Venue: Virtual Teams Meeting - Microsoft Teams. View directions
Apologies for Absence
All Members were noted to be present, with the exception of Cllr Hunt, who had made the Chairman aware he would be joining the meeting later.
The Chairman made Members aware that the Commissioner would not be attending the meeting, however welcomed the Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) to talk to the items on the agenda.
Declarations of Interest
To enable Members to declare to the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest they may have in any matter on the agenda for the meeting, where that interest is not already entered in their appointing authority’s register of interests, and any other pecuniary or personal interests in any such matter that Members may wish to consider disclosing.
Members were able to disclose to the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest they may have in any matter on the agenda for the meeting, where that interest is not already entered in their appointing authority’s register of interests, and any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests in any such matter that Members may wish to disclose.
No declarations were made.
To confirm the minutes from the previous meeting.
The Minutes from the 3 July 2020 meeting were confirmed as a correct record.
Questions and Deputations
To receive any questions or deputations in line with Rule 31 and 31A of the Panel’s Rules of Procedure.
The Panel received a deputation from James Cook, Claire Lidl and Cllr Matt Renyard in relation to the provision of policing and victim support in Southampton.
Following the deputation being heard the Chief Executive noted that whilst the Chief Constable is responsible for operational deployment, and the PCC for the wider strategic direction, the views shared were welcomed and would be reviewed by the Commissioner and his team for response.
The Chairman of the Plan Working Group further noted that this topical matter was already featured in the programme of the working group, and the maters raised through the deputation would be incorporated within the Panel’s work in this area.
To hear any announcements the Chairman may have for this meeting.
The Chairman welcomed Councillor Narinder Bains, who had been recently appointed to the Panel by Havant Borough Council.
Thanks were offered to the Chief Constable for attending the meeting, and also to her team, along with the OPCC, for providing a briefing to Members earlier that week regarding progress against recruitment of new police officers for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, funded through the council tax precept and the central government uplift.
Since the last meeting, it was noted that the Panel had made a contribution to a number of national consultations, including the review into the role of Police and Crime Commissioners, being led by the Home Office, and a consultation on the recent Police Complaint Reforms.
The Chairman made Members aware that he, along with the Panel’s supporting officer, attended a webinar led by the LGA which had updated Police and Crime Panels from across the county on a number of key matters of current importance. It was noted that a number of Panel Members would be joining the National Conference for Police and Crime Panels, which was taking place in November.
Members were informed that the Panel’s Democratic Support Officer had been invited to lead an online workshop later in the month, for recently appointed PCP Supporting Officers from a number of other Panels nationally. This was noted to be positive recognition of the work of the Panel and the support of its officers.
Finally the Chairman invited all those in attendance to join a minutes silence at 11am to remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Matt Ratana, who had recently been killed whilst on duty for the Metropolitan Police.
Police and Crime Commissioner's Announcements
To hear any announcements the Commissioner may have for the Panel.
In his absence, the Commissioner had made a video recording giving his announcements to the Panel.
It was heard that:
· Following the cancellation of the 2020 elections the Commissioner had committed to serve in his position for a further year.
· The outbreak of Covid-19 had significantly changed the way in which services to residents and communities were delivered and in order to address the challenges presented by the pandemic the Police and Crime Plan had been updated.
· Within the refreshed plan the Commissioner had made clear the priority for funding for policing, not only from within the local policing budget, of which over 98% was dedicated to operational policing, but also at a national level, with the PCC continuing to lobby for a fairer funding formula.
· The Commissioner’s annual report would be presented at item eight of the agenda, outlining not only successes achieved during the previous year but also planning for pressures for the year ahead, which would include the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, the changing nature of criminality and demands from communities to keep them safe.
· Focus would continue to be applied to the areas which presented the highest risk of threat and harm, encouraging vibrant, safe and inclusive communities and creating opportunities for improvement and sustainability in the recovery post Covid-19.
To receive a verbal update from the Commissioner and the Chief Constable regarding approaches taken across the Hampshire policing area in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Further, to allow Members to ask questions of the Commissioner to enable the Panel to understand both the financial and wider impacts of delivering policing and community safety during this time, to support the Panel in its preparation for the scrutiny of the proposed budget and precept for 2021/22.
