Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual

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

Link: videolink to meeting

Items
No. Item

17/20

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted by Councillor John Harrison (Bracknell Forest Council) (Councillor Dorothy Hayes substituting).

18/20

Appointment of Vice-Chairman to the Panel

To agree the appointment of a Vice-Chairman to the Panel.

Minutes:

Councillor Bill-Bendyshe-Brown was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Panel for the rest of the municipal year.

19/20

Minutes pdf icon PDF 716 KB

To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 June 2020.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 June 2020 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

[The Panel was informed that in relation to Minute 15/20 – Taxi-Licensing Coordinator Single Point of Contact Post -the Panel’s decision on requesting that the LGA consider taking forward the standardisation of taxi licensing was sent. The response was that the Department of Transport has produced statutory guidance on taxi licensing but there was still no legislation standardising licensing. Further discussions would take place with the LGA on taking this forward.

 

The PCC undertook to take this forward and update the Panel.]  

20/20

Review of Panel Rules of Procedure, Panel Membership and appointment to Sub-Committee and Task Groups pdf icon PDF 561 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received a report which provided details of the Panel’s Rules of Procedure and Panel Arrangements. A number of minor amendments were agreed which would update the documents.

 

Reference was made to the last meeting of the Panel held on 19 June 2020, where Members were informed that Buckinghamshire Council had made Co-Opted Member appointments to the Panel, which were subject to interview. It was reported that the four Co-Opted Members were interviewed by the Chairman of the Police and Crime Panel, Councillor Bendyshe-Brown and Councillor Patman and their appointments were confirmed.

 

It was also reported that Buckinghamshire Council had appointed Councillor David Carroll as a Standing Deputy Member, for the appointed full Member, Councillor Bill Bendyshe-Brown.

 

The Panel was asked to consider the memberships of the Panel’s Complaints Sub-Committee and the Budget Task and Finish Group.

 

RESOLVED – (1) That the Panel’s Rules of Procedure and Panel Arrangements be noted, subject to the amendments made.

 

(2) That ratification of the following appointments of the 4 Buckinghamshire Council Co-Opted Members be made:

Councillor Julia Adey (co-opted)

Councillor Emily Culverhouse (co-opted)

Councillor Ray Sangster (co-opted)

Councillor Mark Winn (co-opted)

 

(3) That approval be given to the memberships of the following:

 

Complaints Sub-Committee (7)– Cllr Julia Adey, Cllr Bill Bendyshe-Brown, Cllr Emily Culverhouse, Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cllr Kieron Mallon, Cllr Norman MacRae and Phillip Morrice.

 

Budget Task and Finish Group (5) – Cllr Robin Bradburn, Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cllr Barrie Patman and Cllr David Rouane. (1 vacancy)

21/20

Themed Item - Exploitation - Preventing CSE/Modern Slavery/Forced Marriage/Hidden Harm/Female Genital Mutilation and Honour Based Crime/People Trafficking pdf icon PDF 385 KB

To consider reports and background information from the PCC on the Panel’s themed item on Exploitation.

 

A representative from Oxford Against Cutting will be in attendance and for the Panel’s information the organisation’s Annual Review for 2020 is attached.

 

Attached are:

 

Appendix 1 - an infographic (‘Overview of Modern Slavery in the Thames Valley – 2019’)

Appendix 2 - short presentation by the OPCC to the ‘Modern Slavery National Networking Meeting’ held on 1 October 2019 which summarises PCC activity in this service area

Appendix 3 - Paper on ‘Evaluation of a Model for Identifying and Supporting Victims of Modern Slavery and Exploitation’

Appendix 4 - the ‘Unseen Modern Slavery Helpline (national helpline) Annual Assessment 2018’ report

Appendix 5 - In 2017, the OPCC ran a FGM workshop attended by a range of professionals and, from this, identified key concerns in the Thames Valley

Appendix 6 - FGM Awareness Training Project Infographic

Appendix 7 - Data Masters Workshop on data for hidden harm - honour-based abuse (January 2020) (presentation attached)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel was provided with a report on its wide-ranging themed item of “Exploitation”, together with additional supporting documents relating to the areas covered under “Exploitation”.

