Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Cleveland Police and Crime Panel Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 4th February, 2020
Time:
5:00 p.m.
Place:
Cleveland Room 1, Community Safely Hub, Cliffland Way, Hemlington, Middlesbrough, TS8 9GL
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Norma Stephenson OBE (Chair), Cllr Barrie Cooper, Cllr Graham Cutler, Cllr Dave Hunter, Cllr Chris Jones, Paul McGrath, Cllr Steve Nelson, Cllr Vera Rider, Cllr Tony Riordan (Substitute for Cllr Matthew Vickers) and Cllr Matthew Storey.
Officers:
Julie Butcher, Gary Woods, Peter Bell (Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council).
In Attendance:
Barry Coppinger (Police and Crime Commissioner), Simon Dennis, Liz Byrne, Michael Porter (Commissioner’s Office), Chief Constable Richard Lewis, Detective Superintendent Lisa Theaker (Cleveland Police).
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Lee Cartwright, Mayor Andy Preston, Cllr Matthew Vickers and Cllr Steve Walmsley.
Item Description Decision
Public
PCP
41/19
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were given.

It was noted that the training date for the Panel would be 9 June 2020.

The Panel was also informed that interviews would take place in the near future for applicants for the Non-Political Independent Member.
PCP
42/19
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest.
PCP
43/19
MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 12 NOVEMBER 2019
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2019 be agreed.
PCP
44/19
MEMBERS’ QUESTIONS TO THE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER
 
PCP
45/19
POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER’S UPDATE
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
PCP
46/19
PROGRAMME OF ENGAGEMENT
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
PCP
47/19
DECISIONS OF THE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
PCP
48/19
POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER’S SCRUTINY PROGRAMME
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
PCP
49/19
TASK AND FINISH GROUP - OVERALL BUDGET STRATEGY
RESOLVED that the proposal of the Police and Crime Commissioner to set the Band D Police Element of the Council Tax within Cleveland for 2020/21 at £260.54. This is an increase of £10, or 3.99% over the 2019/20 level be endorsed.
PCP
50/19
PRECEPT PROPOSALS FOR 2020/21
RESOLVED that the Panel supports the Commissioner’s proposal to set the Band D Police Element of the Council Tax within Cleveland for 2020/21 at £260.54. This is an increase of £10, or 3.99% over the 2019/20 level.
PCP
51/19
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PANEL 2019/20
RESOLVED that the Panel Chair agree an initial draft that would then be presented to the meeting of the Panel on 7 July 2020 for any comments and signing off by Members.
PCP
52/19
PUBLIC QUESTIONS
It was reported that a Public Question had been received but it was outside of the scope for Public Question the correspondence from the member of the public was however handed over to the Commissioner for his consideration.
PCP
53/19
FORWARD PLAN
RESOLVED that the Forward Plan be noted.
PCP
54/19
POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER ACHIEVEMENT REPORT
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
5.00 pm to 7.00 pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
PCP
43/19
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2019.
PCP
44/19
The following question had been submitted by Councillor Barrie Cooper for response by the PCC:-

“Commissioner as you will be aware Middlesbrough Children’s Services has been listed as Inadequate by the Ofsted Inspector, part of the inspection mentioned failings of communication between MBC and Partners in part this relates to Police.

Can we work together to improve communications between Police and Children’s Social Services to ensure our children are safeguarded with special attention given to referral’s from the Police to Social Services for children at risk, children missing from home, children with disabilities who may be considered vulnerable or children in Police Custody?”

The PCC responded with:-

“I’m aware that the Council has an Immediate Improvement Plan that is being developed in response to Ofsted concerns. I’m aware that the Immediate Improvement Plan will feed into a Service Improvement Plan Board at the Council. The Head of the Force Safeguarding Team will sit on the Service Improvement Board. I hope there will be a close working relationship at a senior level with the Council and the Force.”

