Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Contact: Sheena Jones 


No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the Meeting. 


It was noted that Councillor Nazir (Redditch Borough Council) had been appointed to the Panel  in place of Councillor Julian Grubb. 


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.


Named Substitutes




Apologies and Declarations of Interest


Apologies were received from Cllrs Durkin and Lavery.


A declaration of interest was made by Cllr Mackay as he 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 Director for Legal and Governance 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 18 September 2020).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/email address listed below.




Confirmation of the Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 252 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Panel meeting held on 15 June 2020.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 June 2020 were agreed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chairman.


The Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) Rural Crime Delivery Plan Update pdf icon PDF 254 KB

Additional documents:


The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) introduced the Rural Crime Strategy published in March 2020 following public consultation and consultation with the Panel.  The Strategy set out the PCC’s aspirations for tackling rural crime based on the PIER approach of Prevention, Intelligence, Enforcement and Reassurance.


Each PIER section within the Strategy set out a number of commitments to facilitate delivery of the overarching aspirations and objective of the Strategy, which was to reduce the crimes that had most impact on rural communities. The commitments and associated activities were detailed in the Strategy Delivery Plan which provided an overview of activity in relation to rural crime, to enable monitoring of progress against the commitments as set out in the Strategy.


During the discussion, the following main points were made:


·         Fly tipping was an increasing problem for rural communities and whilst acknowledging that it was a primary responsibility for local authorities, the Police were keen to work in partnership to tackle the issue.  It was suggested that CCTV may be a good deterrent.

·         A number of Councillors had concerns about speeding in their communities.  The PCC advised that speeding was addressed mainly through the Road Safety Strategy and was an area of focus for the Police but acknowledged that there needed to be more promotion around public awareness.  The PCC reminded Members about Operation Snap which was an initiative where members of the public could report and submit digital footage showing potential traffic offences via a secure online form

·         The increased usage of nitrous oxide was discussed, the PCC believed that this was a problem in both rural and urban areas and retailers restricting the supply of it would be helpful in tackling it

·         A Member suggested that hedge removal in the bird breeding season was a problem in Herefordshire and that reported incidents often didn’t receive a response

·         In response to the discussion about staffing levels in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams, the PCC confirmed that where there a post existed, it should be staffed and if this was not happening Members should advise the PCC

·         A Member highlighted a staffing issue in Shropshire which DCC Moss reassured he was aware of and addressing

·         The PCC highlighted that as part of the commitment to improve road safety, a new Safer Roads Fund had been launched which aimed to improve road safety.  The fund was available to the public, local authorities, fire and rescue services and those involved in voluntary organisations by application

·         A Member raised an examples of stolen farm equipment which, although had received a very good Police response had taken a while for the recovered equipment to be returned to the farmer and so was disruptive in terms of business continuity. The PCC agreed to look at the details of the specific issue outside of the Meeting.


It was noted that the Panel would receive a regular updates on the outcomes of  the Strategy in due course and that would be added to the Work Programme.



Effectiveness and Efficiencies Progress Report pdf icon PDF 306 KB


The Panel had before them a Report provided in response to the Panel’s  request for  an update on the dissolution of the Strategic Alliance between Warwickshire and West Mercia Police.


During the discussion the following main points were made:


·       The Force was on target for achieving both the operational and organisational budgeted savings of £5.284m of which a significant proportion could be directly attributed to the Alliance split and included progress made during the COVID19 pandemic

·       The Force had a new command and control system, SAAB Safe, which went live at the end of June 2020. SAAB Safe was implemented more quickly than anticipated towards the end of the Alliance, with the implementation simplified and the process significantly streamlined when acting as a single force

·       The new system integrated with local and national intelligence tools, enhancing the information available to the Operational Control Centre (OCC) and officers responding to calls for service, reducing duplication associated with accessing multiple systems.

