Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions
Contact: Sophie Benfield
To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 1 July and two meetings on 26 September 2022 (part 2 to follow).
The minutes of the previous meetings were approved as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.
No declarations of interest were received.
Ratification of Independent Member Appointments
The Chair explained that Lead members carried out interviews at the end of September and would like to welcome Stella Tams and Kingston Myles to the Panel.
He and the PCC put on record their thanks to Martin Smith who had been the Panel’s departing independent member. Martin had committed a lot of time and effort to his role and brought a good level of expertise and impartiality.
UPDATE FROM THE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER (PCC)
To receive a verbal update from the PCC on current activity.
5.1 PCC Chris Nelson provided a verbal update on activities since the previous meeting and members noted the following points:
· Safer Streets had resulted in an extra £3m into the county since 2021. Gloucestershire had performed the best in the country in terms of successfully biding for the most money per head of population.
· The funding will go towards:
o 7 new police community PSCOs
o The roll out of Project Solace (directed at tackling ASB)
o A new drone fleet for rural operations, as well as 32 rural ANPR systems to help track serious and organised criminals moving across the county
o Recruitment to run the Community Trigger Scheme
o Personal safety apps and alarms; and
o A new drug testing machines, which had been highly effective in tackling drink spiking etc.
· The next round of Safer Streets funding was due to be announced soon.
· Gloucestershire was the first force in the world to use forensic science as a weapon against dog theft. Other forces had now begun to follow suit, which was the best way for the scheme to be successful
· Another country first was the rollout of Odyssey, which was a system used to provide real time examination of a rape victim’s phone. At the moment victims could be without their phone for months, just at the time when they needed support from their social circle.
· This technology allowed trained officers to interrogate the phone based on what the victim themselves felt was incriminating evidence against the perpetrator.
· Operation Scorpion continued to be success (forces joined across the Southwest to deal with illicit drug dealing). The third operation was due in November and would aim to tackle recreational drugs within the night-time economy.
· The Gloucestershire ASB pledge had been signed by partners, led by Safer Gloucestershire, to improve the coordination of authorities handling ASB.
· The second part of the joint Community Speedwatch Fund with GCC, aimed at helping to fight persistent speeding, would be launched later this month.
· ‘Find your Voice’ video had been launched to raise awareness of bystanders speaking out against violence and intimidation against woman and girls: https://www.gloucestershire-pcc.gov.uk/men-asked-tofindyourvoice-in-new-campaign-to-tackle-violence-against-women/
· The first volunteer PSCO training course had been launched, the force hoped to develop their parish constable concept soon and they were on track to meet the uplift for PCs, the programme was going so well that Gloucestershire would be 25 officers above the 150 uplift by March 2023.
· Along with other commissioner colleagues, the PCC was currently lobbying for more flexibility on recruitment. At the moment it revolved around an individual having or gaining a degree which excluded sections of society.
· There was a governance meeting this week on strategic enhancements, and one of the actions was to agree at least 18 new posts to ensure the force was inspection ready for next year.
· There continued to be a huge amount of work on PEEL improvements. The force was getting better on crime recording accuracy and timeliness of investigations. It remained weakest on the Force ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
6.1 The Chair welcomed Lisa Mann, Contact and Complaints Officer, and Nadina Farley-Turner, Independent Review Officer, to present this item via the attached PowerPoint presentation.
6.2 A member queried how officers dealt with complaints from vulnerable residents. It was advised they tried very hard to find alternative ways for any resident to access the complaints process. It was important not to use complicated language and make sure any written correspondence was easy to understand. They also spent a lot of their time on the phone or speaking to residents in person to ensure understanding of the process. an example was given of a resident who could not read or write and did not feel comfortable meeting officers in person. There was therefore a conference call set up with the resident and their husband.
6.3 Members heard that there were regular meetings within the constabulary to look at any themes emerging within complaints, to ensure they could pick up and implement any possible improvements. They also shared learning with other constabularies, Avon and Somerset had recently successful set up a scrutiny complaints panel to provide oversight of the process.
6.4 It was noted that 30% of complaints were coming through the control room and queried whether this was the best use of the control room capacity. Officers were looking at all possibilities for improving response time, one solution being explored was adding a switch board to provide early analysis of calls and then redirecting where appropriate. There were many instances however, where residents had initially called about something else and had ended up expressing dissatisfaction within the call.
6.5 The Panel were very impressed and thankful for the excellent presentation and the compassionate and hard work of both officers.
To receive an update report from the OPCC, to include performance data.
7.1 The Chair invited Ruth Greenwood to introduce the report. This was the first one she had presented as the Chief Executive. Work was underway to review the report structure and enhance where possible. A section had been added on Safer Streets Funding to help members identified what was being utilised in their areas etc. and the team had been asked to contribute a lot more so the Panel could get to know the wider activities of the OPCC better.
7.2 A member was delighted to see funding for the Neighbourhood Watch within Safer Streets, it was queried how hotspots were identified to help concentrate the funding in the right places. It was advised that the funding had been handed over to the Neighbourhood Watch team within the constabulary who would be working closely with the local area inspectors to understand the needs, it was not something the OPCC administered directly.
7.3 It was noted that the Community Speedwatch Fund currently offered the opportunity for communities to bid for the installation of a Community Speedwatch Cameras which provided automatic number plate information that was shared with the constabulary (via the Community Speedwatch Group) and an automated response letter would be sent to the vehicle owner. If issues continue, the constabulary would then consider the use of enforcement vans on the route. It was stressed that any such activity was entirely focused on improving road safety and not about revenue recuperation.
7.4 A member shared that there was an Enterprise Action Group in Cheltenham exploring the use of Restorative Justice to change the lives of young people. It was added that the OPCC had a National Lead for Restorative Practise in one of the new Deputy Chief Executives and were very interested in exploring more and more ways to integrate the use of the practise as a core thread.
ACTION: Link between OPCC and Enterprise Action Group
7.5 It was suggested that a useful addition to the Chief Executives report would be a simple traffic light rating at the beginning on performance.
ACTION: Ruth Greenwood
2022/23 Initial Budget Discussions
To receive a verbal update.
Members noted that the OPCC were waiting for the Government’s Autumn budget, due for 17 November, to understand better what budget position they may be in. The Panel were reminded that on 20 January 2023, there will be a briefing providing from the Chief Finance Officer to inform members of the budget context.