Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel - Friday 25 March 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.

Minutes:

No declarations were made at the meeting

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2022 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

3.

Police and Crime Commissioner report

Minutes:

PCC Chris Nelson provided an oral update on his activities in recent weeks:

 

a)    Police resources – By 31 March 2022, the force would have grown by 159 posts.  This was helping to reduce neighbourhood crime (street robbery, house burglaries and vehicle crime) by 44% with overall anti-social behaviour down by 38%.

b)    Operational Model – Significant changes were happening with more than 40 officers being re-deployed to three Superintendent areas covering the six Districts.  This would provide more capability across the county  in terms combatting organised crime and drug dealing along with house burglary and vehicle theft.

c)    Operation Scorpion -  Involved  five forces in the South-West and had resulted in the seizure of drugs, 19 arrests and the disruption of two county line drug lines. £404K had been seized including £131K in cash.

d)    New performance review process - Led personally by the Chief Constable with a target of achieving  20% outcome figures for all crimes within 12 months.  Latest response times: 999 calls 11 seconds and 101 calls 2.6 minutes with 27% of calls abandoned.

e)    Commissioners Fund – 80 applications received so far.

f)     Cheltenham Festival – With attendance figures of approximately 280,000 people the Festival was now the third biggest sporting event in the country. 130 officers deployed each day with support provided by Street Pastors, Guardians and local neighbourhood Policing Teams. Relatively few incidents or arrests, although public urination continued to be a problem along with traffic management.

g)    Meetings held with the Prime Minster, Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Policing Minister and Secretary of State for Culture on a range of issues.  Also met with six MPs in Gloucestershire and Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of the County Council.

h)   High Sheriff – Attended the appointment ceremony for the new High Sherriff, Air Marshal Sir Dusty Miller.  Special mention for the outgoing High Sherriff, Jane Tufnell.

4.

HMICFRS INSPECTION REPORT - PROGRESS REPORT pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Ocone made a detailed PowerPoint presentation covering the following:

leadership, governance, learning from others, Force Control Room, crime recording and crime data integrity, performance management, investigative standards, finance and medium-term financial planning, demand and efficiency, continuous improvement and innovation, ICT transformation, potential barriers to effective recovery,

 

In response to a number of member questions relating to anti-social behaviour, PCC Chris Nelson advised that this had been a common issue raised during the election campaign ahead of the May 2021 election.  Project Solace in Cheltenham and Gloucester had worked well in addressing anti-social behaviour and would be rolled out to other parts of the county.  There were now more police officers on the ground. 

 

The level of anti-social behaviour had increased during the Covid-19 Pandemic and, although the reasons for this were not entirely clear, the reporting of Covid incidents was a factor.

 

Demand for the 101 service had gone up significantly and a major factor was the unavailability of other agencies.  Efforts were being made to do as much as possible to redirect calls to the right agency.  Mental health was a particular area of concern. It was noted that the Police and Crime Commissioner was organising a symposium with partner organisations to understand how that they could work together more effectively.

 

The staffing level for the force control room would be increasing from the end of May and this would improve response rates for 101 calls.  Staff turnover in the control room was high as staff often left to train as police officers

 

A member was pleased to see the reduction in the level of anti-social behaviour in his county division following the employment of more officers.  He noted the particular value of the mobile CCTV units that had been deployed locally.  

 

Strict rigour had been applied by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner relating to expenditure of £6.4 million on the Niche system which would replace the existing CRM system.  Neighbouring police forces already had Niche and it was seen as key to improving the way the force operated and would address a number of concerns identified in the HMICFRS report.

 

It was noted that progress against the HMICFRS report was monitored by the Commissioner every month.  Members requested that the Police and Crime Panel receive a report on progress every six months.

 

 

 

5.

Update on the Review of the role of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) pdf icon PDF 202 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ruth Greenwood introduced the report that had been circulated with the agenda.  Becky Beard, Criminal Justice Policy Officer, provided more detailed information for members.  She explained that she had been involved in a review of the Gloucestershire Criminal Justice Board.

