Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
Members received the Executive Director’s annual report which provided information on the work of the Rother Community Safety Partnership [known as the Safer Rother Partnership (SRP)] for the Committee to review, scrutinise and make reports or recommendations to the responsible authorities of the SRP, in line with the Council’s statutory responsibilities under the Police and Justice Act 2006.
The Head of Service Environmental Services, Licensing and Community Safety advised Members of the key initiatives delivered during 2019/20 to reduce crime and the impact of crime and Anti-social Behaviour (ASB), which included: providing support for high and medium risk victims of ASB through multi-agency monthly meetings and Community Protection Warning letters; funding for the Safe from Harm Service; provision of safe space after school for young people in Sidley at the Pelham; CCTV coverage outside the Devonshire Square toilets, Bexhill Museum (covering Egerton Park and the public toilets); continued Community Safety Partnership (CSP) funding for the Seaview Outreach Service and partners to identify, engage and support rough sleepers in Rother; White Ribbon and Deer Awareness campaigns, Safety in Action workbooks for school children, support for Community Speedwatch, start up equipment and bedding packs for people leaving a refuge, victim domestic abuse support and tackling modern slavery (project Discovery) and cuckooing across Rother.
The Council had a legal duty to co-operate with East Sussex County Council and the East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) on matters relating to the safeguarding of adults (and children). Work of the SAB and that of the Council was directed by legislation under the Care Act 2014 which became law on 1 April 2015 and The Mental Capacity Act 2005. All councils were required to produce a revised Safeguarding Policy which reflected this legislation and the Competency Framework (The Mental Capacity Act). The Community Safety Coordinator was working with colleagues across East Sussex to deliver this. The Policy would also reflect new areas of work such as Modern Slavery, County Lines, and Cuckooing.
The Rother priorities for 2020/21 included: acquisitive crime within retail, rural crime including cross border crime (especially burglary and speciality thefts) and County lines (drug supply and cuckooing in both urban and rural areas of Rother). The following continued to be prioritised in Rother, with interventions continuing during 2020/21: drug supply and cuckooing, modern slavery and human trafficking (Discovery) and rough sleepers, the street community and delivering interventions to reduce the impact of ASB through multi agency interventions, Council interdepartmental working, use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) and Community Protection Notices.
The Chairman welcomed Inspector Jonathan Hartley to the meeting who advised Members that the 6,112 crimes in Rother reported to Sussex Police during the 12 months to the end of January 2020 was 1,044 more reports on the previous 12 months, the increase (20.6%) being nearly twice that for East Sussex as a whole (10.4%). As a comparison, Eastbourne had seen the smallest increase at +5.8%. The reporting of crimes had been very low in 2018/19, thought to be due to public frustration with the 101 non-emergency telephone number; the 2019/20 figures were similar to the 2017/18 figures. Crime within retail, which had increased by 32% on the previous year, was one of the priorities for 2020/21 and the police would be working closely with retailers. In addition, the culture of response teams had changed, and more intelligence was being shared with neighbouring districts resulting in good results when tackling County lines and vehicle crime.
The following crimes had seen a decrease in the 12 months to the end of January 2020: arson; robbery business; serious sexual offences; and anti-social behaviour (ASB) against a person. There had been increases in most crime types, however high percentage increases in certain crimes were actually only small numbers. Of the violent crimes recorded there was an increase of 481 crimes, 199 of these were Domestic Violence Crimes.
Members had an opportunity to put forward questions and the following points were noted:
· crime statistics were available on the Police UK website;
· PSPO’s were used as a last resort with support measures offered in the first instance;
· work on tackling County lines had included raising awareness amongst children and increasing knowledge in the community. There still appeared to be a high demand for cocaine, deemed an acceptable drug within the middle classes, which was a key area to target;
· it was clarified that the three types of ASB figures quoted in the report were total numbers rather than just number of increases;
· ‘ASB Personal’ referred to an act or incident relating to a dwelling, ‘ASB Environmental’ an act or incident impacting on the surroundings and ‘ASB Nuisance’ an act or incident impacting on the community;
· Members requested that Inspector Hartley reiterate their invitation to the Police and Crime Commissioner to attend a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee;
· Members were concerned that the work of the CSP did not appear to be communicated to the general public enough. Inspector Hartley confirmed that discussions were ongoing about methods of communication;
· cross-border intelligence had improved significantly over the previous 6-12 months;
· the number of police officers was increasing, with a greater presence in local communities. Work was required on re-building confidence in the police force; and
· Members requested that the total amount of crimes be reported in the next year’s annual report, in addition to percentage increases.
The Chairman thanked Inspector Jonathan Hartley for his update and praised the outstanding partnership working that was taking place.
1) the Council’s work in relation to Anti-Social Behaviour and Community Safety be noted; and
2) the legislative changes to Safeguarding work on Council Policy and Procedure be noted.
Publication date: 30/03/2020
Date of decision: 16/03/2020
Decided at meeting: 16/03/2020 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee