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Declarations of Interest
No additional declarations made.
The minutes were agreed as a correct record.
29.1 The Commissioner outlined that at 23.23 in the minutes it had referred to him having to leave the meeting early and that this had been seen by Panel members as showing disrespect. He stated that his intention had not been to show disrespect but that he had a meeting with the Home Secretary that he had needed to attend.
29.2 One member asked for an update on the Commissioner’s plans to hold a summit meeting on the topic of vulnerable children. The Commissioner stated that he was in talks with partners and that it was important to ‘understand what good looks like.’ He was committed to the summit meeting and would keep members updated. The Commissioner suggested that safeguarding was one area that the Panel could potentially examine in more detail. Martin Smith, independent member on the panel, explained that he was attending a conference on safeguarding and would be happy to report back.
29.3 In response to a question, it was explained that following the review of the criminal justice system there was a workshop being held on 19 December which would look to determine the approach taken by the Criminal Justice Board going forward.
30.1 Paul Trott, Chief Executive of the Commissioner’s Office, introduced the report. This included a log on decisions that had been made since the previous Panel meeting in September. Some of those decisions were made by the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner. One member expressed concern that the details of the decisions were not provided as they were confidential. It was asked that these decisions be provided to the panel through exempt papers.
ACTION Paul Trott
There was some discussion around the Governance Board and whether the panel should be seeing the minutes. The Chief Executive of the Commissioner’s Office stated that the Board had an action log from the meetings but he asked report authors to ensure that reports were publishable so that they provided background information on decisions.
30.2 The Panel were informed of the number of Freedom of Information requests received by the Office which was a 42% decrease on the same period of the previous year. The Commissioner’s Office had received 197 complaints since 1 January 2017 from members of the public. This represented an 11% increase compared to the same period of the previous year.
30.3 The Panel noted the crime statistics within the report with it being explained that although crime was increasing in Gloucestershire, performance was good in comparison to those areas deemed most geographically similar as well as in comparison with England and Wales. One outlier was Cheltenham and more detail could be provided on this outside of the meeting. Despite recent increases in crime, it was emphasised that crime rates were actually low in Gloucestershire making it one of the safest places in the country
30.4 Crime performance was one of the issues that the Commissioner had discussed recently in his ‘holding to account’ meetings with the Chief Constable. The topics of those meetings were shared on the Commissioner’s website.
30.5 The Panel was informed that regional collaboration discussions had been initiated to explore potential opportunities. A superintendent had been appointed as a regional liaison officer for the Constabulary and Commissioner’s Office. Key opportunities for regional collaboration were identified as:
· Potential opportunities and benefits of greater collaboration with Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service operationally
· Deliver contribution to national armed officer uplift in line with national timescales
· Ensure successful delivery of Police Transformation Funded projects on Digital Intelligence and Investigations, development of a Collaborative Service Platform and the National Citizens in Policing Strategy
· Scope opportunities and benefits of moving to a police collaborated managed service for HR and other transactional business support services
· Work to maintain standards of local provision for victims of sexual assault through the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
30.6 The Panel were informed of the criteria for the Commissioner’s Fund and the introduction of funding categories. 84 applications had been made in total to a value of £4.6m so there were tough decisions to make in how to allocate the limited funding that they had. The Office had received a visit from the Policing Minister who had shown an ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
Consideration of the Commissioner’s Annual Report (deferred from previous meeting).
31.1 This item had been deferred from the previous meeting. The Commissioner introduced the Annual report for the Panel’s comments. The same style had been used as the previous year which had been received well by the Panel.
31.2 One member sought clarification concerning the reference to the Stroud Custody Suite and was informed that this was no longer in operation.
31.3 One member commented that it was up to the Commissioner what he chose to put in his annual report and the Panel had no further comments.
The 'Compassionate Approach'
Consideration of the compassionate approach towards animals and the environmental footprint of the Constabulary detailed within the Police and Crime Plan.
32.1 The Commissioner stated how important it was for the public sector to take into account the approach towards animals and the environmental footprint. The focus with regards to environment was on the fleet. The Commissioner had seen the West Midlands Police and how they ran their fleet and he had spoken to the Chief Constable about the deployment of vehicles with 25 vehicles now taken out of the fleet. As part of that discussion the Commissioner had challenged the car hire costs of the Constabulary with a full review commissioned.
