Agenda and minutes

Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel - Friday, 8 April 2022 11.00 am

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:


No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were submitted by Councillor Robin Bradburn (Milton Keynes Council), Councillor Emily Culverhouse (Buckinghamshire Council – Co-Opted Member) and Councillor Neil Fawcett (Vale of White Horse District Council).


Minutes pdf icon PDF 590 KB

To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 28 January 2022.


The Minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 28 January 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Themed Item - Domestic Abuse pdf icon PDF 924 KB

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


The Panel was provided with a report of the PCC which provided details of TVP’s operational response to domestic abuse. This serious issue features in the priorities set out in the Police & Criminal Justice Plan and continues to be a Force priority.


The Panel was informed that in addition to the operational response set out in the report, the PCC provided support to victims of domestic abuse through Victims First and through supporting numerous organisations across the Thames Valley.


Reference was made to:-

·       Work with Thames Valley Partnership who have been involved in developing covert smart phone apps to help protect victims.

·       Funding Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs) in Buckinghamshire

and Milton Keynes. Discussions continue with the judiciary in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, where it was also hoped to be able to establish similar problem solving courts.

·       Support for DA victims would feature heavily on the agenda for the Violence against Women and Girls Partnership Board, which would be chaired by the PCC next month.

·       Work continued to try to find effective perpetrator programmes to tackle those who do commit abuse and reduce instances in the future.

·       The Domestic Abuse fast track programme, which was now back up and running in Aylesbury Crown Court, continued to demonstrate great benefit. The PCC reiterated that he would continue to lobby the CPS to provide this programme elsewhere in the Thames Valley.


Members’ Questions


(1)      In paragraph 10 of the PCC report and Civil Restraint and Protective Orders, there is no information on how successful these various orders are and whether they were being used as they were intended to be used?


[The PCC replied that often the issuing of these orders was seen as easier options rather than pursuing the criminal justice route. He commented that the use of Civil Restraint and Protective Orders were effective. They worked as a means of securing a future prosecution. They were successful and the PCC looked at comparisons on their usage with other forces to ensure that TVP made full use of them.]


(2)      Reference was made to hidden forms of domestic abuse which sometimes happen in certain “hard to reach” communities. The PCC was asked what training officers were given to deal with this to help victims.


[The PCC reported that this was a difficult and sensitive area to tackle. Reference was made to the issue being raised during a programme in Slough. The PCC said, that whilst respecting the sensitivity, crimes committed in all communities were treated as crimes and were treated in accordance with the law, and there were no exceptions.


Work took place with the Third sector (Charities), who worked with victims to enable them to have the confidence to come forward to the Police, to report domestic abuse.]


(3)      In areas such as Slough, there were up to 16 different communities which would require the Police to be sufficiently trained in the different customs and ways of these communities. However, a problem was some victims not receiving updates and feedback  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10/21


Contact Management Call Handling Performance – Thames Valley Police pdf icon PDF 983 KB

To consider a report on Contact Management Call Handling performance as requested by the Panel.


The PCC informed the Panel that there had been challenges in the last 12 months in relation to Contact Management call handling performance.


The report provided context to the performance of Contact Management. The Panel was informed that there had been a big shift in on-line reporting with a 99% increase. However, this increase had also posed a challenge for the call handling staff, as it was the same staff who answered 999 calls and dealt with on-line reporting. Investigations were taking place into using automatic / robotic responders to ease the pressure on the call handling staff.


Reference was made to the highlight information on the data results. Currently the 999 calls answered within 10 seconds was at 87% and average speed to answer for 101 calls at 03.02 minutes. There have been significant increases in demand for emergency calls in 2022 (February seeing an increase of 42% compared to last year) which had impacted on TVP’s ability to meet service levels


The complexity of calls had increased, together with the additional responsibilities of staff for Crime Data Integrity, understanding prioritising etc.


In relation to recruitment, the PCC continued to scrutinise the Chief Constable and to continue the positive action to increase the diversity of the department to replicate the communities TVP served.


