To receive an update from the Council’s PCP representative Councillor R J Wells (Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety), and to note the draft Minutes of the Panel meeting held on 24 September 2019.
Members received a verbal update from the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety regarding discussion at the Kent Police and Crime Panel (PCP) meeting held on 6 February 2020, which he had attended in his role as Dartford representative.
PCP Members had discussed and agreed the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC’s) Plan, Associated Budget and Precept proposals for 2020/21, including approval of a proposed increase in the policing precept amounting to £10 per year or 5.2% increase in council tax on Band D properties. The measure would increase funding for Kent Police by an estimated £8.4M p.a. and be used by the PCC to:
· Recruit 36 new PCSOs across Kent to help tackle crime in 21 identified ‘hotspots’;
· 100 more police staff;
· 147 more police officers in year 1;
· a further 34 police officers in year 2 (by 31 March 2021) bringing Kent Police officer numbers up to its highest recorded level.
Panel discussion had also focussed on ‘County Lines’ activity across Kent, whereby young children and adolescents are directed and/or driven to other Counties and the Metropolis to deliver drugs. The Panel had agreed unanimously to support all/any measures to educate children to the dangers of participating in such activities, including the funding of more Youth Engagement officers to visit schools.
The PCC had also announced a new initiative for the formation of 10 new Police Cadet Units in Kent for 13-17 year olds, with one Unit to be located in Dartford. The Police Cadet curriculum focussed on team work and leadership skills, and prioritised engagement with vulnerable adolescents, and those who had already come into contact with the criminal justice system. Cadet Units were run on a voluntary basis and required venues for their activities.
The Cabinet Portfolio Holder had asked to be kept informed regarding the proposed Police Cadet Unit for Dartford and asked Members to consider possible locations in the Borough for its operation. Two initial suggestions from Members were Darenth Parish Council Hall and the Community Hall on the Tree Estate.
The District Commander added that he was aware of a further PCC initiative for a Mini Cadet Scheme for 10-13 year olds, and hoped to provide further details for the Committee when they became available later in the year.
In response to an expression of concern from a Member, the District Commander advised that proposed savings by Kent Police of some £9M would not impact on front-line policing. Savings would be achieved through improved partnership working in back-office functions across Kent, including economies of scale in procurement through the bulk purchasing of vehicles, equipment and uniforms.
The Chairman and Members thanked the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for his verbal update and noted the contents of the Minutes of the PCP meeting on 24 September 2019, as submitted in the agenda papers.
1. That Members note the summary of discussion provided by the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, regarding proceedings at the Kent Police and Crime Panel (PCP) meeting held on 6 February 2020, which he had attended as Dartford representative;
2. That Members note the contents of the published Minutes of the PCP meeting held on 24 September 2019 as presented in the agenda papers.