 

The Police and Crime Commissioner provided statistics and data for the Thames Valley to enable Panel members to receive a Thames Valley perspective on the issues of exploitation and the prevention of child sexual exploitation (CSE), modern slavery, forced marriage, hidden harm, female genital mutilation (FGM) and people trafficking.

 

The Panel was informed that from a PCC’s perspective, the prevention of exploitation generally related to two of the strategic priorities detailed in the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan 2017-2021:

·         Strategic Priority 1, ‘Vulnerability’ (which includes the response by police and partners to human trafficking, forced marriages, FGM, CSE and other hidden harm such as honour-based violence, coercive control, stalking and harassment)

·         Strategic Priority 2, ‘Prevention and Early Intervention’ (which includes the prevention of CSE and FGM).

 

The Chairman of the Panel gave Members the background to the item and referred to this Panel setting up a Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Sub-Committee as a result of the Operation Bullfinch Inquiry into sexual exploitation of children in Oxford. The PCC provided brilliant support to this to drive forward the objectives of the Sub-Committee which was to raise awareness across the Thames Valley of CSE and other exploitation related issues.

 

Kate Agha from Oxford against Cutting attended the meeting and provided the Panel with details of the work the organisation carried out throughout the three counties of the Thames Valley, in conjunction with other organisations.

 

FGM was a form of child abuse and a violation of Human Rights. Oxford against Cutting was a diverse organisation, both at Board Level and in terms of Directors and facilitators. Women of different nationalities, some of whom have been affected by the practice carry out the work of the organisation.

 

The organisation focused on harmful practises such as FGM, Honour Based abuses and Forced Marriages. The core work was around prevention and education with workshops facilitated by survivors of harmful practises, so they had that experience and knowledge to enable them to speak about the impact of these practises and the impact on the individual and families.

 

Oxford against Cutting received funding from the PCC for a two-year school project and was able to provide 60 sessions in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, which reached 2,770 people by the end of the 2 years.

 

FGM was a taboo subject, was hidden, was difficult to measure and hard to know how to prevent. This was a cultural issue, with people often reluctant to talk about it. There was a nervousness of teachers in school talking about FGM and Forced Marriage, particularly because of cultural sensitivity.

 

A consequence of the sessions has been the huge increase in confidence in talking about FGM during safeguarding. In Berkshire for example before the schools’ project, 43% were not confident talking about the issue, but at the end of the training, 71% felt more confident.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/20

22/20

Police and Crime Plan Strategic Priority 4: Performance Report - Serious Organised Crime and Terrorism pdf icon PDF 376 KB

To consider the attached report from the PCC.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the PCC, which summarised the progress to date (Year 3, 2019/20, quarter 4) on the delivery of the Police and Crime Plan Strategic Priority 4 – Serious Organised Crime and Terrorism.

 

Questions

 

(1)       Could the PCC provide details of where improvements needed to be made in relation to the management of organised crime groups and county lines drug gangs and would this involve CSPs?

 

[The PCC reported that in relation to Serious Organised Crime there had been recent major operations led by the National Crime Agency which produced results. Reference was made to Major Fraud which the National Crime Agency estimated amounted to around £190 Billion; bigger than drug related crime.

 

Serious Organised Crime gangs were very organised and operated via sophisticated encrypted IT. In relation to county lines, this was ongoing national problem, which during Covid 19, had been easier to deal with. However, since the easing of lockdown with more cars on the road and trains running, this had increased. County lines emanated from major cities and TVP only had the ability to stop once the activity came into the Thames Valley.

 

The Chief Constable provided details of how the Police nationally and locally dealt with Serious Organised Crime, including county lines. There was lots of Police disruptive work taking place, but the problem was huge. There was lots of casual use of drugs as well as addict use, and a campaign had taken place to highlight the issue. A hostile environment was needed to disrupt the trade, together with a multi-agency approach including CSPs to disrupt the trade in drugs.]                    