Members’ Questions


1.             Could the PCC provide some details on the recruitment and retention plans to minimise the turnover in Contact Management staff and to improve the response times to 101 calls, and could there be regular information provided to the Panel?


[The PCC replied that regular updates could be provided on progress made in recruitment to improve the performance of call handling. The average speed to answer non-emergency calls was under 3 minutes, which the PCC hoped could be lower. Reference was made to local authority emergency calls which were answered on average within 7 seconds.


There was a challenge around handling residents’ expectations and of course, residents did not comment when something went well. On-line reporting had seen a 99% increase in usage and work was taking place on using Facebook and WhatsApp as a form of communication for residents.]


2.             Reference has been made to the huge increase in the volume of on-line reporting to TVP, the PCC was asked if there was any performance data on response times to this form of reporting crime?  


[The PCC replied that there were some cases where there was a non urgent response given to an enquiry so it would be difficult to give an accurate picture. However, time critical issue data which was reported on-line could be provided.]


3.             The PCC has previously mentioned the use of Social Media, WhatsApp etc. as an alternative means of contacting TVP. What progress has been made in implementing these initiatives?


[The Panel was informed that discussions were taking place with suppliers regarding what was on offer. It was hoped that some progress would be made on this by the end of the year.]


4.              Reference was made to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11/21


PCC Governance Arrangements for the Oversight and Scrutiny of Major Force Projects pdf icon PDF 432 KB

The report of the Police and Crime Commissioner sets out the governance arrangements by which he can exercise effective oversight, scrutiny and challenge, where necessary, of the management and delivery of major Force projects, including projects undertaken in collaboration with other forces and/or public and private sector partners.


The Panel is asked for their comments on the draft document.



The report of the Police and Crime Commissioner set out the governance arrangements by which he exercised effective oversight, scrutiny and challenge, where necessary, of the management and delivery of major Force projects, including projects undertaken in collaboration with other forces and/or public and private sector partners.


Members’ Questions


1.             Reference was made to what lessons had the PCC learnt in relation to Multi-Force IT projects and how in the future would the PCC manage the risk assessment, the governance and the exiting of these projects. This should be included in the draft report.


[The PCC agreed to take the comment away and be more explicit on the points raised in the proposed good governance framework. Collaborations should not be shied away from because of the opportunities they provided, however, there needed to be better governance.]


2.             The PCC was asked whether it would be appropriate for the Police and Crime Panel to receive an annual report on major projects around the budget planning period?


[The PCC replied that he did not think this was necessary as the Joint Independent Audit Committee of the PCC had an oversight, however, he agreed that a report providing an overview of major projects could be provided for the Panel.]


3.             The PCC was asked how a judgement was made that all Forces working on collaborative major projects are all working to the same outcomes?


[The PCC replied that from his experience, decisions were made collectively, with all Forces working towards the same outcome. The governance framework would provide protection for TVP and minimise risks.]


RESOLVED – That the report of the PCC be noted and in particular that the governance framework will facilitate a consistent approach and understanding of the PCC’s expectations regarding the management of major Force projects.


Review of CCTV Provision and establishing a new CCTV Partnership for Thames Valley pdf icon PDF 406 KB

To consider a report by the PCC on CCTV provision and the possibility of establishing a CCTV partnership with local authorities in Thames Valley.


The Panel was provided with a report on CCTV provision across the Thames Valley.


The PCC reported that CCTV provision across Thames Valley was varied, with each Local Policing Area (LPA) and local authority working to provide CCTV as a joint approach.


There was an issue across Thames Valley regarding the ownership of the equipment, where it was housed, and who employed the staff. Reference was made to the previous Local Policing Dept. who owned the CCTV strategy and negotiated a new Funding Formula, but this was not adopted in all areas.


Significant efforts have been made to progress both the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire hubs.


The PCC reported that there was a lack of clarity on who was responsible, and that there was no statutory requirement to provide CCTV, which meant it was discretionary for all partners.


The PCC outlined his vision for the future. The PCC recognised that CCTV existed primarily for the benefit of policing and the wider interests of community safety, however, it did not generally form part of the core function of local authorities. It was acknowledged that policing had the main responsibility for providing the CCTV capability within the Thames Valley, but this would take time to implement.