Councillor Chris Jones asked a subsequent question around a vulnerable girl that had absconded from Redcar to Hartlepool and the service that had been provided by the 101 service. The Chair responded that as the Commissioner had not had prior notice of this question, a response should be prepared and sent to Councillor Chris Jones. The Commissioner referred to the Scrutiny minutes from 5 December 2019 and the improvements that were being made to the Force Control Room.
PCP
45/19
Consideration was given to a report that provided Members with a summary update on progress since the meeting in September 2019.

The report highlighted the following key areas:-

- Investing in Our Police
- A Better Deal for Victims
- Tackling Offending and Reoffending
- Working Together to Make Cleveland Safer
- Securing the Future of Our Communities

With regard to Investing in Our Police it was noted that a separate report would be provided to the Panel which detailed this and the precept proposals. It was also noted that the Force had developed and were starting to deliver the initial changes to address the HMICFRS report published in September 2019.

The Chief Constable had set priorities to focus on Vulnerability, Demand and Neighbourhood Policing which were regularly reviewed through the newly established monthly Service Improvement and Performance Board. Updates were provided and scrutinised through monthly PCC meetings and regular interventions made from HMICFRS.

The scope and scale of activity was significant and on-going, high level key achievements to date were included within the report.

Since the last report the PCC, Chief Constable and respective officers had attended the second Police Performance and Oversight Group. The group was chaired by HMI Chief Inspector Sir Tom Winsor and included representation from the Home Office, College of Policing and other forces also being monitored by the process.

Within the meeting the Chief Constable presented an updated summary of progress to date and formally requested support from the NPCC and College of Policing.

Members discussed the issue of NEAS and if the Cleveland part of the service could move back to Cleveland from Tyneside. The Commissioner outlined that he felt the service was failing the Cleveland area and that he believed that it would benefit the area if part of NEAS did re-locate to Cleveland.

The issue of rise in police reported crime figures was discussed and whether this was a good news or not. The Chief Constable reported that this was good news as it meant that Cleveland Police were now being more proactive in the communities. Cleveland Police were now using their ‘Stop and Search’ powers a lot more. The linked arrest rate was up 22% which was in-line with the national average. Members felt that it was essential that this good news storey was picked up as part of Cleveland Police’s communication strategy.

A request was made for Probation Officers to attend the Safer Stockton Partnership on a regular basis.

Reference was to domestic abuse and that the issue should be gender neutral. It was felt that there was under-reported reporting by male victims.

With regard to the HAT programme it was noted that it would run until October 2020. After that it was hoped that the programme would be continued possibly with the use of assets and funds that have been seized by Cleveland Police.
PCP
46/19
Consideration was given to a report that provided a brief update in relation to consultation and engagement activity of the PCC between December 2019 and January 2020.

The PCC’s consultation and engagement activities focused on increasing understanding of the policing and community safety needs of the communities of Cleveland, ensuring that strategic planning effectively delivers the policing service that communities required.

The work undertaken with the community supported all areas of the Police and Crime Plan but had a focus on ‘Securing the Future of Our Communities.

The PCC attended a number of meetings on a regular basis with key partners, stakeholders and residents from across the Cleveland area.

In addition to this the PCC attended many regional and national meetings representing Cleveland.

The following meetings were planned:-

• 14th February - Serious Violence Conference - Hartlepool
• 17th February - Tees Rural Crime Forum - Community Safety Hub
• 19th February - North East Sex Workers Learning Forum - Middlesbrough

Members requested that the Communications Strategy for Cleveland Police be put on the agenda for consideration at a future meeting of the Panel.

Members felt that the work of Sergeant Cookson had had a good impact on the fight against off-road motorbikes. The use of drones in the fight against off-road motorbikes was also discussed by Members.
PCP
47/19
Consideration was given to a report that provided an update on decisions made by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the Forward Plan.