32.2 The Constabulary had been asked to
carry out a root and branch review of the environmental footprint.
Recommendations would be discussed shortly. In summary the findings
had been good and the report would be made available to the
32.3 With regards to the use of electric vehicles, the Constabulary currently had seven electric vehicles and they were providing their worth and fuel savings alone would lead to them establishing a saving. Some members commented that the use of the cars within the Constabulary but not as response vehicles was a good approach. One member commented that in rural areas where there were difficulties around having a police presence it was important to have a vehicle that was fit for purpose.
32.4 One member asked whether he considered the ‘jobs for British workers’. This was a consideration but depended on the availability of the products that the Commissioner was looking to purchase.
32.5 The Commissioner explained that he held the Constabulary to account on their approach to animals stating that he encouraged them to work with partners and show the same compassion and professionalism that they show to witnesses and victims of all crime. He gave the example of concerns expressed to the Assistant Chief Constable on how a particular incident had been dealt with and that the Assistant Chief Constable had written back to those members of the public.
32.6 Members were provided with some examples of the work that was being carried out, including the review of the Force hunting policy and the recruitment of a volunteer to give expertise around birds of prey. He offered to brief any individual member in more detail on the work being carried out on rural crime.
32.7 The Commissioner stated that while the volume of rural crime was generally low, he acknowledged the high impact such crimes had in rural communities. This needed to be put in the context of crime across Gloucestershire and other high impact areas. The Panel recognised the diverse range of activity the Constabulary was called upon to be involved in.
32.8 One member raised the
issue of when arrests were made and the individuals involved had
animals at home, what arrangements were put in place to ensure the
wellbeing of those animals? The Commissioner stated that he would
enquire with the Constabulary and provide a response.
32.9 One member stated that he would have welcomed a report on ... view the full minutes text for item 32.
A verbal update on response to the HMIC Safeguarding inspection.
33.1 Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Porter provided members with an update following the HMIC inspection of Safeguarding. The presentation included the national and local context, the key positives and key improvement themes arising from the inspection and the approach being taken to meet the challenges identified.
33.2 Nationally and locally there had been an increase in demand for child protection, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and CSE Online and was subject to more public and Government scrutiny. The Ofsted inspection themes were the link between missing children and CSE and the drift and delay of investigations. HMIC had identified that the teams were under resourced and carrying out too many investigations.
33.3 The Force had introduced an immediate ‘uplift’ in staffing and analysis by an external consultancy with a new force structure bringing increased Detective resource and oversight.
33.4 The key positives from the inspection had been the committed and dedicate staff across all child protection teams; the Multi Agency CSE Team and their partnership processes; CSE prevention and awareness strategy and a history of intense offender management.
33.5 The key improvement themes were identified as:
· Child protection – one of too many force priorities
· Limited Strategic Oversight
· Leadership and management of investigations
· Performance framework and quality review
· Case conference attendance
· Missing and Child Sexual Exploitation link
· Recruitment and retention of staff
· Training of staff
33.6 In terms of meeting the challenges the Constabulary would be ensuring it provided effective strategic and tactical oversight to ensure good governance; to be more people focussed in leadership in order to provide support and effective direction; to introduce new processes and systems to deliver the hallmarks of success; to develop a clear understanding of how we deliver providing effective oversight of quality; and collaborating and working together to safeguard children.
33.7 For Governance, ACC Moss had taken responsibility for Child Protection. The public protection service delivery board had been set up with Heads of all the departments across the Constabulary on it. It was emphasised that culture was the greatest challenge with some staff believing safeguarding was the responsibility of the child protection teams. It was emphasised that it was everyone’s responsibility and safeguarding champions had been identified across all teams. In addition, there was a dedicated Detective Superintendent for Safeguarding. Training would be carried out across the Constabulary to embed this culture.
33.8 The Panel understood a number of plans were in place including the HMIC Improvement Plan but also the development of CSE Intelligence Collection Plans; this in particular demonstrated a different way of thinking for the Constabulary. There was new investigative guidance to handle the demand of increased referrals. In addition there was a new performance framework and the development of quality assurance frameworks.
