Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Contact: Sheena Jones 


No. Item


Welcome and Introductions

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The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.


It was noted that Councillor Kuldip Sahota had replaced Councillor Rajash Mehta (Telford and Wrekin Council) as a co-opted member.



Named Substitutes

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Apologies and Declarations of Interest

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Apologies were received from Councillors Gerald Dakin, Roger Evans, Kuldip Sahota and Michael Wood.  In addition, Mrs Carole Clive and Colonel Tony Ward  Co-opted Independent Lay-members had also given apologies.


Declarations of interest were made as follows:


  • Gareth Prosser was a retired Police Officer in receipt of a West Mercia Police Pension
  • Steve Mackay was a retired Police Officer in receipt of a Police Pension (not West Mercia Police).



Chairman's Announcements

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The Chairman reported that he had attended the Local Government Association (LGA) Police and Crime Panel Workshop in July, which had looked at Government priorities, Serious Violence Strategy, domestic abuse, fire governance, neighbouring panel meetings and the enhanced role of Police and Crime Commissioners in respect of complaints and multi-agency working.  In addition, the Chairman had also met with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel in September.



Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part (asking a question or making a statement) should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by email indicating both the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 17 September 2018).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/email address listed below.

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Confirmation of the Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Panel meeting held on 18 June 2018.

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The Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 June 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.



Report on the Home Office Serious Violence Strategy pdf icon PDF 114 KB

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The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) had been asked to provide the Panel with an update on the Serious Violence Strategy in respect of West Mercia, including the proposed strategic response to the Strategy and the key actions and commitments.


In his Report, the PCC was specifically asked to include:


·         The extent of the serious violence problem in West Mercia, including the analysis of problem profiles (eg knife crime) to give the Panel a clear picture of the current and predictive situation

·         The PCC's approach to governance and partnership co-ordination across West Mercia

·         Early Intervention Youth Fund (EIYF)

·         The PCC's commissioning plans reflecting the requirements of the Strategy

·         The effect on the Police and Crime Plan

·         Links with Public Health.


The PCC advised the Panel that the Serious Violence Strategy was launched by the Home Secretary in April 2018.  The Strategy was intended to balance the need for prevention and early intervention with effective law enforcement.  It focused on a partnership approach to tackling serious violence, with all agencies working together to address the challenges.


The Strategy included several proposals for PCC involvement and set out a new challenge for Community Safety Partnerships (CSP's) and other local groups. The Strategy also set out new initiatives including the Early Intervention Youth Fund (EIYF) and the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre.


There five main areas of PCC involvement identified within the Strategy were:


(i)               Local Leadership Role – PCC's were asked to play a key leadership role, bringing local partners together to address serious violence

(ii)              New EIYF – £22m to support local partnership initiatives. This would be PCC driven through setting strategic direction and working with CSP's and other community groups

(iii)            Police & Crime Plans – inclusion of serious violence as a priority in Police and Crime Plans and setting out what action would be taken

(iv)            Strengthening Links with Health – further consideration to be given to widening the PCC role e.g. around drug treatment

(v)             Sharing information and best practice – with specific mention of the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) project in South Wales and the multi-agency analytical hub in Avon & Somerset.


The PCC highlighted the following key areas:


·       There were 10,161 violence with injury offences were recorded for West Mercia in 2017/18, a 2% reduction compared to the previous financial year. Current volumes of violent crime (Q1; Apr – Jul 2018) were below projected levels and were 3% below the same period in 2017/18.

·       In relation to knife crime, 710 possession of weapons offences were recorded in West Mercia in 2017/18; an 8% increase compared to the previous year. The increase was driven by “other firearms offences”, such as offences related to illegal trade, supply and repair etc. There was no increase in possession of knives/bladed articles and firearms during this period. Data related to the use of knives/firearms was recorded separately.

·       81 gun crime offences were recorded in 2017/18; an increase of 15 offences compared to the previous financial year. It was noted that volumes remained low  ...  view the full minutes text for item 268.


Police & Crime Plan Activity and Performance Monitoring Report (June - August 2018) pdf icon PDF 212 KB

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The Panel was invited to consider the Police & Crime Plan Activity and Performance Monitoring Report for June to August 2018 and determine whether it would wish to carry out any further scrutiny or make any comments.


The PCC introduced the Report and drew the Panel's attention his commitment to recruit an additional 100 officers, which would take officer numbers from 1930 to 2030.  Recruitment to fill the extra posts would begin as soon as possible, and was in addition to existing recruitment plans in West Mercia.  Demand was increasing in all police forces and these additional officers would help to ensure that West Mercia’s communities received the service they needed and that the force had the resilience to cope with changing demands.  West Mercia Police still had efficiencies to find in the coming years, but the PCC was able to make this investment in frontline services now through a combination of continued reform, effective use of reserves and council tax flexibility.


Discussion points


·       It was confirmed that when the PCC was elected, there were 1988 police officer posts and that PCSO's numbers would remain the same.

·       A member suggested that previously when the Police Authority was in existence, at one point there were 2180 police officers.

·       The PCC was asked if he had an upper limit of Police Officers he was aiming to have in post.  The PCC advised that he didn’t have an upper limit in mind, but was committed to having the right number of police officers and the appropriate resources to ensure this happened.

·       It was hoped that the additional 100 posts would have been recruited and training would have commenced by the end of the financial year.

·       A member suggested that West Mercia had 8.5[JS1]  police officers per 100,000 of population (one of the lowest ratios in the Country) and questioned whether this could be considered as sufficient.  The PCC advised that West Mercia had a high level of Council Tax per house and a low grant per head of population and there needed to be a fairer way to fund the Service nationally.

·       The PCC confirmed his commitment for buildings within the West Mercia Estate to become wherever possible, shared buildings to maximise the benefits. It was agreed that an update on Estate profile would be provided to the Panel as part of the Budget process.

·       Further to a question from a member, the  PCC's suggested that the changes to the remand court process ie to centralise remand cases for West Mercia to Kidderminster worked in theory but not in reality. The intention of the change was to reduce the length of the court process but as West Mercia was a very large area, this was not proving to be the case. There were delays with paperwork, increased travel time, increased number of remote advocates and Kidderminster struggling to cope with demand. A member of Panel invited the PCC to submit his views in this area to House of Lords Select Committee, which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 269.


Complaints 2017-18 Annual Report pdf icon PDF 67 KB

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The Panel noted the Complaints 2017-18 Annual Report.



National Association of Police Fire and Crime Panels pdf icon PDF 63 KB

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It was agreed that Councillor Bowen would be the Panel's nominated representative on the National Association of Police, Fire and Crime Panels.