Venue: Paralympic Meeting Room, Buckinghamshire Council, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks HP19 8FF
Contact: Khalid Ahmed, Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel Scrutiny Officer Tel: 07990 368048; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were submitted by Councillor David Carroll (Buckinghamshire Council), Councillor Merilyn Davies (West Oxfordshire District Council), Councillor Simon Rouse (Co-Opted Member Buckinghamshire Council) and Councillor Claire Rowles (West Berkshire Council).
To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2021.
[ The PCC will be asked for his response to the Panel’s request that Violence against Women and Girls be added as a sixth key priority in his Police and Criminal Justice Plan, in view of recent national developments on the issue.]
The Minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 19 November 2021 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
[In relation to Minute No. 45/21 – Themed Item – Violence against Women and Girls, the PCC was asked to respond to the Panel’s request that Violence against Women and Girls be added as a sixth key priority in his Police and Criminal Justice Plan.
The PCC reported that consideration had been given to the Panel’s request, however, at this present time he would not be amending his Plan. The PCC reiterated that there were several areas in his Plan where Violence against Women and Girls was covered, and whilst Violence against Women and Girls was not a specific named key priority, he considered that the issue was important to the PCC and to TVP.
The PCC said he would continue to monitor his Plan and reference was made to the forthcoming Violence against Women and Girls Conference for partners which the Office of the PCC had organised to look at dealing with this increasing crime.
In relation to Minute No. 45/21 - Themed Item – Violence against Women and Girls, the PCC was asked whether he had raised the issue with the Local Criminal Justice Board of making improvements to bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice in a timelier fashion. The PCC reported that he had not yet done this but would be doing so.]
The report will be presented by Councillor Barrie Patman, Chairman of the Budget Task and Finish Group which met on 19 January 2022.
As in previous years, the Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel formed a Budget Task & Finish Group to assist in discharging its statutory duty to scrutinise the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley’s proposed Council Tax precept for 2022/23.
Councillor Barrie Patman, the Chairman of the Budget Task and Finish Group presented the report. He thanked Ian Thompson and Linda Waters for attending the Task and Finish Group which met on 19 January 2022 and updating Members on the PCC’s draft budget proposals.
Members were provided with details of where the additional funding from the proposed precept would be invested and this included:
• Forensics would be improved which would improve most investigations across the force, speeding up processing times which would result in bringing offenders to justice quicker and increase victim satisfaction.
• The improvement of technology and mobile data collection, through in-car Automatic Number Plate Recognition and camera recording.
• The development of a Specialist Rape and Sexual Offences team.
• Improvement to custody management including capacity. The creation of dedicated teams to fast-track cases which would reduce delays for victims.
• More investment in the Contact Management Platform and the Pronto system which would improve outcomes for residents. Roll out of digital 101 and improving and maintaining call handling capacity-by converting temporary staff to permanent staff.
• Enhancements to public protection units with additional officers and improving data analytics and reporting.
• Investment in essential ICT infrastructure and, system developments which would improve service delivery.
• The recruitment of more officers in addition to Home Office funded uplift programme.
• The continuation of projects such as the Rural Crime Taskforce and the Drug Focus Taskforce by ensuring sustainable funding for frontline operational policing.
• Plans to increase the number taser-trained officers to better protect police officers and tackle violent criminals.
• Purchasing additional storage space for increasing quantities of digital evidence including specially body worn video footage.
• Improving training in line with recommendations from the centre.
• Violence against Women and Girls requires additional investment.
• The monitoring of sex offenders.
• Additional capacity to deal with the proliferation of stalking.
• Improvement in intelligence capability for murder and murder prevention strategies.
• Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of police vetting.
• Review and improving the activities of the Central Redaction Unit.
• Upgrading Armed Response capability sufficient to meet projected threat. This will include upgrading of weapons and vehicles.
The Panel was provided with the following comments and observations of the Task and Finish Group:
· The proposed £10 increase would protect front line police service and provide the Force with the resources to carry out all the increased additional policing responsibilities brought about by the changing face of policing and technology changes.
· The proposed £10 increase flexibility for each year could not be deferred and carried over in part or full to future years.
· Inflation was difficult to predict, although it had been included at 4.0% for 2022/23. Inflation and pay award inflation had a ... view the full minutes text for item 3/22
Attached is the Revenue Estimates report which was presented to and agreed at the Performance and Accountability meeting between the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable on 19th January 2022.
The PCC responded to the following written questions: -
1. What are the early indications of the implications of the McCloud/Sergeant and Matthews rulings on pensions costs for TVP and how will this additional cost be funded?
[The PCC reported that he was not yet in a position to estimate the financial implications, however, the Home Office have stated that central government will provide additional funding.]
2. Why was Option 2, to increase the council tax precept by 2.00%, which would have generated an additional funding of £4.3m not the preferred option? What would have been the implications on the service and to residents?
[The PCC replied that although cuts would be avoided it would not provide any opportunity for investment so the gap between performance and expectation would increase. Also, it would not provide base funding for the significant known commitments in 2023/24 e.g. full year effect of additional Police Uplift Programme officers and 2022 pay awards, and it would not deliver key improvements in priority areas in his Police and Criminal Justice Plan.]
3. What will the implications of this budget be in terms of delivering the key objectives in your Police and Criminal Justice Plan and how will the success of this extra funding be measured?
[The PCC reported that there were many implications:
· Improvements in forensics which will improve the majority of investigations across the force, speed up the time it takes to process samples and evidence, enabling offenders to be brought to justice quicker, increased victim satisfaction and improve public safety.
