Venue: Committee Room A, South Walks House, South Walks Road, Dorchester, DT1 1UZ (DT1 1EE for sat nav). View directions
Contact: Elaine Tibble 01305 224202 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Colin Bungey, Barry Goringe and Rachel Maidment.
Cllr Tony Trent attended as Cllr Maidment’s substitute.
Welcome from Chairman
The Chairman welcomed the Panel and introduced Cllr George Farquhar, a new representative from Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council and Elaine Tibble, new Clerk to the Panel
He asked for congratulations to be passed on from the Panel to PC Clair Dinsdale of the Dorset Police Rural Crime Team, who had been awarded a Queen’s Policing Medal (QPM) in the New Year’s Honours List and thanks to Fiona King the former Clerk for her many years of outstanding work with the Panel.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2019
The minutes of the meeting held on 12 November were confirmed and signed as a correct record.
Subject to a minor amendment to point 38 (p5 para 2) which should have read “Cllr Pipe advised that he was due to meet with the Community Safety and Criminal Justice Board”. As an update on minute 37, it was noted that the panel had written to each unitary council outlining concerns about the authorities withdrawing from the Pan-Dorset Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub. It was agreed that the panel will review effectiveness of new arrangements as part of its forward work plan.
Cllr Pipe reported that the Community Safety and Criminal Justice Board had ceased to exist and no further action was possible on minute 38. He was disappointed and hoped that the board would be re-generated.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
Cllr George Farquhar declared a non pecuniary interest as a member of the PCC Customer Service Improvement Panel.
To receive questions or statements on the business of the committee from town and parish councils and members of the public.
The Chairman re-confirmed the rules regarding public participation.
There were no statements or questions submitted from Town and Parish Councils.
The following public statements and questions were submitted to the Panel:
Questions raised by David Sidwick:
1) Could it be explained why from HMICFRS data - Dorset Police has the lowest percentage of front-line officers of any force yet other forces have actually had greater percentage reductions in workforce overall? Does the PCC have his priorities right?
I am somewhat disappointed by this question, as, although a PCC can influence, this matter is clearly an operational one for a Chief Constable. However, in this instance, I am content to provide an answer.
90.8% of FTE police officers in Dorset Police are employed in frontline roles, as at 31 March 2019, which are the latest available data. This compares to an average of 92.1% in England and Wales. While Dorset Police is in the lower quartile of forces, it by no means has the lowest proportion of all forces.
The HMICFRS methodology does not yet account for force collaborations – making the data somewhat inaccurate. For example, in Dorset we pay 30% of the costs of staff in Alliance roles – however for legal reasons a department cannot be jointly ‘hosted’, and so one force must take the lead. As Dorset Police hosts alliance functions such as finance and learning and development, this makes it look like we have a higher investment in support functions, although the true expenditure is quite different.
It is also worth stressing that Dorset has long been a very lean force. The Force has recognised appropriate workforce modernisation and utilised police staff for roles that will provide the best service to the public where warranted powers are not required – for example Police Staff Investigators.
As part of that modernisation and to reduce demand on the frontline, an evidence based investment has been made into roles to reduce demand and provide better service to the public. One example of this is the 25 officers into the desktop investigation team. This would show as ‘non visible frontline’ however those 25 officers have been shown over a two month period to deal with 42% of crime which would otherwise have gone to the frontline – an excellent return on the investment.
I, like the PCCs of many other smaller forces, have been waiting for Government to deliver on the much delayed police funding formula review to help address this imbalance, but as most of us here today will know, this continues to be pushed into the long grass.
In terms of my role, I am content that my scrutiny of the Chief Constable allows me to say that I do not believe that the force’s priorities are wrong. In fact, I am assured, not only that the force actively takes steps to optimise and keep under continual review the level of frontline policing resources, but also that HMICFRS have not raised this as a concern, which ... view the full minutes text for item 49.
The Chairman has agreed to take this item as an urgent item.
The reason for lateness of the report being published is that the Government Settlement was not received until Thursday 23rd January 2020.
To receive and consider the OPCC’s proposed budget requirements and to independently scrutinise its appropriateness.
The following items of business were considered by the Chairman as urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The item was considered to be urgent because the Office of the Police Crime Commissioner had not received the Government Settlement until Thursday 23rd January 2020.
