Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions
Contact: Stephen Bace 01452 324204
Declarations of Interest
No additional declarations were made.
2.1 The minutes were agreed as a correct record.
2.2 In relation to the November 2017 Panel meeting, there had been an action relating to more information on what the Police did for animals in houses where the occupants had been removed. The Commissioner circulated some information to Panel members on this.
2.3 The Commissioner also raised concerns about comments made by the Chairman in the press relating to information given at the Budget Briefing held for Panel members in January. The Commissioner stated that it had been a good meeting and he felt that the comments subsequently made around ‘value for money’ were inaccurate and insulting. He asked for an opportunity for the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner to respond. In addition, he had invited the Chief Constable to attend the Panel meeting to answer any questions on value for money.
The Chairman explained that the comments were made in his role as Councillor for Newent and not as the Chairman of the Panel. He stated that he had welcomed the briefing.
The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner provided details of his role to the Panel highlighting that he was politically neutral. He had deputised for the Commissioner in a number of meetings including the National Crime Agency and he believed that his role represented value for money.
3.1 Paul Trott, Chief Executive of the Commissioner’s Office, introduced the report which outlined the activities of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
3.2 The Panel noted the summary of decisions made in October and November 2017. One member reiterated the importance of members seeing details of the decisions that were not publically available. The Commissioner’s Office would work with Democratic Services to make confidential papers available to the Panel.
ACTION Paul Trott/ Stephen Bace
3.3 The report included details of the number of Freedom of Information Requests made and the number of complaints.
3.4 One member asked for details on the increase in complaints received from Cotswold in 2016/17. In response it was explained that there had been concerns raised by individuals in the Cotswold District about the visibility of officers in their neighbourhoods, which it was explained had been addressed by the Constabulary.
3.5 There was some discussion around Cheltenham’s position within the crime rankings where an increase in crime had been show.. In response it was explained that car crime and burglaries were two areas contributing to this statistic. The Commissioner also highlighted the role played by Cheltenham’s night-time economy. This was against the backdrop of increased crime nationally, however Gloucestershire compared favourably. Cyber Crime was also a contributing factor.
3.6 Members noted that a decision had been made to advertise for a part time Chief Finance Officer for the Commissioner’s Office. The Panel were aware that the current arrangements were temporary and there was a need to put things on a more permanent basis. Once the process was underway and an appointment made, there would be a requirement for a Confirmatory Hearing.
3.7 The Panel welcomed the inclusion of details of the ‘Holding to Account’ meetings between the Chief Constable and the Commissioner. One member stated that he was pleased that the subject of Bijan Ebrahimi had been brought up at one of these meetings.
3.8 In response to questions, there was a discussion on the target from HMIC for the Constabulary to develop talent management and succession planning. The Commissioner stated that he was proud of the succession from one Chief Constable to the other. The Chief Constable explained that he had raised the strategic importance of Human Resources within the force and that the Deputy Chief Constable chaired the People Development Board and talent management was a part of that. Feedback from staff surveys and a pulse survey before Christmas had provided a positive response in this area.
The Panel must review the proposed precept.
Having considered the precept, the Panel will either:
· Support the precept without qualification or comment;
· Support the precept and make recommendations, or
· Veto the proposed precept
Included within the papers is the guidance from the Home Office.
4.1 The Police and Crime Commissioner introduced the report which proposed that:
Funding for the proposed £111.221m revenue budget would require a police related Band D Council Tax element of £226.49. This represents an increase of 5.6% in the police related Band D Council Tax or £12 for the year.
4.2 The Commissioner thanked the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Constable. The Panel had received a briefing in January to ensure that the Panel had the background to the budget and an understanding of the options available.
4.3 The Commissioner had considered two funding options for 2018/19. The first was to increase the precept by 2%. It was explained that due to careful financial management and savings of £1.4m identified in year, the budget was balanced on that level of precept. The second was the increase in the precept by 5.6% which would provide £1.7m additional funding for priority areas. It was this second option that had been chosen as the proposed precept.
4.4 The Commissioner explained that in the past he believed that the Police had achieved ‘more for less’ by changing working practices and embracing mobile working. However since the end of 2015 he was concerned that there had been an impact on neighbourhood policing. He had made a commitment in the Police and Crime Plan that neighbourhood policing was the foundation of Policing in Gloucestershire. Resources were scarce and there were competing demands and so the Commissioner had been lobbying the Home Office to improve the funding situation.
4.5 Members understood that the Grant announcement on 19 December 2017 outlined that the grant was protected and that in 2018/19 each Commissioner would receive the same amount of core funding as they had done in 2017/18. In addition, Commissioner’s would be able to increase council tax precept levels by £12 (for a Band D property) before the need to call a local referendum was triggered.
4.6 The Panel were informed that in September 2017, the Home Office had announced that police officers would be given a pay award worth a total of 2% which was not reflected in the Home Office grant.
4.7 It was explained that the additional funding would lead to investment in Neighbourhood Policing, operations relating to Child Protection and Child Sexual Exploitation, the introduction of Body Worn Video, and investment in six additional staff in the Criminal Justice department. The Commissioner had been clear of his likely intentions to increase the precept and had communicated that clearly to the public, explaining where that investment would be spent.
4.8 Members received details of the intention to fund seven additional detectives within the Safeguarding team and an additional staff post to support the team. The Commissioner emphasised that police activity in relation to child protection and child sexual abuse was a national, regional and local priority. One member asked how the Constabulary was managing the transition to vulnerable adults. It was explained that it was up to Chief Constable to deliver this in the most effective ... view the full minutes text for item 4.