 

(2)       The Member from Reading Borough Council wished to place on record her thanks to the Chief Constable and to Thames Valley Police for the work they had carried out during and post the recent terrorist attack in Reading.

 

The PCC was asked, with the recent terrorist attack in Forbury Gardens Reading what work is he doing to ensure there is increased vigilance from residents of the threat of terrorism in Thames Valley?

 

[The PCC acknowledged that it was difficult to get over to the public that there was always the threat of terrorism. The public needed to look into their own communities at times as there were extremists from the far right and far left and from religious groups. From initial investigations the Forbury Gardens attacker was a lone operator. Counter Terrorism Police had information on 30 – 40,000 persons of interest and it was impossible to place all of these on permanent surveillance. It was very difficult for the Police if someone suspected a person of being a terrorist unless there was firm evidence.

 

The Chief Constable referred to Prevent which was the Government’s counter terrorism strategy which aimed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting them. The strategy aimed at providing practical help and support to stop individuals being drawn into terrorism. The Police and other agencies worked very closely in an attempt to divert those identified  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/20

23/20

Police and Crime Plan Strategic Priority 5 - Performance Report - Police Ethics and Reform pdf icon PDF 374 KB

To consider the attached report from the PCC.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the PCC, which summarised the progress to date (Year 3, 2019/20, quarter 4) on the delivery of the Police and Crime Plan Strategic Priority 5 – Police Ethics and Reform.

 

Questions

 

(1)       How was the PCC trying to improve the perception of the Police amongst young people, particularly with increases in the use of stop and search tactics?

 

[The PCC reported that the Police were not receiving complaints in relation to stop and search which seemed to be effective and fair. There had been increases in knife crime because of the use of stop and search. This practice had to be watched carefully and had to be used fairly and proportionally.]

 

(2)       In relation to the safety of all Police staff, will the PCC be providing the necessary support and funding to TVP to enable the recommendations of the recent National Police Chiefs’ Council review into Police Safety to be implemented?  Reference was made to the use of body worn cameras which caused less confrontation which was welcome.    

 

[The PCC informed the Panel that it was unclear what the costs would be, although a big cost would be in relation to the increased provision of tasers. Funding for this would come from the Home Office. Police safety was very important in light of the tragic circumstances in PC Andrew Harper’s killing.

 

The use of body worn cameras was very useful, particularly in relation to the night time economy.]

 

(3)       Could the PCC provide an update on the implementation of the Contact Management Platform, particularly around crime recording? Has this been successful?   

 

[The PCC replied that the implementation of the Contact Management Platform had been a long and difficult process and he was not satisfied at the delays of implementation. The system would transform the reporting processes in one shared platform for Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Constabulary.]

 

(4)       With the Covid 19 Pandemic changing the way organisations provide services, what impact has the pandemic had on the Police as a service? Reference was made to officers of neighbourhood policing teams being diverted into Response Teams. 

 

[The Chief Constable reported that during the Covid 19 Pandemic, Policing had to be prioritised so policing teams had to be merged to ensure that Police numbers were available for priority operational needs. Officer had now returned to neighbourhood teams.]

 

RESOLVED - That the report of the PCC and the progress made on the delivery of the Police and Crime key aims in relation to Police Ethics and Reform be noted.

24/20

Annual Assurance Report 2019 from the Joint Independent Audit Committee to the PCC for Thames Valley and the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police pdf icon PDF 463 KB

To consider the attached report from the Joint Independent Audit Committee.

Minutes:

Members received the Annual Assurance Report 2019 from the Joint Independent Audit Committee of the PCC and Chief Constable. The Joint Independent Audit Committee was a key component of the arrangements for securing effective corporate governance and provided an independent and high-level focus on the audit, assurance and reporting arrangements that underpinned good governance and financial management and reporting standards.

 

The PCC reported that the Chairman of the Joint Committee, Dr Louis Lee, had retired and the membership had changed.

 

The PCC was asked to provide information on the Tri-Force Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system which the External Auditors had expressed concern at the financial and operational risks. The Panel was informed that this was a complex issue and it was agreed that an update be provided to the Panel before the next Panel meeting.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted and the PCC and Chief Constable be asked to provide an update on the ERP system to Panel Members.       

