Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Contact: Sheena Jones 

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Items
No. Item

335.

Welcome and Introductions

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the Meeting, in particular Cllr Simon Cronin (Worcester City Council) replacing Jabba Riaz and Aled Luckman, the new Co-opted Independent Lay Member

 

The Chairman explained that this meeting was being held online to comply with regulations issued for the coronavirus pandemic and enabled Panel meetings to take place, visible to the public, whilst they could not take place at a specific place such as County Hall.

336.

Named Substitutes

Minutes:

None.

337.

Apologies and Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Mrs C Clive (Independent Co-opted Lay Member).

Declarations of interest were made as follows:

 

·       Julian Grubb was a retired Police Officer in receipt of a Police Pension (not West Mercia Police)

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

338.

Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part (asking a question or making a statement) should notify the Interim Monitoring Officer 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 Friday 12 June 2020).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/email address listed below.

Minutes:

None.

339.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Panel meeting held on 5 February 2020

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 5 February 2020 were agreed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.

340.

Appointment of Two Lay Independent Co-opted Members of West Mercia Police and Crime Panel pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Minutes:

The Panel was updated on the process for the appointment of two Lay Independent Co-opted Members of the Panel.

 

It was a requirement of the Panel to appoint two independent (non-councillor) co-opted members.  At its meeting on 27 November 2019, it was noted that Colonel Ward had resigned as Independent Lay Member of the Panel.

 

The Agreement for Panel Arrangements required the Panel to ensure there were two serving Lay Members. Accordingly, it was agreed that Councillors Bowen, Wood and Tremellen would be appointed to an Appointments Panel to conduct the recruitment process and appoint to the vacancy.

 

In addition, the term of office of Mrs Carole Clive, the other co-opted Independent Lay Member of the Panel was due to expire in October 2020. It was therefore considered timely for the Appointments Panel to consider re-appointing Mrs Clive for a further four years.  Mrs Clive had indicated that she would be happy to continue in the role if the Panel considered it was appropriate for her to do so.

 

In making these co-options, The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 required that the Panel must ensure the overall Panel membership met the balanced objective in skills, knowledge and experience necessary to discharge its functions effectively.

 

The Appointments Panel carried out the shortlisting process on 26 May 2020 and the interview process on 10 June 2020 (six applications were received and three candidates were interviewed).

 

Accordingly, Mr Aled Luckman was appointed Lay Independent Co-opted Member of the Panel on 10 June for four years and Mrs Carole Clive was re-appointed Lay Independent Co-opted Member of the Panel for four years with effect from 18 October 2020.

341.

End of the Strategic Policing Alliance - Update Report pdf icon PDF 165 KB

Minutes:

The Panel had before it an update report on the ending of the Strategic Policing Alliance between West Mercia and Warwickshire.

 

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) introduced the report and invited the Panel’s questions and comments. 

 

During the discussion the following points were noted:

 

·         Negotiations on final settlement had ended in April 2020 with an agreed final settlement of £10.5m (which was lower than recommended in the Home Office Report).  It was expected that this would be recouped within 18 months through efficiencies enabled by ending the Alliance.

·         Detailed plans as to how efficiencies would be delivered in the coming months had already been prepared. Ending the Alliance would enable West Mercia to press ahead with recommended reforms to police support services, which were expected to realise annual efficiencies for West Mercia of £8m. West Mercia would also no longer need to contribute towards the running costs of the second operational control centre in Warwickshire. No longer subsidising an Alliance partner would ensure a greater proportion of West Mercia’s resources were prioritised towards frontline delivery for West Mercia’s communities.

·           Job losses were not expected as part of realising efficiencies.

·           The PCC confirmed that Athena (the Police IT System) would remain and an update would be provided to the Panel in due course.

·         In response to disappointment expressed about the lateness of the Panel being provided with the settlement figure, the PCC explained that he had spoken confidentially with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Panel and then shared the information with the Panel, when it became public.

·         The PCC reiterated that the efficiencies from the dissolution would be re-couped over the medium term.

