Crime and Disorder Select Committee Minutes

Thursday, 19th July, 2018
Jim Cooke Conference Suite, Stockton Central library, Church Road, Stockton, TS18 1TU
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Cllr David Wilburn(Chair), Cllr Paul Rowling(Vice-Chair), Cllr Carol Clark, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Cllr Kevin Faulks, Cllr Stephen Richardson, Cllr Barry Woodhouse
Satnam Singh(CS), Judith Trainer, Sarah Whaley(DCE)
In Attendance:
Dave Mead (VCAS), James Hadman (Catalyst)
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Julia Whitehill,
Item Description Decision
AGREED That the minutes be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
AGREED - that the information be noted.
AGREED - that the work programme be noted.


The evacuation procedure was noted.
There were no declarations of interest.
The Committee received a presentation from James Hadman (Catalyst) setting out the role of the independent charity which supported the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector in the Stockton Borough.

With regard to Hate Crime practical support included the following:

• The role of Catalyst was to act as a strategic focus on Hate Crime and other issues whilst acknowledging specialism in other agencies.

. It was highlighted that Catalyst supported organisations and not individuals.

• Hate crime was discussed at some Forums such as Multicultural, LGBT, Disability, however more time was spent on other issues.

• Issues surrounding Hate Crime was sometimes highlighted during 1:1 ‘relationship’ meetings with organisations - catalyst always strongly encouraged reporting any incident of Hate Crime.

•Training/awareness raising messages were often shared via eBulletin/social media.

•Large scale events such as Catalyst Conference for Awareness Raising.

•Direct and strong relationships with both Cleveland Police and SBC Community Safety.

•Disseminate Cleveland Safer Communities Network information via Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency

Hate Crime - Strategic support included:

• Representing the VCSE Sector in Stockton on the following bodies:

• Safer Stockton Partnership
• Stockton Multi-Agency Hate Crime Group
• Stockton Migration Partnership
• Teeswide Safeguarding Adults Board
• Stockton Local Safeguarding Children Board

. James Hadman expressed that in terms of strategic support, although Catalyst contributed to the Multi-Agency Hate Crime Group and the Migration Partnership it was much more important that those key organisations fed in information, such as; LGBT, and it was also really important Hart Gables attended as they had ‘on the ground’ knowledge whereas Catalyst could be considered to be a little further removed.

- The Committee were informed that the Chief executive of Catalyst, Steve Rose who sat on the majority of the strategic bodies fed information back to as many organisations as practicably possible. This worked really well at the VSCE Safeguarding Forum where Steve Rose used that platform as an opportunity for feedback on what had been happening at the strategic boards giving anyone in the voluntary sector the opportunity to challenge, and/or raise issues which in turn would be fed up to relevant organisations.

Future work planned included the following:

•Training Workshop on Catalysts VCSE Centre of Excellence Programme.

• There were plans for Catalyst to become a Hate Crime Reporting Centre and to encourage other community venues to follow.

•Catalyst Conference - 2nd November 2018 - Awareness Raising and workshop

• It was discussed that Catalyst would be open to suggestions during and following this lengthy review of Hate Crime and if there was anything Catalyst could do to add value to any of the findings / conclusions they would be happy to do so.

The main issues discussed were as follows:

•Training and awareness raising was more important for the wider sector rather than for the organisations specialising in support for victims of hate crime

• The important role of Third Party Reporting Centres to enable reporting by victims who did not want to report directly to the Police.

. The Committee were informed that the Hate Crime Group collated reports on a monthly basis from Stockton Borough Councils Flare system and Police and that information was amalgamated with Stockton Borough Councils partners.

•The role of Hate Crime Champions in the community had been exceptionally successful and an increase in Hate Crime reporting had been seen in Stockton.

. Members heard that the Hate Crime Action Plan for 2018-19 was in the process of being developed which would include the future work of catalyst becoming a Hate Crime Reporting Centre. Members were informed should they want to see the Action Plan this could be brought back to a future Committee meeting of the Crime and Disorder Select Committee.

• Details of VCSE Organisations supporting victims of hate crime would be provided to Committee Members to enable further discussion with the organisation directly involved.

Dave Mead (Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS)) explained to Committee Members that VCAS was a commissioned service providing an independent, confidential service irrespective of the crime type. The service worked hard to build confidence and trust within hard to reach groups and provided “hands on” support throughout the whole victim journey. There were six care officers operating across Cleveland and two operating within Stockton. The care officers reviewed all crime data seeking out vulnerabilities and making contact with victims.

Dave Mead felt that the service was not as effective in engaging with victims of hate crime where incidents were part of the night time economy and that there seemed to be an acceptance of hate crime in this environment. It was however felt that the service was more effective in working within neighbourhoods and communities. It was pointed out to the Committee that victims of hate crime were from a range of protected groups but that the perpetrators were usually from the same group (often young people). Working with the groups of perpetrators was key to tackling hate crime. Myth busting was used and restorative justice approaches had been particularly effective, especially post sentence. Bringing the harmed and the harmer together was extremely powerful.

The Committee heard two anonymised case studies of hate crime and the devastating impact this had had on the victims and their children and also how the support they received had helped them to regain confidence and feel valued. It was explained that the victims in the case studies would welcome the opportunity to share their experiences direct with Members of the Select Committee.

The main issued discussed were as follows:

•Victims did not require a huge amount of support; being shown acts of kindness, given a voice and feeling valued were key.

•The priority given by the Police and Crime Commissioner and Cleveland Police was recognised; in particular the employment of two dedicated Hate Crime Investigators

•In contrast to the national report released that day, citing poor response times from the Police nationally, Dave Mead advised that VCAS had not experienced the same problem in Cleveland and that VCAS only had cause to complain to the Police about lack of action on three to four occasions in the last three years.

•VCAS tended to contact victims a couple of days after an incident when victims would be more receptive to support however if required could respond immediately.

• Anonymised incident data and comparisons would be provided by VCAS to Committee Members.

• VCAS worked closely with the Regional Refugee Forum to identify community champions to help VCAS work with victims and provided help with translation. In 95% of cases someone in the community was able to help and the Service relied heavily on these community champions as a “segway”

. Some victims of Hate Crime were to participate in mystery shopping exercises at Hate Crime Reporting Centres, this was to ensure that the staff at those centres were equipped to give the correct help and information to victims of Hate Crime.

. Members were offered the opportunity to go out with Stockton’s Case Officer to meet victims of any crime types within their own Wards should they so wish.

•Third Party Reporting Centres had access to translation services commissioned by the Council.

.There had been a small number of Hate Crimes reported on social media.

• VCAS received direct referrals from Head teachers. Awareness raising in schools was critical, although the majority of issues tended to be at secondary school level, issues were now starting to materialise at primary schools. Work at Yarm Primary School was highlighted. Mill Lane Primary School and Bowesfield Primary School had also been awarded City of Sanctuary status.

. It was highlighted that Hart Gables (local LGBT charity) had developed a training arm which included Hate Crime awareness in schools to staff and pupils. Trans Aware also had something similar.

.The Education Improvement Service had provided guidance notes for schools and this could be considered at a future meeting.
The Committee reviewed the items to be considered at future meetings.
The Chair had nothing further to report.

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