Members received an update from the Chief Constable regarding policing during the Covid-19 pandemic, along with other matters raised by Panel Members in advance of the meeting, to support preparations for the Panel’s scrutiny of the Commissioner’s proposed precept in January. It was heard that:
· During the first national lockdown there had been a significant fall in the number of calls received into the Constabulary with a 25% reduction in calls to 999. During the same time a 700% uplift in online reporting of crimes had been observed. This shift to online reporting had enabled 101 waiting times to reduce and enabled the Constabulary to support more of its staff to work safely from home.
· Neighbourhood Policing Teams had shifted to significant online presence, with reduction of face-to-face policing. The force had seen 2.5 million engagements per week through their Facebook channels, opening up a two-way flow of communication.
· The drop in the night time economy had resulted in a reduction in the number serious violence and sexual offences occurring outside the home. However levels of domestic violence had increased both nationally and locally and there had been a 50% uplift in reports of child at risk referrals across the policing area since children had returned to school. Therefore an enhanced priority had been placed upon addressing home-based crime by the force.
· Other crimes had returned to normally observed levels since the end of the lockdown period. Some road safety measures, such as SpeedWatch had been curtailed during lockdown, for both volunteer safety and because of reduced road use, but Members had heard that this had since been resumed. It was recognised that there would be lost income from the scale back in driver awareness training, however any revenues generated from this were re-invested in enhancing road safety measures and therefore this would not have a detrimental effect on the policing budget.
· The force had received approximately 120-130 health calls per day in relation to health, wellbeing and Covid-19 concerns from local residents and had implemented specialist Covid cars to respond to such reports.
· On the whole residents across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight had acted in compliance with the Covid-19 rules and requirements, which was regarded to be a successful outcome by all involved and had seen infection rates remaining low across the policing area.
· The impact of the pandemic on the CJS was of significant concern. A royal commission had been announced by the government shortly before the outbreak of Covid-19 to look at the performance of the Criminal Justice System (CJS).
· Locally, at the point when the pandemic hit there were 1000 defendants awaiting charging, which was considered to be at normal levels, and volumes had been maintained at these levels despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. It was considered that this was in part due to the well-established and robustly managed out-of-court disposal service, funded by the Commissioner. However pressures were being felt elsewhere and an example was given of the rise from 2,500 to ... view the full minutes text for item 283.
To receive the Police and Crime Commissioner’s draft Annual Report for 2019/20.
Members received a draft copy of the Commissioners Annual report for 2019-20 and were invited to raise comments and recommendations in accordance with Section 28(4) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act.
The Chief Executive gave a brief overview of the content of the draft report and Members heard that:
· The commitment to recruit an additional 94 officers, as outlined within the Commissioner’s precept proposal had been met. In total approximately 600 new officers would be recruited before the end of the year to meet the central government uplift target, the additional officers funded through residents precept contributions and to meet any in-year attrition. This represented a 10-fold increase on normal recruitment levels and the efforts taken by the Constabulary in delivering this level of recruitment, particularly with the outbreak of Covid-19, was acknowledged by the Chief Executive.
· The Commissioner and his team were working alongside Hampshire Constabulary to support them in continuing to deliver effective and efficient policing throughout the pandemic.
· An investigation into misconduct by a small number of officers at the Constabulary at was ongoing, with information on the process being taken and the misconduct hearings expected to be made publicly available by Hampshire Constabulary later that day.
· The report highlighted how the projects outlined at and since the commencement of the Commissioner’s had delivered outcomes for local residents and enabled the PCC to reach into the communities he served.
In response to Members questions it was heard that:
· Support was offered by the Victim Care Service to anyone who requested it. Anyone who was identified as a victim of crime was contacted, with detail of what the service could offer, and this was offered cohesively across the criminal justice system. Comments from the Members offered encouragement to continue be clearer about the offer and the benefits it could provide.
· The Commissioner’s COMPASS meetings provided a valuable opportunity for the PCC and the Chief Constable to discuss issues raised by the public in a public forum. It was heard that, as well as being derived from direct contact with the PCC, questions were drawn from MP surgeries and from the PCC’s wider network. In response to Members challenge to make this opportunity more visible to the public, Members were invited to submit to the PCC any questions from their local residents or communities to be brought forth to a future session.