· Development of a Specialist Rape and Sexual Offences (RASO) team which will help to bring more offenders to justice.
· Improving custody management and capacity, including the creation of dedicated teams to fast track cases thereby reducing delays for victims and creating capacity for frontline officers
· Improving technology and mobile data collection, through in-car ANPR and camera recording, to help identify and disrupt criminal networks, bringing more offenders to justice
· Enhancing our public protection units with additional officers and improving data analytics and reporting to support investigations will deliver more effective management of sex offenders reducing the likelihood of reoffending, more rapid identification and targeting of offenders and better protection for vulnerable people and children in society.
· Additional investment in the Contact Management Platform and the Pronto system will provide improved communications with the public reducing waiting times, enhanced identification of vulnerable individuals and quicker response and deployment to emergencies, faster and more accurate information for frontline officers, improving public safety and ensuring incidents are dealt with efficiently and quicker.
· Improving service delivery by investing in essential ICT infrastructure and, system developments to provide enhanced protection of police data, improve the interoperability with partners and improve frontline communications.
· Recruitment of more officers beyond the Home Office funded uplift programme, from 2023/24 onwards.
· The continuation of projects such as the Rural Crime Taskforce and the Drug Focus Taskforce by ensuring sustainable funding for frontline operational policing.
· Plans to increase the number taser-trained officers to better protect ... view the full minutes text for item 4/22
To consider a report of the PCC.
The PCC submitted a report which set out the issues and processes around Hates Crime and Hate Issues.
There were lots of challenges around separating Hate Crimes from Hate Issues. Reference was made to the changing face of such crimes which also occurred on-line, crimes which were enabled by technology.
A Hate Crime was any criminal offence which was perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability and if the person is transgender.
A Hate Incident was defined as any non-crime incident perceived by the victim to be motivated by race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability, or transgender.
The Panel was informed that with limited resources, there were lots of offences which possibly should be investigated by the Police, however, there were some incidents which were a challenge. For example, social media such as Twitter, Facebook etc.
1. In the Hate Crime Outcome Types in the report and in the prosecutions presented, there were no crimes under S29 – S32 of the Crime and Disorder Act. These were classed as crimes such as Hate Crimes on Social Media.
[The PCC replied that these were offences in their own right. Threats to Kill would be taken seriously but this was a real challenging area. There needed to be a better triage system.
There were some horrific harassment on social media and it was a difficult area to police. Reference was made to those who serve in public life who do receive “hate” mail. There needed to be system put in place to protect the real victims and to give the Police the option to say no to certain incidents. There could be a system where investigations would take place and words of advice could be issued which could be placed on an individual’s record.]
2. What does the PCC see the impact of misogyny on policing being added as a hate crime?
[The PCC replied that there could be difficulty identifying misogyny, such as in Domestic Violence cases and it would be difficult to police and recording such crimes / incidents could be problematic.]
3. How does social media/technology impact on the number of incidents of hate crimes or incidents? Is there specific training given to officers for this?
[The PCC replied that this was a difficult area and, in his opinion, social media should not be policed by the Police. However, training was available to officers including call handlers.]
4. Reference was made to Non-Hate Crimes or Incidents which were recorded but which were not classed as being a criminal record.
[The PCC replied that Hate Incidents were recorded but they did not constitute a person having a criminal record. The importance of education and schools having a part to play, in instilling into young people acceptable standards of behaviour.]
5. The PCC was asked for a breakdown of faith-based Hate Crimes as this would be useful information for local authorities to ... view the full minutes text for item 5/22
To note and ask questions on the topical issues report.
The Panel received a report from the Scrutiny Officer which provided details on topical issues on policing and crime.
The PCC was asked whether the Office of the PCC was cyber resilient to any possible cyber attack in view of recent world events. The PCC said there was a significant amount of work which has gone into cyber security at both local and national level, and he was as confident as he could be, that Thames Valley could cope with a threat.
Reference was made to the item on delays in prosecuting suspected criminals having hit a record 708 days for the average time it takes to go from offence to completion of a case at a magistrate’s court. The PCC was asked for reassurance that the time span within Thames Valley was reducing. The PCC said he did not believe there had been an increase in the time taken from a date of an offence to sentencing.
Reference was made to the item on Thames Valley Police warning farmers not to go out patrolling the streets after a spike in crime in rural areas. The PCC was asked whether there was a disconnect in relation to communication as rural communities were not aware of this.
The PCC replied that the statement was more a sensationalist press statement, than an actual communication from TVP. The PCC informed Members that the Rural Task Force was working with rural communities and offering reassurance, engaging with NFU and Farmers Weekly to get the message out there. In the first few months there has been some good work carried out in rural communities such as the recent campaign checking trailer vehicles because of an upsurge in recent thefts etc.
The PCC was asked whether there would be any communications regarding the recent changes to the Highway Code and were there plans for enforcement. The PCC replied that there were plans in place to produce a Road Safety Strategy and he expected officers to take a common sense approach to the changes in the Highway Code.
The PCC was asked about the increase in the BAME representation which had increased to 6.2% and what more could be done to increase this representation. The PCC referred to the ethnic mix across the Thames Valley which was changing. TVP were looking at where recruitment was carried out and would look at strategies to engage more with the BAME communities to increase applications.
For Panel Members to put forward items for the Work Programme including ideas for themed meetings.
The Panel noted the work programme and it was agreed that an update on Community Speedwatch be added as an item to a future meeting.