Venue: Paralympic Meeting Room, Buckinghamshire Council Offices, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks HP19 8FF
Contact: Khalid Ahmed, Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel Scrutiny Officer Tel: 07990 368048; Email: email@example.com
To agree the Minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 18 November 2022 and of the Confirmation Hearing for the appointment of the Chief Constable held on 18 November 2022.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2022 were agreed as a correct record.
Scrutiny of the Proposed Police Precept - Budget Papers from the Performance and Accountability meeting between the PCC and the Chief Constable PDF 5 MB
The Panel will consider the budget papers which were 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 Panel will be given the opportunity to question the PCC on the detail contained in the papers and the Panel will be asked to approve the Police and Crime Commissioner’s precept for 2023/24 as set out in the OPCC report Four Year Medium Term Financial for 2023/24 to 2026/27.
The Panel was provided with the budget papers which were presented to and agreed at the Performance and Accountability meeting between the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable on 19th January 2023.
The PCC introduced the item and explained the reasoning behind the proposed £15 (Band D) increase to the Council Tax precept. There were significant pressures on budgets with inflationary pressure, rising energy and fuel costs. The increase would enable 80 additional police officers to be recruited by the end of this financial year.
The PCC responded to the following written questions:-
(1) The risk to the budget of significant variances on key uncertain assumptions such as inflation, supply costs and pay settlements is high. It isn’t clear from the budget papers how much these assumptions have been stress tested. Can the PCC outline how he has satisfied himself through scenario planning and sensitivity analyses that he can maintain the required level of police service without needing to materially impact general reserves or headcount?
[Throughout the budget setting period there has been an iterative process of considering the risk and assumptions that contribute towards building the budget. The inflation assumptions in the budget were subjected to rigorous review during preparation. Some budget versions discussed internally included higher inflation assumptions, and the impact and trade-offs are well understood. For example, the sensitivity of the budget to selected impacts is:
• Pay: 1% unfunded increase in officer & staff pay = £2.6m impact in 2023/24 (£4.1m full year impact)
• Energy: 10% increase in energy costs (without capping mechanism) = £0.2m impact in 2023/24
• Other costs: 1% increase in general inflation = £0.5m impact in 2023/24.
Unfunded elements of increases would be expected to impact reserves and service levels. In the event that costs were, for example, £5m higher, reserves are sufficient to cope with increased costs in the short term. In the medium term, difficult decisions would have to be taken through a trade-off between the following factors:
• reducing costs through cancelling some of the growth plans funded from the precept increase
• requiring the Force Review to make additional savings by reducing existing service levels
• reducing allocation to reserves for long term property transformation and renewal
Unfunded pay rises in line with inflation are not affordable from either reserves or cost savings. For example, an unfunded inflation-linked pay rise of 10% would cost £32m per annum, far above the realistic level through cost saving initiatives, and quickly using up available reserves. The assumption used for police pay is that included in the most recent Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). If the Home Office increase pay being the 2% set out in the CSR – which would certainly be a welcome support for police officers in Thames Valley – this will need to be funded by central government and sustained through increased grant. This position is in line with the majority of other PCCs.]
(2) What will be the impact of the investment in additional headcount on ... view the full minutes text for item 49/23
Report of the Budget Task and Finish Group PDF 795 KB
To consider the report of the Budget Task and Finish Group which meets on 19 January 2023.
Included will be written questions submitted in advance to the Police and Crime Commissioner.
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 2023/24.
Councillor Simon Rouse, the Chairman of the Budget Task and Finish Group presented the report. He thanked Martin Thornley, Chief Finance Officer, Office of PCC and Linda Waters, Director of Finance, TVP for attending the Task and Finish Group which met on 19 January 2023 and updating Members on the PCC’s draft budget proposals.
Reference was made to the concerns expressed by the Budget Task and Finish Group at the lateness of receiving the budget reports which gave Members little time to scrutinise the budget proposals. A statutory responsibility of the PCP is to scrutinise the Police Precept and Members asked that in future the PCC ensures that the Budget Task and Finish Group be given sufficient time to ensure effective scrutiny takes place.
The Panel was informed that the Budget Task and Finish Group had been assured from the scrutiny of the proposals that due to the challenging economic climate with high inflation, rising energy and fuel costs, that the PCC request for a £15 increase in the Police precept for 2023/24 was reasonable.
The recommendation of the Budget Task and Finish Group was to approve the Police and Crime Commissioner’s precept for 2023/24, to increase the Council Tax precept by £15 (Band D), as set out in the OPCC report ‘Four Year Medium Term Capital Plan 2022/23 to 2026/27’.
