Housing & Community Safety Select Committee (ceased to operate 03/06/2015) Minutes

Thursday, 16th October, 2014
Jim Cooke Conference Suite, Stockton Central Library, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1TU
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Cllr Derrick Brown(Vice-Chairman), Cllr Michael Clark, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Phillip Dennis, Cllr David Wilburn
Steven Hume (Community Safety Manager), Peter Mennear, Jenna McDonald(LD)
In Attendance:
Cllr Norma Stephenson OBE, (Chair of Police and Crime Panel), Barry Coppinger (Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland), Gordon Lang, Louise Solomon (Cleveland Police)
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Julia Cherrett, Cllr Robert Gibson
Item Description Decision
The evacuation procedure was noted.
AGREED that the minutes were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
AGREED that the minutes be approved.
AGREED that the information be noted, and the requested information be provided.
AGREED that the information be noted.


There were no declarations of interest.
The minutes of the meeting held on 24th July 2014 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Consideration was given to the draft minutes of the meeting held on 18th September 2014.

Cllr Evaline Cunningham highlighted that the minutes from the meeting held on 18th September 2014 did not reflect the strength of feeling about sanctions expressed by Members at the meeting.
Members received a presentation from a Chief Superintendent from Cleveland Police. Key points were highlighted as follows:

- Cleveland Police were experiencing financial difficulties, It was heard that approximately £26m of real term cuts would have been made over a four year period, April 2011 to March 2015

- It was vital that an organisational structure that was both affordable and fit for purpose was designed

- It was highlighted that in the past, Cleveland Police had four Basic Command Units (BCU) based on localities, but this had been changed so that there were now a number of Force-wide commands so that resources could be used flexibly.

- Cleveland Police aimed at designing processes that tackled issues right first time, on time, every time which relied heavily on the quality of service which was delivered. Members heard that as much emphasis was placed on skills and knowledge as processes and systems.

- Specialist departments such as the Traffic Section and Dog Section also delivered a generic police service by attending to calls which did not relate to their specific department when necessary

- Changes to Police Prioritisation briefings had been changed from locality-based morning meetings to a centralised system with video conferencing at 9.30am every morning. The conference focussed on key factors of threat, risk and harm over the past 24 hours, and enabled the Police to respond to issues across the Force area.

- The Detective resource within Cleveland had been split into 60% within Integrated Neighbourhood Teams and 40% in the central Major Crimes Team. The 60% focussed on crimes such as burglary and criminal damage while the 40% focussed on crimes such as rape, sexual assault and murder.

- There were many benefits of Police Community Support Officer's (PCSO) which included knowledge of areas and local people in those areas. PCSO knowledge often helped to find a lead in crime investigations. It was heard that PCSO's were vital and a great resource

- Cleveland Police received a positive report from the National College of Policing for the management of offenders.

The following points and questions were raised by Members:

- How do you define Neighbourhood Policing?
- How does the rotation in PCSOs affect the service to local people?
- Have we lost the Specialism which was in place with the Crime Prevention Team?
- How could travel time between parade locations and patrol areas be tackled and reduced?
- Is ASB regarded as being a Council issue?
- Neighbourhood Police Officers are no longer as visible as in the past
- What targets have and have not been met when reviewing key performance indicators?
- How do Cleveland Police manage public expectations?
- What collaboration with other forces has taken place?

The representatives from Cleveland Police responded to the questions that had been raised as follows:

- It was highlighted that Neighbourhood Police Officers were now used more flexibly to tackle demand-led priorities. Visibility and access remained important, but the Committee were informed that Neighbourhood Officers did not only deal with Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and community meetings, for example; they attended to a variety of things to help the service as a whole. This included a response to aspects of the protection of vulnerable people, including child sexual exploitation (CSE), hate crime, and domestic violence. CSE for example was a national policing priority, but the perpetrators lived in local communities and therefore it was a neighbourhood issue. In conclusion, it was highlighted that Neighbourhood Officers had a multi-functional role and delivered quality service to local people.