 

Martin Smith noted the comments that had been made around the value of non-elected independent members.  The panel operating arrangements for the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel included two independent members and it was felt that there might be some value in increasing that number if the legislation permitted. Elected members brought a wealth of knowledge around local communities and independent members could be chosen with expertise in particular fields.

 

It was evident that the best Police and Crime Panels were the ones that worked alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner and put party politics to one side.  Training resources for panel members was available through the Local Government Association.  The Chair believed that there was scope for the Panel to communicate more effectively with the public.

6.

Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner - Chief Executive Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

In presenting the report circulated with the agenda, Richard Bradley explained that greater rigour was being applied to financial management and a number of efficiencies had been achieved.  Around £4 million had been secured in external grants including Safer Streets 2, Special Police Services Grant and Sailex. Through Safer Streets 4 bids could be made to tackle anti-social behaviour along with partner agencies.  Discussions were taking place about extending the Solace initiative in Gloucester and Cheltenham across the county. 

 

A Regional Policy Officer was being funded by the five Police and Crime Commissioners in the South-West.  This would allow more opportunities to be identified for collaboration.

 

The level of demand for grants from the Commissioner’s Fund was running at a high level and it would not be possible to support all the applications.

 

The building work on the Constabulary’s operations base at Bamfurlong was now nearing completion. The Estates’ Strategy was due to be reviewed to identify accommodation needs and surplus assets.  This would be brought back to a future meeting of the panel. The Commissioner was keen to explore opportunities to expand the police footprint by working collaboratively with other public service providers.

 

The Deputy Commissioner had indicated that he would like to make use of the ‘community trigger’ mechanism in an effort to address anti-social behaviour. 

 

The Chair suggested that a report on anti-social behaviour be presented at the next meeting to allow a comparison with data from previous years.

7.

Gloucestershire Constabulary Audit Committe pdf icon PDF 380 KB

The Panel to be informed on the role of the Constabulary’s Audit Committee.

Minutes:

In presenting the report circulated with the agenda, Richard Bradley noted that the Audit Committee included three positions for independent members.  There was currently a vacant position and he asked members to publicise this among their networks.

 

One of the independent members, Mike Nadine, was present at the meeting to explain his role on the Audit Committee.  He said that there was not a typical background but it was important that anyone appointed was naturally inquisitive.  He explained that there were two sets of auditors: the external auditor, Grant Thornton, whose main role was to audit the final accounts each year and the internal auditor, SW Audit Partnership, whose role centred around internal controls including financial systems, performance management and risk management.  Officers from particular areas attended meetings of the committee to explain the actions that had been takin in response to audit recommendations. Recent reports related to cyber attack, financial regulations and treasury management.

 

In terms of distinguishing between the Police and Crime Panel and the Audit Committee, the panel had a wider scrutiny role whereas the Audit Committee provided an assurance relating to risks, notably detailed issues around financial controls.  The two roles were complimentary and the Chair suggested that the Audit Committee provide an annual report to the panel.

8.

Complaints pdf icon PDF 584 KB

The Panel to receive a report outlining the complaints process.

Minutes:

Richard Bradley presented the report included with the agenda.  He explained the approach followed in dealing with complaints.  An Independent Review Officer, formerly located with the Constabulary, had transferred over to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

 

The emphasis was on organisational learning and improvement, whilst still allowing disciplinary outcomes where it was found that Police Officers or staff were guilty of serious misconduct. Complex complaints could take years to resolve with a knock-on effect on the mental health of the individual officers involved.  

 

There had been a large increase in the volume of complaints received by the Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department but it was not as high as most other force areas.

 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct had provided positive feedback on the way that the Constabulary and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner managed complaints. 

 

Members expressed concern at the increasing level of abuse from the public towards Police Officers.  PCC Chris Nelson advised that Commissioners across the country were meeting regularly with the Policing Minister Kit Malthouse MP and had informed him of their concerns.

 

 

 

9.

Thank you

Minutes:

Chair, Cllr Jonny Brownsteen, said that it was his last meeting as he was stepping down as a member of Cheltenham Borough Council at the May 2022 elections.  He thanked members and officers for their support.

 

Vice-chair, Cllr Steve Robinson, along with fellow Panel members paid tribute to Cllr Brownsteen and thanked him for chairing the Panel over the last year.