·       In response to a Members concern about a lack of response when reporting crime which was taking place in West Mercia but being reported from outside of West Mercia eg when on holiday and viewing through CCTV that a home had been broken into. The PCC reassured the Member that the details of the crime should get passed to the correct Police Force irrespective of where it was reported from and dealt with accordingly, although he acknowledged that the process may not be as slick as it should be

·       The separation from Warwickshire had allowed for greater articulation and focus on Serious and Organised Crime (SOC) which in the 2017 PEEL Effectiveness report, HMICFRS graded West Mercia as ‘inadequate’ in the response to tackling SOC. This improvement was recognised in the last HMICFRS PEEL inspection report and SOC was now rated as ‘good’. No other inspection areas were rated as inadequate

·       Reference was made to the specific savings attributable to the Alliance separation, which would be examined in greater detail as part of the Budget Scrutiny process.



Police & Crime Plan Activity and Performance Monitoring Report (April - June 2020) pdf icon PDF 367 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel considered the Police & Crime Plan Activity and Performance Monitoring Report (April – June 2020).


The PCC highlighted some examples of recent activity in support of the Safer West Mercia Plan’s four key objectives:


·         £341,363.39 emergency COVID money had been received from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)  to support victims of sexual abuse and violence and domestic abuse

·         £550,000  had been secured from the MoJ Safer Streets fund, which was launched as part of a commitment to invest into towns and cities and ensure they were as safe as possible for residents.  The area of Brookside, in Telford, was put forward after suffering from burglary and thefts for a number of years

·         As mentioned in the previous discussion, the PCC had allocated £280,000 to the Safer Roads fund for initiatives which aimed to improve road safety.


In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the PCC established a Coronavirus response fund.  In total £47,279.94 of the £50,000 earmarked was given out to community groups, charities and organisations allowing groups at the heart of the pandemic to purchase essential items such as face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser, as well as printing supplies and envelopes, enabling the most vulnerable and at risk to be supported throughout.


The PCC’s Chief Executive explained that the Home Office had reformed the way reviews of police complaints were dealt with. From February this year, PCCs had taken on extra responsibilities for reviewing how complaints were dealt with where the complainant was not happy with the outcome if a case had been investigated by West Mercia Police’s Professional Standards Department.  This had resulted in a large number of people contacting the PCC’s office seeking a review of often very complex and challenging cases.  An independent and qualified external body had been appointed to assess reviews on the PCCs behalf, although the final decision on the outcome remained with the PCC.


During the discussion, the following main points were discussed:


·         In March, HMICFRS advised all PCC’s and Chief Constables that the inspectorate would be suspending its inspection programme in response to Coronavirus. This was followed by a further update in July that the HMICFRS inspection programme would commence in October, with a focus on the COVID-19 response and the force had been informed that it would be one of the forces inspected at part of this.

·         In response to a  question about whether the PCC was minded to submit another business case for fire governance at the appropriate time, the PCC advised that he still believed that it was the right thing to do but was awaiting the outcome of the White Paper before making further decisions

·         The PCC was commended on the Scheme whereby he had donated eight bicycles to a Worcestershire based educational centre that aimed to develop positive attitude and skills, for future employment, in young people. It was agreed that further details of the Scheme would be sent to the Panel for information

·         It was noted that the performance information relating to Safer Roads  ...  view the full minutes text for item 353.


Complaints 2019-20 Annual Report pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel received the Complaints 2019-20 Annual Report which was one of the Panel's functions under the Elected Local Policing Bodies (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2012 to deal with non-criminal complaints about the conduct of the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and his Deputy. 


During 2019-20,  2 complaints were recorded concerning the conduct of the PCC.  Both were resolved informally. No complaints were referred to the Sub-Committee.


5 further purported complaints were received but were not recorded as the content did not meet the requirements of the Regulations.


The report was noted.




Work Programme pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel discussed its work programme and it was agreed that:


·       Any Members who were interested in joining the Budget Scrutiny Task Group (who hadn’t already put themselves forward), should advise the Chairman

·       Given the Panel’s widespread concern about PCC’s role in respect of road safety, consideration should be given to setting up a Task Group to look at this matter in depth, noting and taking into account the Scrutiny that had already been carried out by Shropshire Council. Members were asked to notify the Chairman if they were interested in joining a Task Group.