Progress on Contact Management PDF 830 KB
To be provided with a progress report on the performance of Contact Management within TVP.
The PCC provided the Panel with a report which provided details of progress made in relation to improvements to the Contact Management platform.
Reference was made to the CM101 programme in collaboration with Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Constabulary which had been approved to improve working practices and performance.
The Panel was informed that to meet current 999 and 101 targets, an extra 195 staff on top of the agreed establishment for the department was required at an additional £6.8 million which was not a viable option. The programme had identified a range of process improvements and new technologies, such as Robotic Process Automation, which alongside a significantly smaller staff uplift, could improve demand management and help achieve 101 average speed to answer times of less than 4 minutes. These improvements over the next 21 months would be at a cost of £1.5 million.
(1) Reference was made to the data which showed that there were 24% of calls to 101 which were answered over 10 minutes. The PCC was asked whether there was data on those waiting longer than 10 minutes?
[The PCC replied that usually callers would abandon their calls where options were provided, and these were usually reported on-line. It was acknowledged by the Panel that there were over 71,000 on-line reports.]
(2) The PCC was asked whether the extra recruitment included officers to Contact Management?
[The PCC reported that generally the recruitment was for other police areas as Robotic Process Automation would replace the need for extra staff. However, there would always be recruitment to Contact Management due to the challenges on retention of staff. This was an issue for all organisations.]
The report of the PCC was noted.
Arrest Data by Ethnicity, including Stop and Search and the Police Race Action Plan PDF 2 MB
The PCC has provided a report which was requested by the Panel to show TVP’s arrest data by ethnicity. It also includes stop and search, and a progress report on the Police Race Action Plan.
The Panel was provided with a report which showed TVP’s arrest data by ethnicity. The report also included information on stop and search, and progress made on the Police Race Action Plan.
The Chair of the Panel thanked Chief Superintendent Sarah Grahame, Superintendent James Hahn and DCI Quoc Vo for providing a detailed and excellent report.
The PCC reported that the report sets out a complex picture with a changing landscape. There were many scrutiny bodies which included community groups that looked at this data.
In response to a comment from a Panel Member, the PCC reported that this report did not specify about gender. The data provided for the report was on ethnicity and was on all genders.
(1) The PCC was asked whether there was any data on who victims identified as perpetrators of crimes and motivated stop and searches?
[The PCC commented that he understood the point being made. The data does not necessarily show for example, repeat stop and searches. Reference was made to policing during the period of covid restrictions, where data had been skewed by repeat offenders. There was a challenge of how to record these incidents. The Pronto app which officers used made it easier, however, it was acknowledged that the raw numbers may not show the reality.
Communities needed to be reassured over the disproportionate arrests and stop and searches of certain ethnicities, which sometimes depended upon the environment, for example, the night time economy where there were younger people and a mix of races, which was disproportionate to the population of an area.]
(2) Reference was made to the governance alignment between the Race Action Plan and the legitimacy board, and the PCC was asked what the consequence was of not having that and what would be benefits be. In addition, in relation to stop and search, 88.3% were based on reasonable grounds, however that meant that there were around 1500 that did not have reasonable grounds. The PCC was asked whether this figure was disproportionate and whether there was data on ethnicity on these.
[The PCC replied that he would have to check if there was such data on whether there was ethnicity data on the 1500 incidents where there had not been reasonable grounds to stop and search. There was a requirement to record these, and it was about not recording, rather than not having grounds.
Regarding alignment, it was about not being distracted by other activities. There will be national measures which will be imposed on policing, which TVP will need to do. It was important to be aligned nationally but attempting to drive that national picture.]
(3) Some of the work and recommendations are recent. The point was noted that there was disproportionate data in urban areas for example. The PCC was asked to come back to the Panel in a year’s time to look at the impact of some of the actions being taken such as the setting up of Board set up, in ... view the full minutes text for item 52/23
Unauthorised Encampments PDF 588 KB
The PCC report contains a briefing on Force and LPA Unauthorised Encampment Performance data, training, and our response to Unauthorised Encampments (UE) in Thames Valley Police. It also contains an overview of how TVP are working with Local Authorities in the Thames Valley to provide a consistent response to Unauthorised Encampments.
The PCC provided a report which contained a briefing on Force and LPA Unauthorised Encampment Performance data, training, and the response to Unauthorised Encampments (UE) in Thames Valley Police. The report also contained an overview of how TVP were working with Local Authorities in the Thames Valley to provide a consistent response to Unauthorised Encampments.
