Agenda and minutes

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Khalid Ahmed, Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel Scrutiny Officer  Tel: 07990 368048; Email:  khalid.ahmed@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Link: video link to meeting

Items
No. Item

10/20

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted by Phillip Morrice (Independent Member).

11/20

Minutes pdf icon PDF 769 KB

To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 February 2020.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 14 February 2020 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

12/20

Police and Crime Commissioner's Response to COVID-19 pdf icon PDF 632 KB

To consider a report of the PCC on his response to Covid 19.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report which summarised how the Police and Crime Commissioner and Thames Valley Police responded to the Coronavirus pandemic since the national emergency measures were introduced by the Government in March 2020.

 

The Chairman thanked Thames Valley Police for the work they had carried out during the Pandemic.

 

Questions

 

(1) What provision did the PCC and the Chief Constable make to ensure that front line Police Officers had Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

 

[The Police and Crime Commissioner reported that Thames Valley Police were the lead force in terms of procuring PPE nationally and officers in the Thames Valley had been adequately supplied during the pandemic to enable officers to carry out their duties safely.]

 

(2) Could details be provided on the increase in Domestic Violence which resulted, particularly, once lockdown was eased?

 

[The Police and Crime Commissioner reported that unsurprisingly all crime across the Thames Valley had dropped, including Domestic Violence. This could have been because people were frightened to report crimes or because during self-isolation people were not seeing the perpetrators of such crimes. However, since the easing of lockdown, there had been evidence of Domestic Violence increasing. Reference was made to the emergency number victims could use and if they were frightened officers would get back to them.

 

The Chief Constable expressed his concern that victims of Domestic Violence would not be able to access support services such as charities and local authorities. Reference was made to a vulnerability task force which had been set up who carried out risk assessments on known victims of Domestic Violence. Over 1500 victims had been contacted and overall the response had been positive.]

 

(3)       Were there any indications that children were suffering more than adults in terms of abuse during the pandemic?

 

[The Chief Constable reported that during lockdown there had been a reduction in the reporting of cases. This was because schools were a main source of reporting of such crimes. However, there had been an increase nationally in the number of cases of the sharing of indecent images of children. Once schools were reopened it was expected that there would be an increase in the reporting of abuse against children and police resources would be ready for this.]

 

(4)       In relation to crime reporting reference was made to the decreases in telephone calls to TVP during the Pandemic. Should local authorities be promoting greater use of on-line reporting.

 

[The Police and Crime Commissioner reported that it was much easier if the public reported crime on-line, however, this was not the preferred way by most of the public, particularly the elderly.

 

The Chief Constable commented that there had been a reduction in the number of calls during the Pandemic, but a significant number of calls were taken regarding Covid 19 breaches. Callers were encouraged to report on-line and this had resulted in a 176% increase. The message had been, if the crime was happening now, stay on the line, otherwise report the crime on-line if possible.]  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12/20

13/20

Police and Crime Commissioner's Annual Report - 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 291 KB

To consider the PCC’s Annual Report for 2019-20.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the Police and Crime Commissioner was required to produce and publish an Annual Report which summarised the exercise of the PCC’s functions in each financial year and the progress which had been made in the financial year in meeting the objectives contained in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan.

 

The PCC introduced the report and informed the Panel that the report covered the activities undertaken and progress made by the PCC during the period 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, in meeting the objectives contained in his Police and Crime Plan 2017-2021.

 

The TVP performance headlines were reported. Crime levels reported to TVP increased by 7.6% in 2019/20 compared to the previous year (2018/19).  This

compared to a national increase of 6%.

 

Although challenges remain, there had been a number of successes such as a 4.1% reduction in residential burglary. A proactive increase in the use of Stop & Search was directly related to the increase in the number of possession of weapons (+18%) and possession of drugs (+21%) incidents.

 

The PCC referred to volume crime outcomes which continued to be a challenge and reference was made to an increase in both rape and sexual offence crimes  on last year. This was primarily due to better reporting and putting more resource into this area. There remained challenges in getting these cases through the Courts.

 

Reference was made to inspections from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Service where generally TVP received good reports. However, outcomes of crime were not taken into consideration and two of the best inspection reports were for forces who had the worst outcomes of crime in the country.

 

Questions

 

(1)       In relation to Strategic Objective 3, Reducing Re-offending, the Police and Crime Commissioner was asked about the increase in the use of “Stop and Search” and whether he had details on the breakdown of who was being targeted and whether it was being carried out proportionately.

 

[The Police and Crime Commissioner reported that he did not have the figures but “Stop and Search” was being used very much in line with how it was previously used. The reduction in “Stop and Search” resulted in higher crime communities. The use of “Stop and Search” was carried out very much on the judgement of the Police and he believed it was used reasonably. The Complaints, Integrity and Ethics Panel and the Audit Committee regularly monitored the figures. It was agreed that details on “Stop and Search” would be circulated to Panel Members outside the meeting.]

 

(2)       How should the Panel interpret the report in terms of performance as there were no outcomes detailed in the report. Was there a reason for changing the format from last year? 

 

[The Police and Crime Commissioner said this could be looked at. The Chairman commented that comparisons could be made with previous years if the formatting was the same and outcomes were included to show the performance in the PCC’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13/20

14/20

Police and Crime Panel's Annual Report 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 649 KB

To consider the Police and Crime Panel’s Annual Report for 2019-20.

Minutes:

The Panel noted the Police and Crime Panel Annual Report which summarised the activities of the Panel during 2019/20.

