in the Borough. The data highlights for those 199 reports revealed that 90 (45.23%), related to the area around Crossways Boulevard. Key factors in the success of the PSPO had included:


·         The borough-wide nature of the PSPO helped to ensure that the car related ASB offences experienced by residents at Crossways Boulevard were not displaced to elsewhere in the Borough;

·         Operation Wallabies [report para 3.6 refers] had targeted Car meets and Racing taking place on Fridays and Saturdays primarily around the Crossways Boulevard area, in the 6 week period prior to the PSPO taking effect. The operation, undertaken by the CSU team, Kent Special Constabulary and the Roads Policing Unit had put a number of Section 34 Dispersal Order Zone’s in place, record speeding offences and issue Section 59 warnings, which enabled the police to seize vehicles of owners committing further ASB offences in following 12 month period;

·         Following Operation Wallabies, further target hardening of the Crossways Boulevard area was undertaken by Kent Police via dedicated Special Constables, and the Council’s Local Authority Support Officers (Kingdom) who issued some 36 FPNs and over 40 Community Protection Warnings [report paras 3.7 and 3.8 refer];

·         In continuance of the Council’s robust response to the PSPO an Artificial Intelligence (AI) camera had been installed at Crossways Boulevard on 27 October 2022, supported by an ANPR camera [report para 3.9 refers]. Since those camera installations, neither KP nor the CSU had received any calls from residents in relation to noise caused by nuisance vehicles at the location to date.


The Chairman thanked the CSM for her update report and congratulated the Council’s CSU team and Kent Police for implementing a significantly successful PSPO in the period under review, which was now acknowledged as a template for such Orders across Kent.

Members joined  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Kent & Medway Police and Crime Panel (PCP) Update pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive an update from Dartford’s PCP Representative Councillor R J Wells, Cabinet portfolio Holder for Community Safety & Youth and note the attached PCP Minutes for June and September 2022.

Additional documents:


The Committee received a verbal update from Dartford’s Representative on the PCP Councillor Richard Wells, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety & Youth, following his attendance at the last Panel meeting on 1 February 2023.


Members were advised that the principal item of business was the Panel’s discussion and agreement of the Council Tax precept for the ensuing 2023-24 fiscal year, including approval of the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC’s) request for a £15 p.a. increase for a band D property to:


·       Maintain current levels of police officers [at an historic high for Kent] and police support staff;

·       Maintain the current police cadet programme;

·       Continue the current capital investment programme in police stations across Kent.


The increase had been approved by the Panel on a unanimous basis following significant discussion, but some Members had expressing concern over the increase given the enduring cost of living crisis facing residents.


Other significant areas of Panel discussion had included:


The PCC had advised the Panel that:

·       Kent Police Officer numbers were ahead of national target and projected to be an historic high of 4145 by March 2023;

·       In the latest Officer intake 34% were women and 20% from the BAME communities;

·       The number of County Line gangs in Kent had reduced from 82 in 2020 down to just below 30 at present;

·       The mini cadet programme now operated in 53 schools with some 600 pupils participating, with the senior cadet programme expected to increase to 450 participants. To date 27 former cadets had joined Kent Police in a variety of roles;

·       A schools education programme was to be rolled-out across Kent schools in February, focussing on ‘healthy relationships’ and ‘online harms’ following on from KP’s enquiry into Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).  

Neighbourhood Policing Review

A staff consultation had been completed in January 2023 but discussions remained on-going and at a sensitive stage concerning final PCSO numbers in the new model and when it would come into operation.



Contacting Kent Police

Discussion had been prompted by the poor performance of the 101 service and how it might be improved in the face of an increase in 999 calls and increasing vacancies in the Police Control Room.

