Agenda and minutes

Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel - Friday, 26 March 2021 11.00 am

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Khalid Ahmed, Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel Scrutiny Officer  Tel: 07990 368048; Email:

Link: videolink to meeting

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were submitted by Councillor Julia Adey (Co-Opted Member, Buckinghamshire Council), Councillor Adele Barnett-Ward (Reading Borough Council (Councillor Liz Terry Substituting)) and Councillor Merilyn Davies (West Oxfordshire District Council).


Anthony Stansfeld, Thames Valley’s Police and Crime Commissioner also submitted his apologies.       


Minutes pdf icon PDF 621 KB

To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2021.


The Minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 29 January 2021 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.


Themed Item - Exploitation – preventing Modern Slavery / Forced Marriage / Honour-based Crime pdf icon PDF 465 KB

To consider the themed item which will be presented by the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner. Written report attached.

Additional documents:


For the Panel’s themed item of ‘Exploitation – Preventing Modern Slavery / Forced Marriage / Honour Based Crime, a report was submitted by the Office of the Police Crime Commissioner.


The Panel was informed that the theme of ‘exploitation prevention’ primarily related to two of the strategic priorities set out in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan 2017-2021:


·       Strategic Priority 1, ‘Vulnerability’. This included the response by police and partners to human trafficking, forced marriages, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and other hidden harm such as honour-based violence, coercive control, stalking and harassment.

·       Strategic Priority 2, ‘Prevention and Early Intervention’. This included the prevention of CSE and FGM.


The Panel was also provided with details of the Thames Valley Police Modern Slavery Act Transparency Statement which set out Thames Valley Police’s (TVP) and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley (OPCC) actions to understand all potential modern slavery risks related to its business and provision of services, and to put in place steps that were aimed at ensuring that there was no slavery or human trafficking present in its own business and supply chain.


Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and Victoria Butler, Modern Slavery Co-Ordinator & Tactical Advisor (TVP Protecting Vulnerable People) attended the meeting and gave a presentation to the Panel.


The Panel was informed that in relation to Modern Slavery, Thames Valley had the second highest number of offences to the Metropolitan Police Force area. Reference was made to the Overview of Modern Slavery in the Thames Valley –2019 Infographic which showed the impact of Modern Slavery.


Victoria Butler reported that Modern Slavery cases covered criminality in 17 sectors. There were 372 referrals into the National Referral Mechanism for each exploitation type across the Thames Valley comprising of Forced Labour (69), Sexual Exploitation (47), Criminal Exploitation (213), Domestic Servitude (17) and unknown (17).


The Panel was informed that there had been 415 referrals made to Victim’s First Willow Project, which was a service supporting victims of exploitation of all types and was funded by the PCC.


The Panel was provided with up to date information which showed that there were 213 live investigations as of 25 March 2021. The biggest NRM related to exploitation such as in relation to “County Lines” with 57 ongoing investigations. Work took place with the PCC on safeguarding victims.


Reference was made to the setting up of new investigation scrutiny panel and the creation of a modern slavery victim liaison officer on each Local Policing Area.


The Chairman expressed disappointment at the lack of information provided on Forced Marriage and Honour Based Crime and it was requested these areas of exploitation be revisited at a future Panel meeting. The Deputy PCC commented that it was important that awareness and prevention of these crimes were publicised but acknowledged that these crimes were not reported to the Police.


The Deputy PCC reported that there were overlaps in exploitation areas and referred to the work of the BAMER  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13/21


Police and Crime Plan Strategic Priority 3: - Reducing Re-offending - Performance Report pdf icon PDF 402 KB

To consider the attached report of the Police and Crime Commissioner.


The Panel was provided with a report which detailed progress made (Year 4, 2020/21, to end of quarter 3) on delivery of the following four-year Police and Crime Plan key aims for reducing reoffending:


1. A review by police and other criminal justice partners on whether processes for identifying and referring individuals in contact with the criminal justice system into substance misuse services are as effective as they could be.

2. Improved data sharing on gangs, with the aim of reducing exploitation of young people through gang membership and reducing and preventing violent crime, especially knife crime.

3. A modern offender management strategy for Thames Valley addressing gaps in existing schemes and tackling offenders across the crime spectrum who pose the greatest risk or threat of harm.

4. Identification and implementation of best practice in the management of perpetrators of domestic violence, particularly focussing on serial perpetrators.


The Deputy PCC referred to the continued funding of the ‘Buddi-tags’ scheme, which was a voluntary scheme used by offenders and helped them resist returning to crime.


Reference was made to the Office of the PCC coordinating a bid to the Home Office for the ‘Prison Leavers Fund’. The Panel was informed that this involved different partners and elements of support for adults leaving prison and included:

·       improving the family links for parents in prison with their children;

·       ensuring arrangements are made to access benefits, substance misuse prescriptions, housing, mental health needs, etc via ‘departure lounges’ upon leaving prison,

·       improving access to digital resources to assist prison leavers accessing education/employment,

·       recruiting system navigators, including those with lived experience, and

·       volunteers to advocate and support individuals leaving prison.


Members’ Questions


(1)      In terms of data sharing on gangs and reducing violent crime, how successful has the data sharing been with the NHS?


[The Deputy PCC responded that there were two areas where data sharing was taking place; Thames Valley Together was the sharing of NHS data with the Police, which was individualised and identified individuals at risk.


The Panel was informed that re-offending could become cyclical, with for example, children of offenders becoming offenders. The second area where data was being used was a data visualisation tool which was created jointly with Hampshire. It allowed users to understand where serious violence was happening and target hotspot locations for Police patrols or problem-solving activity.


The Dashboard information would be shared with Community Safety Partnerships and it will enable CSPs to see Police data. In addition, the Police will be able to see anti-social behaviour data, issues around housing. The Offending Team would be involved with this.