The panel received a report by the Chief Finance Officer which set out the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) proposals for the 2020/21 budget, precept and the medium-term financial strategy.
The PCC introduced the proposal for a 4.34% increase on the Police and Crime budget precept. The PCC explained that the Chief Constable had written to him to inform the budget setting and precept proposal. A copy of the PCC’s speech is attached at Annex 1.
A summary of the Chief Constable’s letter to the PCC is attached at Annex 2.
The PCC then invited the Chief Constable to address the panel
The Chief Constable thanked the Panel for their support of the last year and reflected on how the increased precept for 2019/20 had benefited the communities in Dorset.
The PCC then continued to explain his proposal.
The Director of Operations then delivered a summary of the public consultation results. There had been a good response to the precept survey with over 5000 people taking part.
87% of those who completed the survey were in support of additional funding for the Police and 75% were willing to pay an extra £1.25 a month, ie £15 a year, a figure £5 higher than the proposal the PCC was outlining to the panel. A quarter of those who did not agree with a £1.25 increase were willing to pay more, but a number of people also felt further investment should come from Central Government.
Many respondents, regardless of whether they supported the precept rise or not, would like to see the presence of more officers.
The OPCC Chief Finance Officer addressed the panel. She advised that there were considerable pressures around national agreed pay awards. In addition to core and ring-fenced grants, it was proposed to put £200k in a separate reserve account for uniforms etc in preparation for the additional police officers who will be recruited over the next three years. As Section 151 Officer, assurance has to be given on the adequacy of reserves, a reserve level of 3.5% was adequate but the focus needed to be on maintaining that level. There was a robust budget in place but there would be challenges going forward with the Medium Term Financial Forecast.
Members asked the following budget related questions:-
1. The PCC has stated that Dorset Police continues to be affected by the impact of nine years of austerity. Can the PCC give clarity on how this has diminished Dorset Police’s ability to keep people safe?
Response from PCC
Dorset Police’s ability to keep the public safe is inextricably linked to the policing resources it controls. In 2010, there were 1486 officers, and in 2019 there were 1223 ... view the full minutes text for item 50.
The Panel took a lunch break from 12.00 to 12.40
At this juncture Cllr Trent left the meeting.
Nomination of Chair/Vice chair for 2020/21
To receive nominations for the roles of Chair and Vice-Chair 2020/21
Nominations were invited for the roles of Chair and Vice-chair for the Police and Crime Panel for the year 2020/21.
It was proposed by Cllr Bill Pipe
Seconded by Cllr Bobbie Dove
Decision: that Mike Short was appointed as Chairman for the year 2020/21
It was proposed by Cllr Les Fry
Seconded by Cllr Molly Rennie
Decision: that Cllr Bobbie Dove was appointed as Vice-chair for the year 2020/21
To receive an update of progress against the Police and Crime Plan Q3 2019/20.
The Panel considered a report outlining the progress against the Police and Crime Plan. The PCC introduced the item and announced that on finishing his second term, he had achieved 98 of the 100 commitments under his Police and Crime Plan, he thanked his team, Dorset Police and the panel members.
The monitoring report provided information on the financial outturn position for the Q3 period of the year, including updates on the following items which are listed under the relevant pillars:-
Pillar 1 – Protecting People at Risk and Harm – Cllr Mohan Iyengar.
Cllr Iyengar had recently been appointed to this pillar which was predominately focussed on a strategic approach to preventive work. He referred to the classification of certain vulnerability groups, where efforts are concentrated and tied into the measures and scores.
Hate crime figures had gone down. Where there was discussion over precept figures and talk about officers on the beat, Cllr Iyengar noted also, that a lot of preventative work was hidden, especially when it came to fraud, however visible policing was still vital and he urged the PCC candidates to take note of that.
Financial cuts had reduced preventative work, such as education in schools etc. He was hopeful these roles would come back as an aid to early intervention strategies and that the new PCC would have a clear plan for this area on how to keep people safe, supporting vulnerability when it was needed most. The schools were a big growth area for crime prevention, it was regrettable that, because of the schools academy process, there was no co-ordinated scheme to take the project forward. A “one system” approach across all schools would help in education for preventative measures.