In response to the Panel’s concerns [and those of residents], the PCC advised that;

·       Recruitment had increased and retention following the latest training courses also increased;

·       The Chief Constable had allocated 35 Officers to the Control Room for 6 months to assist with 101 calls with unanswered calls reducing as a consequence;

·       There had been an increase in Online Crime Reporting and Live Chat, which was more efficient as call handlers can deal with 6 live chats simultaneously;

It was proposed that Panel Members visit the Control Room in the coming months to observe the improvements.

Victims Voice

The Commissioner updated the Panel regarding his new ‘Victims Voice’ initiative, a one-stop shop operation which: 

-                 Outlined the Victims’ Code, what rights victims had and what they should expect when they contact the police (12 points);

-                 The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


2023 Committee Work Plan Update pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:


The report from the Committee Co-ordinator attached at Appendix A an updated Work Plan and agenda for the Committee’s next meeting on 26 July 2023.


Members were advised that the timing of the 2023 Strategic Assessment and Mid-Year Performance report items presently scheduled for the July 2023 meeting [Appendix A refers], remained to be confirmed, given the ongoing data-sourcing issues for the new single Dartford CSP.


In subsequent discussion, Members asked that two further reports be added to the current Work Plan [in addition to the 2023 Refresh – Min. No. 27 refers]:


·         VAWG

·         Victim Support




1.    That Members note the updated Work Plan [Appendix A to the report];

2.    That additional reports be added to the current WP as minuted above.







That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended), the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information supplied to the Council on an ‘In Confidence’ basis.


Dartford Community Safety Partnership (DCSP) Strategic Assessment 2022


The covering report from the Community Safety Manager (CSM) enclosed at Appendix A to the report [Item A in the EXEMPT agenda papers], the Dartford Community Safety Partnership’s (DCSP) draft Strategic Assessment (SA) 2022 document, which had been considered and agreed by the CSP at its meeting on 25 January 2023.


The CSM presented her report and Appendix as read and offered to respond to any individual questions Members might have. She also advised that the new ‘Serious Violence Duty’ would be reflected in the CSP’s 2023 Strategy Refresh document [due to be considered by the Committee in July 2023].


The Chairman and Members congratulated the CSM for compiling a comprehensive 2022 SA document detailing crime and ASB committed in the Borough in the period 1 November 2021 to 31 October 2022 and the measures undertaken by CSP partners to combat those offences, including some significant areas of success.


The Shadow Leader of the Council, supported by the Chairman and several other Members, repeated her frustration that the data contained in the annual SA document could not be shared with the public, to help re-assure residents and advertise ‘success stories’.


The CSM repeated her previous advice to the Committee that the data contained in the CSP’s annual SA documents was provided to the Council by a number of CSP partner agencies under a confidentiality agreement, and as a consequence could not be made public. Public disclosure also held the inherent risk that the sources/origins of some of the data could be discerned/disclosed to criminal elements if published. However, the CSP’s 2022-25 Strategy and Annual Refresh documents were in the public domain, including on the Council website as part of the Committee’s agenda papers. She also noted and thanked the relevant Member for the error he had spotted in the 2022 SA [page 53 refers] regarding the stated increase in Dartford’s population which was 10,940 not 109,400.


In response to further questions from individual Members, the District Commander confirmed the following points:


·         The Dartford Police Officer/PCSO team were not tasked with policing the Dartford Tunnel or the QE II Bridge, ordinarily or in times of crisis. The Tunnel was the responsibility of the Tactical Command Unit of Kent Highways Police, and the QE II Bridge was the responsibility of the Essex Force;

·         He was not aware of any specific data regarding sexual offences committed solely in Dartford but undertook to check;

·         He was not aware of any proposed increases in police officer numbers for Dartford [given the Borough’s expanding population see above]. Changes in operational demand fell within the Chief Constable’s remit, and Dartford’s situation would be considered as part of the policing demand for Kent as a whole.




1.    That Members note the report and the contents of the Dartford Strategic Assessment 2022 attached as Appendix A [EXEMPT Item A in the agenda papers], as approved by the CSP at its meeting on 25 January 2023.




In response to a Member’s concern over a perceived spike in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.