The PCC’s long-term vision was for TVP to own the equipment/contracts, be responsible for maintenance and to employ staff to monitor the service. However there needed to be a Thames Valley CCTV Partnership arrangement, with contributions from participative local authorities, both financially and in kind. This partnership would enable principle local authorities, with parish/town councils; BIDs; private businesses to contribute financially to increase coverage in their locality.


The PCC reported that funding to the partnership would likely be based on a funding formula, similar to that used for the Community Safety Fund, to provide baseline coverage and additional charges based on extra provision that may be provided.


Reference was made to discussions which have already begun with Milton Keynes Council and councils in Oxfordshire. Oxfordshire was the area which seemed most likely to be able to make a change first, should all partners be willing, and this could form the model for the rest of Thames Valley.


Thames Valley Police currently has a capital budget of £472,000 available to support moves to a new model, and the PCC said he would create an earmarked revenue reserve of £1m.


Discussion took place on elements of the funding of such provision, and in particular, the funding which would be required for the personnel who would be required to monitor the CCTV screens. The PCC replied that there would be a considerable financial burden on the Police, and local authorities would have to provide funding. There could be an option of transferring all staff to the Police to centralise the service.      


Members’ Questions


1.             Reference was made to West Berkshire, where the Council and Parish Councils were concerned regarding the sustainability of the proposed model.


[The PCC reported that the proposal was an ambition, and the partnership arrangements would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13/21


Process for appointment of Deputy PCC if Mandated by the Home Office pdf icon PDF 339 KB

Report of PCC attached.


The PCC provided a report on the process which would be adopted if the PCC was mandated by the Home Office to appoint a Deputy PCC.


The report was noted.


Report of the Complaints Sub-Committee pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To receive a report from the Complaints Sub-Committee.


The Panel noted the outcome of the complaint made against the Police and Crime Commissioner which was considered at a meeting of the Complaints Sub-Committee on 28 February 2022.


Updates from the Chair of the Panel, from the PCC and Topical Issues Report pdf icon PDF 534 KB

To note and ask questions on the Topical Issues report and to receive updates from the Chair of the Panel and the PCC.


The Panel received a report from the Scrutiny Officer which provided details on topical issues on policing and crime.


Members’ Questions


1.             Is the PCC undertaking an impact assessment on the budget on the rising inflation rate and the impact this will have on TVP budget?


[The PCC replied that there were concerns at the implications of the cost-of-living crisis in many areas, such as the impact on the workforce, on recruitment and retention and the pressures this placed on budgets would be monitored.]


2.             The PCC was asked what impact the merging of Chiltern and South Bucks and Wycombe Local Policing Area’s (LPAs) had had on the service to the public. Reference was made to the changes in Wycombe and South Bucks, where the public had not been informed of the changes. Councillors had an important role to play in informing residents.   


[The PCC replied that there had been no significant impact as the teams which sit within those teams will police the same areas. There was an open border for policing so the public should see no changes to the policing service they received. 


The Chief Constable acknowledged that the messaging of the changes had not been undertaken correctly and he apologised for this. There would no change in the service the Police gave to the public.]


3.             The PCC was asked what would TVP be doing to combat the increasing theft of diesel and fuel from rural areas?


[The PCC commented that he was not sure if the cost of living crisis had had more of an impact on any one area than another, but he acknowledged that  within local policing areas, the Police would look to understand what the local pressures were and what the impact of this would be on particular crimes.]


4.             The PCC was asked whether the Chief Constable would be accompanying him to future Panel meetings as Members found the Chief Constable’s attendance useful, particularly when discussing localised policing and crime issues.


[The PCC replied that the Panel’s role was to scrutinise him and not the Chief Constable, but he understood the important role the Chief Constable had in advising him and the Panel on operational policing matters.]


The information provided was noted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 479 KB

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


Discussion took place on the Panel’s work programme and it was agreed that there should be an item included in the work programme on Retention of staff and mentoring BME officers.


The work programme was noted.