The Police and Crime Commissioner made all decisions unless specifically delegated within the Scheme of Consent / Delegation. All decisions demonstrated that they were soundly based on relevant information and that the decision making process was open and transparent.

A copy of the Forward Plan was attached to the report and published on the PCC website which included items requiring a decision in the future.

Each decision made by the PCC was recorded on a decision record form with supporting background information appended. Once approved it was published on the PCC website.

Decisions relating to private / confidential matters would be recorded; although, it may be appropriate that full details were not published.

Decisions made since the last meeting of the Police and Crime Panel were attached to the report.
PCP
48/19
Consideration was given to a report that gave an update on the PCC’s scrutiny programme.

Holding the Chief Constable to account was the key duty of the Police & Crime Commissioner and must encompass all of the functions of the Chief Constable and functions of those who were under the Chief Constable’s direction and control.

The PCC had a range of scrutiny approaches in place to engage with the Chief Constable and hold Cleveland Police to account. These took place on a daily, weekly and monthly schedule and include a range of meetings, data and feedback from partners and the public.

Changes were made to the scrutiny regime in July 2019 that resulted in a thematic approach to scrutiny across the priorities within the Police and Crime Plan and a greater depth of information was provided by Cleveland Police in order for the PCC to hold the force to account. The new approach could be seen in the sharper questioning and clearer minutes which were attached to the report.

The processes would continue to develop and it had been made clear that there would be greater use of independent scrutiny approaches such as Internal Audit (Joint Independent Audit Committee), internal scrutiny panels such as the Out of Court Disposals, the Use of Force and Domestic Abuse Scrutiny Panels as well as identifying those services which would benefit from a wider multi agency scrutiny approach.

Wider scrutiny arrangements were also in place including:

• Ethics Committee
• Feedback from complaints
• Issues raised at community meetings and focus groups

Since the previous Police and Crime Panel meeting the following meetings had taken place and the minutes were attached to the report:-

• 18 November 2019
• 2 December 2019
• 13 January 2020

Since the last update to the Panel there had been a Working Together meeting on the 15 December 2019. The minutes were also attached to the report.

In addition to the meetings above, the Commissioner continued to attend the following to complement his scrutiny programme:

• Daily review of the Control Room and Serious Incident Logs;
• Weekly accountability meetings with the Chief Constable;
• Attend at least one local area meeting in each of Cleveland’s neighbourhood police team areas.
PCP
49/19
Members were informed that the Task and Finish Group for the Review of the Overall Budget Strategy had met immediate prior to the meeting of the Panel.

The Task and Finish Group was established to understand the key issues and financial pressures as part of the budget setting process in order to inform the work of the Panel and PCC.

The Task and Finish Group met to receive information about the Police and Crime Commissioner’s overall budget strategy for 2020/21. Discussion took place about funding and planning assumptions, total funding projections and funding pressures.
PCP
50/19
A report from the Commissioner regarding the proposed precept for the financial year 2020/21 was considered by the Panel.

The Commissioner indicated that he had taken into account the following in making his proposal on the precept for 2020/21:-

• The views of the public of Cleveland
• The financial impact on the people of Cleveland.
• The financial needs of the organisation as currently projected both for 2020/21 and in the future.
• The limits imposed by the Government on a precept increase before a referendum would be triggered in Cleveland.

The Commissioner also indicated that he had discussed his proposals with the Chief Constable and had engaged and consulted with the public on the options available to him.

The 2020-21 Police Finance Settlement was announced on 22 January in a written statement by the Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse.

Publication of the Police Finance Settlement was delayed due to the December 2019 general election, with Home Office ministers opting to go straight to a final settlement in the new year. This decision meant that there was no provisional settlement or consultation over the Christmas period.

Prior to the 2020-21 settlement publication policing was expecting an additional £750m for recruitment of 6,000 officers (towards the 20,000 total). Force allocations of officer numbers had already been published and had been calculated pro-rata to core grant. In return for this additional money the Treasury had asked the Home Office to find £120m of savings from within their budget.