· £16k was outlined within the report for supporting actions around rural crime and would pay for an analysist. This funding had been lobbied for by the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) and the analysist’s focus would be to develop better intelligence for the CountryWatch team to use in their approach to tackling rural crime.
· Significant investment had been made in enabling restorative justice services to continue to operate digitally, since the outbreak of the pandemic.
· Suggestions for best practise were shared nationally with other PCC’s via the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC)
· The annual report would be produced digitally and made available online to ... view the full minutes text for item 284.
To receive a quarterly update from the Police and Crime Commissioner detailing delivery against his Police and Crime Plan.
Members received an update on delivery against the Police and Crime Plan 2020-2022. The Panel heard:
· The Commissioner had made funding available, through two small grants rounds, to provide support to communities affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Local organisations and community groups were able to make applications for funding of up to £500 to deliver immediate support and relief. A third round of this fund had recently been opened and in response to Members questions it was heard that learnings from each round had enabled later rounds to be more targeted towards local crime prevention, with those ineligible for funding signposted to other services.
· Some contracts for domestic abuse and sexual crime services had been extended as part of development work to create a single access point and single referral point for victims of sexual and domestic crime.
· A bid for a safer streets grant of £550,000 had been successful and would be invested in improving safety for residents in the Bargate area of Southampton. In response to Members questions it was heard that the Safer Streets fund was a significant investment opportunity available, and the office had been working in partnership with local authorities and community safety partnerships.
· Bitterne Police Station was to be reopened to provide additional policing capacity in Southampton, in light of the number of new officers joining the force this year. Attention was now to be focussed on the accommodation and deployment of officers within Portsmouth. It was noted that through his role the Commissioner was able to make effective and timely decisions, to support the Constabulary in enhancing the police estate to meet the needs of the force.
· A joint working group looking at support for and working alongside Gypsy, Roma and Travelling communities had recently been established, with several Panel Members appointed to the working group by their local authorities.
· Despite the impact of Covid-19, officers of the OPCC had been working remotely successfully and had an impactful quarter.
· The Panel’s newly appointed Equality and Diversity working group was welcomed and the OPCC looked forward to working alongside the Panel in its development. The Chief Executive thanked the Plan Working Group for their support in monitoring delivery of the plan and noted that he would be working with the Finance Working Group during the next quarter in the preparation for the budget and precept setting.
The Chief Executive finished by acknowledging the positive impact of all of the Panel’s working groups, highlighting the benefit added from looking in greater detail at the work being delivered the Commissioner and his office, than the main meeting would allow. The value of the expertise and experience shared by Panel Members at these meetings was also recognised by the Chief Executive.
Cllr Lee Hunt joined the meeting at this point.
The Chairman of the Plan Working Group, Cllr Simon Bound, provided an overview of the most recent meeting of the working group. Members heard that discussions at the meeting had included looking at the uplift of ... view the full minutes text for item 285.
To receive a verbal update from recent meetings of the Panel’s working groups.
To agree the appointment of an Equality and Diversity Working Group and the terms of reference for that working group.
Members received a report from the Democratic Support Officer to the Panel outlining draft Terms of Reference for an Equality and Diversity working group.
a) That the appointment of an Equality and Diversity working group is agreed.
b) That the terms of reference, subject to any recommendations made at the meeting, is agreed.
c) That, in accordance with the terms of reference, appointments are sought for membership of the working group.
The Chairman noted that at the previous meeting of the Panel, Councillors Diane Andrews, Simon Bound, Dave Shields and Mr Bob Purkiss expressed an interest in joining the working group and subsequent to her appointment to the Panel had also received interest from Cllr Narinder Bains. Membership was agreed accordingly and it was heard that the Democratic Service Officer would proceed with scheduling meetings of the working group on a quarterly basis.
To consider a report setting out the proposed future work programme for the Panel.
Members received a report from the Democratic Support Officer to the Panel setting out the proposed work programme for the Panel.
That the work programme is agreed.