25/20

Update on Recruitment and Retention within Thames Valley Police pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

The Panel was provided with a report which provided details of Police recruitment and Retention within Thames Valley.

 

The Chief Constable summarised the key parts of the report:

 

·         In the year 1st April 2019 to 31st March 2020, TVP appointed 470.3 new officers. 376 of these were recruits and 31 officers transferred in from other forces.

·         Year to date (1st April 2020 to 31st July 2020) TVP have appointed 149 new student officers. 7.4% of these recruits are from a BAME background, 28.2% are female. The Panel congratulated the Chief Constable on these figures.

·         This year police officer leavers have significantly reduced from a predicted average based on the last two years of 26 per month to 17 per month. This was due to officers delaying plans to retire, transfer out or resigning due to the uncertainty caused by Covid 19. Transfers out were predicted to increase to previous yearly averages but resignations were likely to remain lower.

·         Recruitment had not been significantly affected by Covid 19. Processes had been adapted to enable TVP to continue on bringing people into TVP e.g. online assessment centres. The recruitment pipeline was very healthy with enough candidates to fill intakes through to the new year. There were a further 10 intakes/courses of 19 students each planned for this year. (Total for year 20 courses).

·         Operation Uplift - In September 2019 the government announced an uplift of 20,000 officers over 3 years across the country. In year 1, TVP were awarded 183 of that number and TVP were on track to exceed that number by 31st March 2021. Numbers for years 2 and 3 had not yet been announced by the Home Office but it was predicted that TVP would get a further 150 officers in each year.

·         Officers from the 1st Uplift tranche were all being posted to the frontline ICR teams.

·         Detectives - Forces across the country had been experiencing a shortage in detectives. At the end of July TVP had 24.3 vacancies - but this was a reduction of 18.9 on the months before and represented a significant improvement. There were an increased number of officers taking the National Investigators Exam (96 enlisted for Sept) and there were increased numbers applying to become DCs.

·         TVP had undertaken a number of initiatives to encourage applications, including increased exam support and the process that enabled PCs to join CID before they took the National Investigators’ Examination, alongside the recruitment events which were held for DCs.

·         Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire DC establishments were forecast to be close to 100% of establishment over the next three months.

·         TVP were currently open for recruitment for the Specialist Entry DHEP programme which starts in early 2021. There was also a Police Now detective cohort starting in January. This was a combined total of 48 new aspiring detectives.

·         Police Community Support Officer numbers were 60.1 under their establishment of 413. This was partly due to a significant number joining to be police officers.

·         There was a high turnover of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25/20

26/20

Report of the Complaints Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 264 KB

To receive the report of the Panel’s Complaints Sub-Committee.

Minutes:

The Panel noted the report of the Complaints Sub-Committee.

27/20

Chairman/PCC Updates/Topical Issues pdf icon PDF 563 KB

To receive updates from the Chairman or PCC and to note and ask questions on the topical issues report.

Minutes:

A Member asked the PCC about the recent announcement that all crime had fallen by a third during the Covid 19 crisis but drug crime had risen nationally in April by 20%, and in May by 40%. How did these figures compare with Thames Valley’s figures? The Panel was informed that overall in the Thames Valley during lockdown, some crimes had fallen dramatically, however with the movement of people restricted, detection rates had risen which may have accounted for the increase in these figures.  

 

A number of Panel Members raised the issue of the problem of car cruising clubs and the impact this had on local communities. The PCC and Chief Constable were asked for the Police policy on these gatherings. The Chief Constable referred to the use of Open Space Orders which had worked, although this often displaced the activity.

 

The Chairman referred to often different approaches from Local Area Commanders and that there should be a common approach/policy across the Force area. A comparison was made with the different approaches by local authorities to illegal traveller encampments because Traveller legislation does not provide consistency.

 

The report of the Scrutiny Officer on topical issues was received.   

28/20

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 535 KB

For Panel Members to put forward items for the Work Programme including ideas for themed meetings.

Minutes:

Noted.