 

The Chairman summarised the work of the Panel throughout the year and thanked the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable for their efforts in helping the Panel throughout the year.

 

Particular reference was made to the Panel’s work programme items for the forthcoming year which included:

 

·         Exploitation - Preventing CSE/Modern Slavery/Forced Marriage/Hidden Harm/ FGM

·         Rural Crime

·         Community Safety Partnerships Updates

·         Update on Recruitment and Retention within Thames Valley Police

·         Update on Local Policing Model

·         Property/Assets – Looking at shared facilities between TVP and other “blue light” emergency services

·         Work and Structure of the Thames Valley Road Safety Working Group/Safer Road Strategy

·         Progress on Violence Reduction Unit

 

RESOLVED - That the Annual Report be adopted and published and that Panel Members submit the Annual Report to their respective Authorities for information.

15/20

Taxi-Licensing Coordinator Single Point of Contact Post

To assess the effectiveness of the ‘Taxi-Licensing Coordinator Single Point of Contact’ post (currently hosted by TVP and temporarily funded by the PCC) to inform future funding decisions by TV local authorities concerning that post.

Minutes:

An update was provided by the Police and Crime Commissioner on the Taxi-Licensing Co-ordinator Single Point of Contact Post and the Panel was asked to discuss the effectiveness of the post and the future funding of the post going forward.

 

The Police and Crime Commissioner questioned whether the post added value and suggested that that the taxi licensing co-ordinator should be a Council post to enable better co-ordination.

 

A general discussion took place and the following points were made:

 

·         There needed to be national taxi licensing guidelines and standards to ensure consistency across all licensing authorities

·         There needed to be a single flow of information from one officer co-ordinating across the Thames Valley

·         The Police and Crime Commissioner said he would raise the issue of standardisation of licensing guidelines through the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners but that he would need a paper on taxi licensing from a Council officer with expertise.

·         A possible Thames Valley conference be held for all licensing authorities to enable a consistent set of taxi-licensing standards to be agreed. There was concern that this would be unworkable because of the differences across the licensing authorities of the three counties  

·         The Local Government Association (LGA) be approached to ask them to consider the matter because of the difficulty in getting approval of standardisation across all the licensing authorities. National guidance could be issued which could be forwarded to other PCPs and licensing authorities.

 

After discussion of the above options it was:

 

RESOLVED  - (1) That the Police and Crime Commissioner be asked to raise the issue of standardisation of licensing guidelines through the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

 

(2) That the LGA be approached to ask them to consider getting the approval of national standardisation of taxi licensing guidelines across all the licensing authorities.

16/20

Chairman and PCC Updates and Topical Issues pdf icon PDF 469 KB

The PCC and Chairman of the Panel To provide updates.

 

The PCC has been asked a question by a Member of the Panel on any reviews which the commissioner has undertaken to ensure that the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement are being addressed by TVP.

 

Has the PCC sought information on:

·       The current make-up of Thames Valley Police Force with regard to protected characteristics compared to the community at large

·       What training is given to officers in order to overcome any inherent prejudice

·       Any statistics that are available regarding the number of people issued with penalties for breaches of lockdown and whether these have been disproportionately issued to people from the BAME communities.

 

To note and ask questions on the topical issues report.

Minutes:

The following written question was submitted:

 

(1)       The Police and Crime Commissioner was asked whether any reviews had been undertaken to ensure that the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement were being addressed by TVP.

 

Has the commissioner sought information on:

·         The current make-up of the force regarding protected characteristics compared to the community at large

·         What training is given to officers in order to overcome any inherent prejudice

·         Any statistics that are available regarding the number of people issued with penalties for breaches of lockdown and whether these have been disproportionately issued to people from the BAME communities.

 

[The Police and Crime Commissioner replied that TVP had become more representative of the communities it served in the Thames Valley during his term as PCC. The Chief Constable was making a huge effort in terms of recruitment; however, this could not be sorted out overnight. It would be a long process as existing Police Officers tended to have long careers. A huge effort was being made to recruit people from the Black and Minority Ethnic groups and there had been an increase. Reference was made for the need to recruit fairly and not to discriminate against any other ethnic group just to increase another ethnic group’s proportionality. The Chief Constable reported that protected characteristics included being a representative police service of the community, in terms of the legitimacy of the service, reflecting and looking like the community it served.

 

The Panel was informed that there were 7,500 staff, of which 56% were female. Asian and Black staff accounted for 7% of the workforce. That was 535 staff who self-identified as BAME, although there were a number, as a matter of personal choice who did not self-identify. It was acknowledged that representation was too low, and it was assessed that it should be around 14% of the force being from BAME. There were around 5.5% of Police Officers in TVP who were from BAME.

 

The Chief Constable acknowledged that this was too low. A positive action team had been created, comprising of BAME staff, who had been using their experience and knowledge in recruitment to increase applications from the BAME community. During recruitment in June, there were 330 applications, with 24% applications from the BAME community, which was encouraging.  This needed to be translated into a reflective and transparent service as it was important that TVP had a diversity of background, in terms of visibility and of thought.             

 

All training given to Police Officers included equality training. The Chief Constable reported that regarding inherent prejudice there were checks and balances put in place. There was a developed selection process where applicants were given on-line testing with scenarios given and these can tease out any prejudices. In addition, there was a 2-3-year course before an officer could be accepted into the Police Force where a lot of the training was to do with diversity and understanding communities. There was an embedded code of ethics which new recruits signed up to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16/20