As there was no Provisional Police Settlement provided by the Government in relation to 2020/21, with the first indication of the Police Settlement for 2020/21 given on the 22nd January 2020 - this provided the PCC with just over 1 week to propose a precept to the Police and Crime Panel, in line the statutory requirements to do so, and almost no time to plan a budget, consult with the public and ensure that all of the financial plans align with the operational plans of the Force.

The Government announced that “We are giving police forces £700 million for the recruitment of 6,000 additional officers by the end of March 2021, which represents an increase of almost 10% of the core grant funding provided last year. Assuming full take up of precept flexibility, overall funding for Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will increase by £915 million to £13.1 billion next year.”

The main points within the settlement were as follows:

- £50m of the £750m retained centrally to support recruitment of officers
- Of the remaining £700m - £532m will be provide via un-ring-fenced core grant, with the remaining £168m ring-fenced for successfully meeting recruitment targets.
- No other inflationary increases in core grant
- Resulting in a 7.5% increase in core funding
- £92m (9%) increase in reallocations to over £1.1bn in 2020-21
- Flat cash pension grant allocations compared to 2019-20
- Reduction of 74% to capital grant funding to PCCs
- Ending of the Police Transformation Fund
- Precept flexibility of up to £10 for all PCCs (or equivalents) in 2020-21.

The Minister’s Statement went on to say that, in return for the additional £1.1bn invested in policing the Home Office expected:

- Forces to recruit the additional 6,000 officers by the end of March 2021
- A further planned £30m savings from procurement in 2020-21
- Continued improvements in digital, data and technology solutions to maximise the benefits of mobile working.
- Continue to pursue best values from the investment in police technology. The Home Office will work with the sector in the coming year to draw up a detailed plan which will be overseen by the, ministerially -chaired, Strategic Change and Investment Board (SCIB)

This meant for Cleveland in 2020/21 in terms of Funding:

• An increase in Police Grant of £6,380k or 7.5%
• Up to £2,015k from the ring-fenced grant for the officer uplift - linked to the recruitment of 72 FTE Police Officers by the end of March 2021
• Police Pension Grant remains at £1,324k
• A reduction of £388k or 74% in Capital Grant

Based on the increase in precept being proposed then the overall impact on the Core funding for the organisation was set to increase by 7.9%.

The forecast average increase in Revenue funding across England and Wales was, subject to all areas experiencing a 1.33% increase in tax base, and increasing their precept by £10, 7.84%.

Cleveland had seen an increase of 7.86% and therefore was slightly above the average level of increase.

The highest increase in total revenue funding, as a result of this settlement, within the country, excluding the City of London Police, was expected to be in Northumbria at 9.26%, with lowest expected to be 6.79% in Surrey. These increase assume that both areas increase the precept by £10 and that the tax base in both areas had increased by 1.33%.

The funding position for 2021/22 would be set out and determined as part of the Spending Review that would be undertaken in 2020.

It was recognised that as part of the written ministerial statement the government stated the following:

The Government had committed £750 million to enable the recruitment of 6,000 additional officers. To manage the delivery of this uplift £168 million had been ring fenced which would be paid to forces in line with their progress in recruiting the 6,000 additional officers by March 2021, and making the relevant infrastructure improvements needed to recruit the 20,000 additional officers by March 2023. Funding would be released quarterly and in arrears subject to evidence on their progress

It was possible therefore that future settlements won’t be on a similar scale to the current one and that all enabling and infrastructure cost, so estates, IT and fleet, to support the full 20,000 National Uplift may, from the Governments perspective, had already been included in this settlement. There were no references within the settlement to the Funding Formula and any review of this.

Top-slices / Reallocations totalling £1,121m had been announced for 2020/21. This was £92m, or 9% higher than 2018/19. The areas this funding would now be spent on, instead of being allocated to PCC’s were detailed within the report.