33.9 In terms of next steps, Operation Guardian was a twelve month sustained awareness raising and training campaign for child protection. It commenced on 20 October 2017 with terms of reference agreed and it would be presented to the MASH board in December. The Missing Person Team ... view the full minutes text for item 33.
Force Control Room
The Panel will be provided with details of the reorganisation of the Force Control Room.
34.1 Superintendent Rob Priddy updated the Panel on the restructuring of the Force Control Room. He broke down the current demand around 999 and 101 calls, which also included emails, alerts from cameras; staff generated demand, text messages and Action Fraud. There had been just under 7,000 999 calls in the month of August 2017. This was 15% up on the previous two years. Every force in the country was seeing an increase in 999 calls and there was not one particular crime group driving this demand. 38% of the calls resulted in a ‘grade 1’ which was an instant response, a grade 2.1 called for a response within an hour, and with a grade 2 there would be an aim to respond within 4 hours.
34.2 Over 23,000 101 calls were received every month. 5% of those 101 calls were actually Grade 1 equating to around a 1,000 incidents. The Constabulary were also now getting 4,500 emails a month, and that demonstrated the changing nature of the way people communicated. A proportion of those emails would still require a Grade 1 response.
34.3 The same number of staff were present from 2014 and the demand had gone up so that represented a real challenge. In terms of meeting the challenges, there was a move to recruit call handlers and then train them to be radio despatchers, there was a need to fund system changes and agree shift patterns as well. It was important to ensure there was strong employee engagement through a clear career pathway and gain workplace charter accreditation. The importance of leadership was emphasised, in particular, being proactive about knowing staff and ensuring their wellbeing.
34.4 A workforce plan had been agreed with recruitment from 1 September with an assessment centre for new candidates on 28 October with new dispatchers starting in January 2018. The aim was to professionalise the process by having new recruits completing accreditation as part of their initial training. There had also been a focus on recruiting younger staff to improve the diversity of the workforce.
34.5 Shift patterns previously matched demand but over time there had been a change in when there was demand and so shift patterns needed to change to match this. Two options had been proposed which allowed for the shift pattern to use existing resources to better meet that demand.
34.6 There had been the introduction of processes to increase customer engagement and experience. There had been a number of ‘small gains’ proposed by the team including a triage system for emails, the opening of a twitter account and surveys over text messages to get more dynamic feedback from the community.
34.7 The Panel were provided with details of the text message pilot which aimed to get feedback from the community. The importance was on the quality of the service provided, not the speed of picking up the call. This was being reflected in the feedback.
34.8 The Panel were provided with details of the CRISIS Team pilot, ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
35.1 Richard Bradley introduced the highlight report providing information on progress against the priorities within the Commissioner’s plan. The presentation on the Force Control Room that had been given previously was a clear example of the work being carried out against the Accessibility and Accountability priority.
35.2 Hate crime was brought up by one member who couldn’t see it reflected within the highlight report. It was acknowledged that this was part of Martin’s plan and should be reflected in the report.
35.3 One member commented on Neighbourhood policing and was pleased to see a new focus on this. In addition, the cadet system was supporting neighbourhood watch and this was something he would encourage. He asked for a bit of information on the alert system for neighbourhood watch. This was called Neighbourhood Alert, and was being used by thirteen other forces. It was an internet based service for passing on information and it was hoped this would help give neighbourhood watch a boost. The likely timescale for implementing this would be in the Spring 2018.
35.4 A policy change request had been progressed for Gloucestershire Police which would allow constables and PCSOs the latitude to utilise 2 level 1 Restorative Justice outcomes in any 12 month period for young people in the correct circumstances. One member asked for more information. It was suggested that Restorative Justice Leads come to the next panel member to discuss the work they did.
ACTION Richard Bradley
35.5 One member commented on Safer Driving and the way in which Welsh Constabularies used video taken from dashboard cameras as evidence. He asked whether this was something that could be progressed in Gloucestershire. In response it was explained that Welsh Forces used cloud based technology to upload and download the footage. Police forces in England were not in that position yet in terms of the way in which data was stored. There was work taking place nationally to look at this in more detail.