Stage two, would be the platform being available for the public on the PCC website, to enable the public to see relevant shared data for their area.]


(2)      How will the PCC encourage a more joined up criminal justice system through the tasks identified in the Plan?


[The Deputy PCC reported that he was the Chairman of the Local Criminal Justice Board with the Reducing Re-Offending Board  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14/21


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

To consider the attached report of the Police and Crime Commissioner.


The Panel was provided with a report which detailed progress made (Year 4, 2020/21, to end of quarter 3) on delivery of the following four-year Police and Crime Plan key aims for addressing Serious Organised Crime and Terrorism:


1. Coordinated public awareness messages, campaigns and approaches by police and local authorities tackling terrorism and serious organised crime at a local level.

2. A ‘dare to share’ culture across all agencies, public or private, voluntary or community, who deal with vulnerable young people and adults.

3. Greater oversight across Thames Valley of activities to prevent violent extremism, share lessons learned and promote good practice.

4. Better engagement and information sharing between police and organisations supporting vulnerable migrants and rough sleepers, with the aim of preventing exploitation by organised criminals.


The Deputy PCC summarised that some of the work overlapped with previous items discussed but referred to work taking place around Modern Slavery, County Lines, Counter Terrorism  Policing, which the PCC has oversight of through the South East Chief Constables/PCC Forum, of which Thames Valley’s Chief Constable was lead. Details of actions and progress made were detailed in the report.


Members’ Questions


(1)      With the funding the PCC provides to various organisations to reduce re-offending and to reduce serious organised crime how does the PCC measure the success of these initiatives?


[The Deputy PCC reported that measuring performance depended on the organisation which was funded and their purpose. It depended on the wider point around contract management, which possibly could be discussed at a future Panel meeting.


There was an expectation around outcomes, but this very much depended on the type of organisation which was commissioned for the service. Performance would be monitored through the PCC’s Policy Teams and clearly poor performance would be reflected in non-renewal of contracts. Performance management was dependent on the size and type of organisation providing the service, but regular reports had to be provided to ensure objectives were being met.]


(2)      At present in order to report through Action Fraud, you have to be a victim of fraud. However, could the PCC make representations to extend this to attempts of fraud? In addition, can anything be done to take down scammers who were offering tailor made fraud apps on-line?


[The Deputy PCC reported that this on-line cyber fraud was a massive threat to us all but was probably under recognised by the general public. Phishing emails are an attempted crime and the scale of these scams were huge with the systems not up to tackling this problem. Representations should be made nationally with the business model of Action Fraud being looked at. The concept of a national reporting line for reporting fraud was probably correct because of the nature of the crimes, which were international. However, the delivery of the service was not good.


There were proposals to regionalise some of the work around digital investigations/ forensics because the SE Regional Crime Unit have significant capabilities and in some areas have led the country in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15/21


Report of the Complaints Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 208 KB

To receive the report of the PCP Complaints Sub-Committee on recent complaints heard against the PCC.  


The Chairman of the Complaints Sub-Committee provided a summary of recently considered complaints by the Sub-Committee.


The report was noted.


Chairman of the PCP, PCC announcements and Topical Issues Report pdf icon PDF 461 KB

To consider announcements by the Chairman of the PCP and the PCC and also to note and ask questions on the Topical Issues report.


The Panel received a report prepared by the Scrutiny Officer which contained topical issues since the last meeting.


Members’ Questions


(1)      What is being done to tackle the increasing number of thefts of dogs during Covid 19 across the Thames Valley which seems to be a new form of organised crime?


[The Panel was informed that dog thefts were an emotive issue and there had been a significant number of dog thefts recently reported on social media. There was an issue around how police report these crimes as there was no offence of dog theft. There needed to be a consistent approach across the country of recording and reporting.


The trade in dogs was part of serious organised crime and there was an issue around where people were purchasing puppies from something which local authorities had a role to play in terms of dog breeding licences. There had been recent cases in Sussex and Wales where puppy farms have been uncovered where illegal breeding of dogs was taking place.


The challenge was that crimes that involved dogs did not attract the sentences as they were classed as property crimes. The sentencing around crimes involving dogs needed looking at as the offences do not attract sentences.


The Deputy PCC in response to a further question on the number of dog thefts which took place in Thames Valley, reported that there were around 40 reported dog thefts in the last year. He reiterated that there was an issue around how well dog thefts were recorded.


The Chief Constable informed the Panel that there were 80 offences in 2018 and 35 in 2019.  Social media sometimes could create the impression that there was more of an issue than there was.


The Chief Constable was asked a question about detection of this crime and he said that he did not have those figures to hand but he imagined they would be low as you would have to catch the dog thief in the act. The Chief Constable said he would provide those figures for the Panel. [Action: PCC/ TVP]]       


(2)      What work is taking place with local authorities to secure funding to make streets safer, in light of the sad circumstances surround the death of Sarah Everard?  


[The Deputy PCC reported that there was a Safer Streets Fund and the process was underway to roll out one of these in Oxford centring around burglary and cycle theft. Bids had gone in this week for round two centring on neighbourhood crime and anti-social behaviour with the bids worked on in partnership with Community Safety Partnerships. The next round of bids would focus on CCTV and street lighting and joint working on the bids worked well in the Thames Valley.]


(3)      In light of the tragic death of Sarah Everard and the general discussion around the safety of women, in Aylesbury there is talk of extending a daytime Safe Space scheme for the night-time economy. Is this something the PCC and TVP could look at?  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17/21


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 522 KB

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


The work programme for the Panel was noted with a Themed Item of Exploitation: Forced Marriage and Honour Based Crime added to the 19 November 2021 meeting.