- Ideally PCSO's are employed in one area for as long as possible to maintain routine and confidence in the local people however reductions in numbers and retirements unavoidably resulted in disturbance and an increase in rotation. PCSO's were extremely proud to serve in their local community. It was heard that overwhelmingly positive feedback was received about PCSOs

- The Crime Prevention Specialist Team still existed, Members were to be provided with a contact number of the centralised Crime Prevention Team.

- Future meetings were in place to discuss Hubs in Ingleby Barwick for Neighbourhood Officers to use to reduce travel time. This could be repeated elsewhere. It was understood that similar issues around Norton and Billingham had been resolved to an extent, but there would be a need to officers to receive briefings in a central place.

- It was highlighted that ASB was a multi-agency problem and not only a problem for the Council to deal with. Reference was made to good joint working in the local area.

- Although Neighbourhood Police were not as visible as in the past it was highlighted that people should not underestimate what was being done just because it is not seen. Reference was made to the wider functions of neighbourhood policing as had been noted earlier, but also organised crime and community drug enforcement.

- Members were informed that as of September 2014 there were 639 less crimes than in previous years, however ASB was rising. It was recognised that there was potential under-reporting of issues such as hate crimes.

- The Committee heard that communicating with local people about the new role of Neighbourhood Policing Teams played a vital part in managing expectations of the community. Members expressed concern over the relatively few numbers of officers now available to Neighbourhood Teams.

- There had been a range of collaborations such as the serious and organised crimes collaboration and the Forensic Unit which was joint with seven forces. It was likely that in the future, collaboration’s would be made between Cleveland, Durham and North Yorkshire Police. There was also potential for multi-agency Safeguarding in the future. It was highlighted that a lot could be gained from working together. The Police and Crime Commissioner noted that it was important that shared services took place at a pace that suited all parties. Members noted there was room for improvement in joint police procurement.

Members noted that they had previously received police prevention updates with Superintendents twice a year. This suggestion was taken on board and would look to be reinstated with the Chief Inspector for Stockton’s Neighbourhood Team.

Members were presented with information leaflets from the Police and Crime Commissioner(PCC) for Cleveland which included information on:

- Criminal Justice Volunteer Fair - The Committee heard that the volunteer fair was due to take place for the second time running in 2014 due to the success of the fair held in 2013. The fair was to be held at Teesside University on Tuesday 4th November 2014.

- Commissioner's Police and Crime Plan for Cleveland/10 things you need to know about the PCC for Cleveland.

- Cleveland Connected, Members heard that Cleveland Connected was a crime and Community Safety messaging and advice system operated by Cleveland Police working in partnership with other relevant community safety organisations, agencies and a variety of Watch schemes. A form was available to complete on the reverse of the leaflet. Members requested further copies of the leaflets.

The PCC stated that he supported the new model for Neighbourhood Policing. It was heard that retaining and developing Neighbourhood Policing is one of the key objectives alongside many more. The Commissioner outlined a number of initiatives to support community policing including an awards scheme, use of the Property Act Fund and proceeds of crime in local communities, and greater voluntary participation.

The following points were also highlighted:

- Reference had been made to Special Constables increasing. This required investment in training, and the Chief Constable wanted Specials to be indistinguishable from other officers. Training standards were higher and more people were gaining extra skills, which could be used on their journey to becoming officers and PCSOs

- Over 700 people had benefited from the work carried out around Restorative Justice. The Commissioner would be seeking to engage closely and hold to account whoever delivered probation services in the future.

It was noted that Middlesbrough had received praise for its retail crime work.

The Community Safety Manager reassured Members that although significant changes had taken place in Neighbourhood Policing, the service remained effective and Stockton on Tees was the safest place in the Tees Valley.
It was noted that the following items would be presented at the next meeting on 27th November 2014:

Review of Neighbourhood Policing
Smoking Cessation Update
Q1/2 Monitoring
The Chair provided no update.

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