·         Reassurance was sought about the on-going collaborations (paragraph 28 of the Report) with Warwickshire, particularly the ICT Estate, which was in poor condition and what the contingency was if Warwickshire were unable to continue the collaboration.  The PCC confirmed that plans and contingencies were in place and all but one collaboration would filter out over time.  The PCC was asked to provide the Plan to the Panel, which he agreed to consider.

·         The new Lay Member asked whether before separating from the Alliance any attempts were made to adjust the terms of the Alliance, and if so, whether the separation was a last resort. The PCC provided reassurance that separation was a last resort and that West Mercia didn’t want to continue with ongoing constraints of the Alliance.

·         It was agreed that the Panel would be provided with an update on the progress on the dissolution of the Alliance at every meeting.

·         It was confirmed that the neighbourhood policing teams should be able to provide members with local information and should be contacted in the first instance.

 

In summary, it was agreed that:

 

·         the Panel would receive a regular update at each meeting of the process of the Alliance dissolution including the financial efficiencies

·         the PCC would consider the Panel’s request to see the plan for the ICT Estate.

 

 

 

342.

Draft Annual Report of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel was invited to consider the draft Annual Report 2019/20 of the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and determine whether it would

wish to make any recommendations to the PCC for consideration prior to the Report being finalised.   The Report provided a high level overview of the PCC’s work over the last financial year and the progress made against the Police and Crime Plan.

 

The PCC was asked to introduce the Report and in doing so expressed his gratitude to the Chief Executive, his Team, the Chief Constable and the Police Force for the way in which they had adapted and responded to challenges resulting from COVID-19, this was echoed by the Panel.

 

During the discussion the man points noted were:

 

·       There was a typo on page 4 (The Year in Numbers) of the Draft Annual Report - the number of rape and other sexual offences was 3383 (not 3594).

·       Due to COVID-19, the election of PCC was postponed and therefore the PCC’s term of office was extended until May 2021.

·       Congratulations were noted for the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ Scheme, which had won the national Tilley Award for its partnership approach.

·       The PCC agreed to consider the suggestion that statistics from the previous year were copied on a like for like basis within the current year, thereby showing performance changes as well as providing the ability to identify trends. 

·       The PCC was asked about what progress had been made since Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & (HMICFRS) Inspection of Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) in 2018 inadequate rating.  The PCC was pleased to report that since that time, SOC had seen a greater focus and was a regularly recurring theme of the PCC’s holding to account sessions with the Chief Constable, which had led to major improvements and the Force being rated as good by HMMICFRS in 2019

·       Improvements had also been seen around the victim journey.  The PCC’s Victims’ Board led a review of how the Criminal Justice System improved compliance with the Victims’ Code of Practice. This work led to significant improvements in compliance .

·       The impact of the development of the Athena project on the ability of the Police to share information.

·       Smart Water was commended as an excellent partnership scheme assisting with reduction in burglaries.

·       In response to a question about which other areas were priority for the PCC, the Panel was advised that Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology was an area of investment.

·       In response to a question about how many of the 1,561 hate crimes reported (page 4 the Year in numbers) had resulted in Police action, the PCC referred the Panel to the Performance Summary (Appendix 3).

·       With regard to the power for Police to stop and search, the PCC reassured the Panel that there was external challenge about how the power was used.  It was agreed that the PCC would provide the Panel with the detail about how many stop and search procedures had been conducted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 342.

343.

Proposed Variation to the Safer West Mercia Plan pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel was asked to review the proposed variations to the Safer West Mercia Plan and to make any recommendations to the Police and Crime Commissioner for consideration.

 

In March 2020, the Government announced that local government and police and crime commissioner elections were to be postponed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.  In response to this the PCC reviewed the Safer West Mercia Plan to ensure it remained fit for purpose for an additional period of time.

 

Under Section 5 (5) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the PCC was required to send a proposed variation of the police and crime plan to the Panel for consideration.

 

The PCC must then have regard to any report or recommendation made by the Panel in relation to the variation; give the Panel a response to any such report or recommendations and publish this response prior to publishing the Plan with the variation.