Of the £80.9m earmarked for special grant, £26.3m was understood to be reserved for costs associated with Hillsborough, leaving £54.6m for special grant. A reduction of £18.4m on the previous year, which had been higher to accommodate the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.

The allocations for force Serious Violence Surge Funding were expected to be released separately.

The report highlighted the following areas of funding:

- Police Transformation Fund (PTF)
- Pensions Grant
- Council Tax Legacy Grant
- National and International Capital City Grant (NICC)
- Capital Funding
- Counter Terrorism
- Ministry of Justice Grants
- LTFP Assumptions

Based on the revised assumptions, and the information received and forecast around other areas of funding, then the entire funding expected to be available to the Commissioner for the next 4 years, in comparison to 2019/20 was detailed within the report.

As a result of the Government Grant settlements being significantly better than expected, and the Governments policy to significantly increase, and fund, the number of Police Officers across the country, then the overall funding available to the PCC was significantly higher than projected in February 2019 by nearly £7.8m.

This therefore provided a significant opportunity to invest in Policing within 2020/21 and beyond, providing that the Government continue to provide PCC’s with sufficient funding, to not only increase Police Officer numbers but also the additional funding required to enable this to happen and deal with the increases in work that more Officers would generate in other parts of the Force.

The financial impact of the increase and the proposed council tax rate for each property band was detailed within the report.

Given the late publication of the funding settlement and the precept limits for policing PCC’s had very little time to undertake consultation with the public around this vitally important area. The PCC had however undertaken a survey via the PCC website to inform the precept proposal and the consultation results were detailed within the report.

The Commissioner had considered various options and various factors in deliberating on his proposal for precept in 2020/21. The Commissioner had taken into account the needs for the continued delivery of Policing and Crime services within Cleveland. The Commissioner had spoken with the Chief Constable and had consulted with the public. Based on these views and the financial needs of the organisation over the medium term the Commissioner formally propose a precept increase of £10 on a Band D property for 2020/21.

This option was supported by nearly 64% of people who responded to the consultation on the proposed increase. This option should provide sufficient funding to underpin the financial needs of the organisation for 2020/21 and accelerate the recruitment of Police Officers into the Force, in comparison to the Governments timeframes, with 55 FTE more Police Officers being recruited in 2020/21 than the 72 FTEs than the Government were initially funding.

The proposed precept increase would enable the Commissioner, amongst other things, provide sufficient levels of funding to the Chief Constable to support the plans and structures that the Force had articulated to the Commissioner that they need to support the delivery of the Police and Crime Plan, this included all of the posts that the Chief Constable had indicated as required to provide the necessary support and resilience to address the concerns raised within the HMICFRS report.

To aid the Panel in considering the proposal on Precept the following were attached to the report:

• Draft Budget based on a the proposed Precept Increase
• Draft Capital Budget
• Full details of the Precept Consultation

The Panel had already considered a report from its Task and Finish Group. The Task and Finish Group was established to understand the key issues and financial pressures as part of the budget setting process in order to inform the work of the Panel and PCC.

The Task and Finish Group supported the proposal of the PCC to set the Band D Police Element of the Council Tax within Cleveland for 2020/21 at £260.54. This was an increase of £10, or 3.99% over the 2019/20 level.

Members considered the precept report regarding the Commissioner’s proposal, and the Panel concluded by agreeing that the proposal should be supported.
PCP
51/19
Consideration was given to a report on the production of an Annual Report for the Police and Crime Panel for 2019/20 and its contents.

