The Panel was invited to consider the draft Annual Report of PCC for West Mercia and determine whether it would wish to make any recommendations to the PCC for consideration. The Report for 2017/18 provided a high-level overview of the PCC’s work over the last financial year.
Under Section 12 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the PCC was required to report to the Police and Crime Panel on the exercise of his functions in each financial year. Specifically, the Annual Report should report on:
a) the exercise of the PCC’s functions in each financial year, and
b) the progress which has been made in the financial year in meeting the police and crime objectives in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan.
In accordance with the Act, the Panel was required to review the Report and to make any recommendations to the PCC for consideration. The PCC must then respond to any report or recommendations that the Panel make prior to publishing the final version on the Report.
The PCC introduced the Report and circulated Neighbourhood Team profiles to the Panel for information. The PCC explained that the last year had built on the foundations set out in his first year in office continuing with the principles of: Putting victims first, and delivering a secure, reformed, reassured and ultimately safer West Mercia and highlighted examples from the Report.
During the discussion, the following main points were made:
· Body Worn Video (BWV) seemed to be giving local Police Officers greater confidence when carrying out their roles but it was too early to confirm whether the number of complaints received had reduced as a result
· It was confirmed that the Custody Suite in Leominster was not operational and that standards had changed since it had been built. The PCC however, was confident that there were sufficient Custody Suites in West Mercia
· Although plans had taken a long time to come to fruition, the PCC confirmed that progress was being made for a shared police and fire station in Hereford
· As mentioned earlier in the meeting, the PCC confirmed his commitment to filling and maintaining the PCSO posts
· The benefits of Smart Water were often not understood and it was important to continue promoting this
· Talks were at an advanced stage for a shared police and fire station in Redditch
· Reducing reoffending on more serious crime was complex, one example of work in this area was the Drive project in Worcestershire. This was a new response to tackling the behaviour of high risk domestic abuse perpetrators, using a one-to-one case management approach. Other services eg mental health were also allocating resources to this area
· It was suggested that the reference to the levels of recorded crime (page 3) was confusing to the reader when the proportions of crime were not given in the paragraph.
The Panel discussed the Report and the only recommendation made was for the PCC to consider prior to publishing the final version of the Report whether the levels of recorded crime (page 3) could be better identified by using performance data within the Report.