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 Gwilym Butler had replaced Councillor Gerald Dakin (Shropshire Council) as a co-opted member.



Named Substitutes

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Apologies and Declarations of Interest

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No apologies were received.


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).




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 Monday 26 November 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

To follow.

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The Minutes of the Meeting held on 29 October 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) 'PEEL: Police Effectiveness 2017 An Inspection Of West Mercia Police' - Update Report pdf icon PDF 127 KB

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In March 2018, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published its inspection findings into police effectiveness as part of its annual rolling programme of inspections on the efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy of police forces within England and Wales (PEEL).


The PEEL Inspection Reports provided a judgement grade of ‘outstanding’, ‘good’ ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.  Each force was given an overall grading as well as individual grades for each of the key areas which were subject to inspection in that year.  The overall grading for West Mercia in March 2018 was ‘requires improvement’ with a rating of ‘inadequate’ for tackling serious and organised crime.


The Panel received an initial report in June 2018, which outlined the areas for improvement and recommendations identified by HMICFRS and subsequently requested an update on the ongoing actions.


The Panel was reminded that HMICFRS identified six areas for improvement (AFIs) and five recommendations:  ‘Preventing Crime and Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour'  (ASB) and ‘Protecting Vulnerable People and Supporting Victims’ with each having 3 AFIs and ‘Tackling Serious and Organised Crime’ which had 5 recommendations.


The PCC advised that there was continued oversight and scrutiny of the Force’s response to the Inspection findings and he was pleased with the progress made to date and direction of travel.  He reported that he had recently attended the HMIC Police Performance Oversight Group with the Chief Constable and received feedback from Her Majesty's Inspector (HMI). Looking ahead it would be important to embed and sustain the momentum of the progress.


Main Discussion Points:


·       A Member referred to paragraph 15 of the Agenda Report about the NPCC/College of Police National Pilot for the telephone resolution of very low-level domestic abuse cases, where the deployment of an officer may not be necessary.  It was questioned whether this was an appropriate direction of travel for domestic abuse even at low level. Reassurance was given that there was a commitment to ensure that victims received the best and most appropriate service and sometimes an initial quick telephone response could be helpful in terms of starting the engagement process with victims.  The Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) reiterated that it was only a pilot at this stage for low level cases of domestic abuse and would be carefully monitored.

·       Paragraph 10 of the Report referred to the support that West Mercia Police received from Durham Police and asked about the reasons for Durham's success.  The PCC explained that that the financial resource per head of population was significantly higher in Durham than in West Mercia, however best practice was picked up from a variety of other sources as well as Durham and was always challenged by the Force as appropriate.

·       It was noted that there was a high proportion of crimes relating to domestic abuse, where the victim didn’t wish to progress police action. A member asked how the detail of this was discussed in the holding to account sessions that the PCC held with the Chief Constable.  The PCC advised the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 283.


ICT Strategy and Athena pdf icon PDF 106 KB

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The PCC referred to the Panel's request at its September meeting for an overview of the Athena Programme as part of the wider ICT Programme.


Main Discussion Points:


·       A Panel Member expressed disappointment that Athena had required a number of interventions and was concerned about whether the system would eventually be fit for purpose and the overall costs involved in getting it right.  The PCC reassured the Panel that the System was doing what it was intended it should do.  It combined four modules: investigation, intelligence, case and custody and there were some process issues across all four modules, but it wasn't failing a system.  The software was fast becoming a national solution and West Mercia would not revert back to the old systems, which were not fit for purpose.  The PCC acknowledged that on occasions it had been necessary to look at temporary wrap around solutions to mitigate the impact on staff.

·       9 Police Forces were part of the Athena Management Organisation (AMO) Consortium but other Forces had purchased the System outside of the Consortium. Eventually, 27 forces would be procuring Athena in different ways. 

·       The PCC confirmed that the total cost of Athena was significant and included the Change Programme as well as the licences, but he didn't have the exact amount available at the meeting.

·       One of the interventions which had recently been approved was a File Builder outside of Athena which had been piloted in Shropshire and was being rolled-out across West Mercia. It was estimated that this would remove three quarters of the criminal justice based Athena tasks, which were currently undertaken by officers. One of the benefits discussed in respect of this change was staff morale, which it was envisaged would improve.  It was likely that this system would remain in place until the new Digital File Builder was available in Athena which was likely to be early 2020.

·       The PCC confirmed that there were no plans to withdraw from the AMO Consortium.

·       The Panel was reassured by the PCC the 9 Members of the AMO Consortium all used the same product, worked together on changes to the Athena, which were properly programmed and appropriately funded.

·       It was confirmed that no changes were envisaged to the AMO Consortium as a result of the notice given by West Mercia to Warwickshire of its intention to withdraw from the Strategic Alliance. The arrangements in respect of Athena were contractual. It was however, noted that there was a risk to the West Mercia infrastructure as a result of the Alliance failing to deliver IT investment in the infrastructure.  There had been spend on patching, but it was necessary to carry out a root and branches review of the infrastructure to bring it up to date – the associated costs for this would be significant.


The Report was noted.



Police & Crime Plan Activity and Performance Monitoring Report (July - September 2018) pdf icon PDF 240 KB

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


The PCC introduced the Report and highlighted the following key developments:


·       Child sexual exploitation (CSE) service – the PCC agreed £445,625 of funding for West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (WMRSASC) to deliver a CSE service across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire to those identified as at risk, or a victim of CSE.  WMRSASC would deliver a complete wrap around service to assist the young people to cope and recover. The Victims Commissioner (VC) was recently complimentary about the West Mercia Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs).  The PCC was mutually supportive to the VC in the quest for the voice of the victim to be heard more loudly.

·       The PCC had decided that a proportion of the Safer Roads Partnership (SRP) reserves would be used to provide both a targeted and strategic funding opportunity to address the rising number of people killed and seriously injured on West Mercia’s roads. 

·       The Early Intervention Youth Fund bid, jointly made with West Midlands, Warwickshire and Staffordshire, was declined by the Home Office. This was the first round of grants for this fund and the 6 successful bids were targeted solely on major cities.

·       Spice Review – The classification of Synthetic Cannabinoids (‘Spice’) would be reviewed as part of a series of national initiatives around drugs. The PCC had pushed for ‘Spice’ and other synthetic cannabinoids to be reclassified as Class A drugs; due to the devastating impact they could have on users and wider communities.

·       Confidence survey - Quarter two results on the PCC’s Confidence survey continued to suggest a high level of public confidence in West Mercia Police (85%).  However, it would be two more quarters until the desired confidence levels and intervals had been built up and therefore fully reliable.

·       Town and Parish Council Survey - the results from this survey had been published. The PCC was disappointed with some of the responses but planned to repeat the survey annually.

·       Strategic Alliance update – In October, the PCC and the Chief Constable formally notified their Warwickshire counterparts of their decision to withdraw from the strategic alliance between West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police.  This carefully considered decision was made to ensure the public get better value for money, with a greater clarity and focus at a local level.  This decision was discussed by the PCP at its meeting at 29 October.  The two PCCs and Chief Constables had recently met and agreed to negotiate an exit strategy for the alliance based around three options of shared, hosted or stand-alone service provision, assessed function by function.


Discussion points


·       The PCC confirmed that in respect of the use of the SRP Reserves, the £500,000being invested by the PCC must be spent on projects that were over and above the statutory remit in addressing harm  ...  view the full minutes text for item 285.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 67 KB

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The Report was noted.