The production of a Police and Crime Panel Annual Report provided a useful reference document for the public setting out the role and responsibilities of the Panel in plain English and also highlighting key activities and achievements over the past year. It was proposed that the Report for 2019/20 would be set out as follows:

• Chair’s Foreword
• What is the Cleveland Police and Crime Panel?
• Panel Membership
• Panel Role and Responsibilities
• The Panel’s Core Programme
• Key Activities and Achievements (including the work of Task and Finish Groups)
• Membership 2019/20
• The Police and Crime Panel and the Public Contacts and Further Information

The Panel was asked to authorise the Panel Chair, to agree an initial draft that will then be presented to the meeting of the Panel on 7 July 2020 for any comments and signing off by Members.
PCP
52/19
Members were informed that there were no Public Questions.
PCP
53/19
Members were presented with the Forward Plan for the Panel.
PCP
54/19
The Panel was presented with a report that detailed the key achievements of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland 2012-20.

The Commissioner was elected as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland in 2012 a role he believed had massive potential to make the area a much safer and better place to live, work and visit. The Commissioners main constraint was having the resources needed to do just that. The Commissioner saw every day the great bravery, loyalty, passion, goodwill, and enthusiasm from local officers, staff and volunteers as well as many professional and community partners. Collectively, all these resources make an immense contribution to make communities safer it just needed those in power nationally to give the Force the best chance to do so, by allocating Cleveland a fairer share of resources. For example, in 2019 Merseyside PCC was awarded £18m from ‘Serious Violence’ and ‘County Lines’ funding streams, where Cleveland missed out, through what the Commissioner believed were flawed funding formulas.

After nearly 10 years of government austerity, the recent announcement of additional investment for policing was welcomed. However, this new level of extra investment needed maintaining year on year, for the following three years at least, so Cleveland Police could grow officer and staff numbers by another third to where they were and needed to be. This would also allow further investment and development of more measures with partners up-stream to tackle the conditions in which crime develops.

The Commissioners general approach had been to make himself approachable and accessible to all. The Commissioner had worked with local communities for many years and local politicians, of all parties or none, the vast majority of whom the Commissioner enjoyed constructive working relationships with, and who understand and were honest about the challenges Cleveland Police faced, and scale and scope of actions needed to address them.

As well as austerity, Cleveland Police had faced various other challenges since 2012 and despite improvements being made and recognised earlier in my tenure, the recent judgements by HMICRFS were of significant concern. Inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour by a very small number had massive consequences for morale and confidence and distracted attention from the great work of our front-line officers and staff, of whom we should all be proud and who the Commissioner would always defend from unjustified criticism. Equally, the Commissioner had not shied away from his responsibility for scrutiny and challenge, and for taking appropriate strategic actions where required.

Cleveland Police was at a crucial turning point and significant improvements were being made, which the Commissioner believed would be driven forward by Chief Constable Richard Lewis.

The report sets out some of the Commissioners many achievements from his years as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland. The Commissioner was proud to have delivered a number of commitments from his various Police and Crime Plans, through a number of programmes that had brought together people from all walks in life, making a difference to the communities Cleveland Police served.

The report detailed the following:

1. Investing in our police:
2. Getting a Better Deal for Victims:
3. Reducing Reoffending:
Serious Violence
Heroin Assisted Treatment
Cleveland Divert
Youth Triage
4. Working together to keep Cleveland safer:
5. Developing Stronger Communities:
6. Scrutiny & holding to account:
7. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner:

They have made successful bids to the following funds:

- Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) Transformation Fund
- Early Intervention Youth Fund - Home Office
- Female Offender Fund - Ministry of Justice
- Modern Slavery Police Transformation Fund
- Domestic Abuse Whole System Approach
- Supported the development of the Domestic Abuse Navigator Bid covering Cleveland Durham and Darlington
- MoJ Competed Fund

Finally the Commissioner thanked the Chair, members and officers for supportively scrutinising his work. He considered the relationship a key strength, especially when reflecting on other arrangements across the country. The welcome contribution made had always been constructive and relevant, helping all to seek to do the very best for the people of Cleveland.

Members of the Panel thanked the Commissioner for all of his hard work over many years as the Commissioner for Cleveland.

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