The PCC informed the Panel that the issue of concern was the initial assessment made by the Force at an early stage on encampments.
(1) In 2022, there were 386 reported unauthorised encampments and of those, there were only 16 Section 61s used. What was the status of those other reports?
[The PCC reported that the data did not show when local authorities and landowners took their own action or the travellers moved on their own accord. Section 61 is only used when proportionate action is required.]
(2) A Member referred to the solution of unauthorised encampments which was finding sites and asked why this was being reported to the Panel.]
[The PCC replied that unauthorised encampments had been in the Panel’s work programme since Tackling Illegal Encampments was included as one of his priorities in his Police and Criminal Justice Plan.
In response to a query regarding the difference between illegal and unauthorised encampments, the PCC replied that it was semantics, as any encampment was a civil breach and if the encampment was unauthorised, it was illegal.]
(3) Reading accounted for 50% of Section 60s used, with the Council working with other Councils in looking to create spaces and sites for permanency. There was planning approval for a temporary site. The PCC was asked where was the tipping point for issuing Section 60s?
[The PCC replied that the challenge was what was classed as significant, which could vary. Officers were allowed to make reasonable judgements which created a challenge around managing expectations. The Force’s use of these powers was used proportionally and appropriately. Training for Inspectors required strengthening.]
(4) A joint working protocol in relation to unauthorised encampments was established between TVP and local authorities in 2018 but has been updated after a series of consultations. Could the PCC provide the Panel with a copy of this?
[The PCC reported that the protocol provided clarity on responsibilities on the process and agreed to circulate the updated protocol.]
(5) The PCC was asked to reappraise the priorities in his Police and Criminal Justice Plan in view of the higher crimes of violence against women and girls and domestic abuse, compared to the number of unauthorised encampments.
[The PCC reported that there was a huge amount of work being carried out in relation to violence against women and girls and domestic abuse and there was a strong emphasis through his Police and Criminal Justice Plan. The tackling of illegal encampments caused concern for residents and was not a major priority as such but was an issue that many residents wanted tackling. It did not take much resource.]
RESOLVED – That the report of the ... view the full minutes text for item 53/23
Recruitment of Independent Co-Opted Member to the Panel
The Panel is asked to agree that the one vacant position for an Independent Co-Opted Member be advertised on each of the Panel’s Constituent Authorities’ websites.
The Chair, Vice-Chair and other Member(s) of the Panel would be involved in the shortlisting and informal interviews of candidates, with the preferred candidate, reported to the Panel for confirmations.
The Panel is asked to agree the composition of the interview Panel.
The Panel was asked to agree that the one vacant position for an Independent Co-Opted Member be advertised on each of the Panel’s Constituent Authorities’ websites.
It was agreed that the shortlisting and interview Panel consist of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Panel, Councillor Robin Bradburn, Councillor Simon Rouse and Councillor Karen Rowland.
Report of the Complaints Sub-Committee PDF 124 KB
To receive a report from the Complaints Sub-Committee on a recent complaint which was upheld against the PCC.
The Panel received a report from the Complaints Sub-Committee on a recent complaint which was upheld against the PCC.
Updates from Chair of the Panel and PCC and Topical Issues report PDF 447 KB
To note and ask questions on the topical issues report and to receive updates from the PCC and the Chair of the Panel if required.
Vetting of officers
In response to a question regarding the recent announcement on vetting in Police forces, the PCC informed the Panel that the vetting would consist of rechecking all officers, not just new recruits.
A Member of the Panel raised the issue of the failure of the Panel to hold Confirmation Hearings for the PCC appointed Chief of Staff and Chief Finance Officer and the advice he had received from the Home Office. The PCC replied that he had given the PCP the required three weeks’ notice for each appointment as required under legislation, however, due to the failure of the PCP to appoint a Chair at its annual meeting, the PCP was unable to confirm the appointments.
Resignation of Police Officers in TVP
The PCC was asked what affect the resignation in the last 12 months of the 160 new Police Officer recruits had on recruitment targets in TVP. In response the PCC replied that TVP was on track to meet targets, although there were challenges. There were always Police Officers who left early in their career as they realised that a career in the Police was not for everyone.
Reference was made to measures to retain staff which included providing flexibility for women or enabling the taking of sabbaticals. The PCC agreed with this.
The Panel noted the topical issues report.
For Panel Members to put forward items for the Work Programme including ideas for themed meetings.
The Panel noted the work programme and agreed that the item for the next meeting on the PCC’s Case Management system be referred to the Panel’s Complaints Sub-Committee.