 

During the discussion, the following main points were noted:

 

·       After reviewing the Plan, the PCC was proposing to make some amendments to a number of commitments to ensure that they remained fit for purpose for the remaining life of the Plan. 

·       The PCC’s vision and four overarching objectives remained unchanged.

·       None of the suggested changes to the Plan were material and wouldn’t therefore require consultation.

·       As required under the Act, the Chief Constable had been consulted on the proposed variation.

·       A Member queried how the Chief Constable and PCC planned to work with partners to increase the proportion of hate crimes reported to the Police.  The PCC advised that the work would be focused according to the needs of the community.  It was suggested that Parish Councils were a good source of local information to tap into.

·       A Member asked whether, as a result of COVID-19, the Police had seen an increase in the rate of unemployment resulting in an impact on rates of crime.  The PCC advised that although in unchartered territory, he was confident that the Police were able to deal with crime, but there needed to be a focus on diversionary activity to help prevent crime in the first place.

·       It was confirmed that the West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership was changing its name to the West Mercia Road Safety Team.

·       In response to a Member concern about the increasing problem in communities of young people inhaling Nitrous Oxide, the PCC advised that it needed to be properly regulated.

·       The PCC confirmed that the overall strategy for recruitment in West Mercia was to be representative of the community of West Mercia in terms of BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic)  and was a Plan priority.

 

The Panel agreed the proposed variations to the Safer West Mercia Plan subject to the recommendation that a sentence be added to demonstrate the PCC’s commitment to a smooth transition following the dissolution of the West Mercia and Warwickshire Strategic Alliance.

344.

Police & Crime Plan Activity and Performance Monitoring Report (Jan-Mar 20) pdf icon PDF 331 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel was invited to consider the Police and Crime Plan Activity and Performance Monitoring Report for January to March 2020.

 

The PCC highlighted that:

 

·       Work was ongoing to develop a series of strategies in support of the PCC’s strategic commitments.  The strategies were at different stages of development; drugs, serious and organised crime had been published, public consultation on the draft domestic abuse and road safety strategies ended in the last two weeks and preliminary work had commenced on a victim and witnesses’ strategy. 

·       Analysis of feedback on the draft domestic abuse and road safety strategies would be used by the PCC to inform any changes to the draft documents before they were finalised.  Headline findings from each consultation and draft copies of the Strategies were attached to the Agenda Report and the Panel was invited to provide feedback to the PCC by 21 June.

·       In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the PCC had established a fund of £50,000.  The fund enabled Town and Parish Councils across West Mercia to apply for the money, which then allowed volunteer groups to get essential items such as face masks, gloves and ID badges in order to be able to continue the vital work they were doing in communities, and support those that needed it most.  Over £37,000 had been distributed so far with more than 25 groups benefiting from this funding.

 

During the discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·       Several Members of the Panel expressed concern about road safety and community speed watch schemes.  It was suggested that better partnership working and establishing good links with the local  Neighbourhood Policing Teams was important.  The Chief Constable also advised that it was a Force and PCC priority and that he was the national lead in this area and there was a definite commitment to improvements.

·       The backlog of court cases resulting from COVID-19 was discussed. The PCC and his office had been actively engaged at a national, regional and local level working to help resolve some of the problems.  The PCC had allocated funding and pressed for virtual court hearings to be introduced in April, with some rolled out early to combat the issues around COVID-19 and had more recently written to the Secretary of State for Justice and to local MPs to express his concerns around the growing backlog of over 1200 criminal cases, with no clear plan in place to address the issues.

345.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered its Work Programme and discussed possible future issues to be added. The Chairman asked Members to email him with all suggestions for the Work Programme, which would then be considered and prioritised. It was noted that a number of members were interested in the implementation of the Road Strategy and road safety.  Cllr Tremellen advised that Shropshire Council had set up a Task Group looking into road safety and any work in this area should take this into account.

 

Councillors Wood, Lavery and Bowen indicated their interest in joining the Budget Task Group.