Pillar 2 – Working with our Communities – Cllr Les Fry and Cllr David Taylor.
Cllrs Fry and Taylor presented pillar 2 of the Police and Crime Monitoring Report.
In response to a question regarding supporting youth crime prevention, the PCC agreed that he would like to see more youth club facilities available. Unfortunately, there was no funding allocated to youth clubs but the OPCC could fund some limited initiatives in clubs to keep young people safe, especially with knife crime prevention work.
In relation to fly-tipping, the PCC advised that this was not a policing issue. The only instance where the Police could get involved with fly tipping was when it was actually taking place, the public could dial 999 and the Police would attend.
The minimum wage levels were discussed, and the point was made that the starting salary for a Police Officer was only £19,000, which would make it hard to get 50000 new recruits to meet Government targets. Following the 3-year degree apprenticeship those recruits would not be fully qualified until 2025.
A joined-up approach to reviewing crime education in school should go on the forward plan.
Pillar 3 – Supporting Victims, Witnesses and reducing Reoffending – Cllr Bill Pipe and Cllr Molly Rennie.
The PCC had supported the Sexual ... view the full minutes text for item 53.
· Concerns regarding safeguarding measures
· Safeguarding referrals made by police to the local council
· Detail on how the PCC is approaching this at the local level and Commissioning effect to reduce this issue
The panel received an update on work undertaken to reduce the number of older victims of crime locally, including the role of Dorset Police, the OPCC and partners. The paper outlined current issues, work on action, prevention and commissioning in order to tackle these issues and possible future areas of focus.
The OPCC Chief Executive presented the report and highlighted that Dorset has a higher than average proportion of older residents, and the types of crime that older people are more vulnerable to, especially within the home.
Fraud was highlighted, and it was noted that the PCC and Sir Oliver Letwin had met with Commander Baxter, the National Coordinator for Economic Crime to progress this issue. It was also felt that the implementation of Regional Crime Units to investigate fraud would bring some further improvement, in due course.
In respect of Domestic Abuse crimes in 2.4 of the report, the introduction of a new vulnerability lawyer role within Dorset Police was noted, who could use tools such as Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) which have already proven useful in breaking the cycle of domestic abuse by providing short term, emergency protection for victims of domestic abuse. The work done to increase and improve reporting methods which had resulted in a modest increase of reported crimes was also noted.
The panel would like to see people being more tech-savvy with more protection on their devices and highlighted that it was better to try and prevent fraud before it happened, especially as there was a growing older population.
The panel noted the report.
To receive an updated report from the OPCC.
The Panel had been briefed on the work underway to reduce youth reoffending locally at their November 2019 meeting. The supplementary paper provided further detail on the involvement of the PCC and his office with these and other relevant services.
The paper highlighted the benefits of universal youth services and recorded the PCC’s view that additional investment in these services was required.
There had been an increase in the number of first time entrants into the youth justice system in Dorset and the PCC’s view was that this was partially due to a lack of preventative and protective youth services.
Youth offending was an issue best addressed in partnership, but there was currently no national or local strategy for youth services and as a result it was not clear which agencies should be held to account.
The OPCC Chief Executive stated OPCC was happy to consider running seminars or workshops, as the panel was in agreement that something needed to be done but noted that lack of money was the main issue.
The Chairman suggested that panel members and all councillors lobby local MPs on behalf of the Youth Justice system.
The Chief Executive was asked for a note on the possible implications of young people coming into contact with the criminal justice system, in terms of the impact on their careers, for example. Panel members highlighted that local authorities had made it clear they would not fund youth clubs but would fund services for young people.
It was suggested that the PCC and the Panel write to both councils to enquire if money could be earmarked in their budgets for young people. Panel members to be copied into correspondence.
Panel members noted the report.
Spotlight Scrutiny Review - Police Bail
To receive an update from Mr Iain McVie.
Iain McVie advised that this was still an ongoing review and he would bring an update to the next meeting. He highlighted that national policy on this issue was in a period of flux and that this had led to potential amendments in his report.
Video Uploads Update
To receive a verbal update from the OPCC on progress of this initiative.
The panel received the following verbal update from the OPCC Director of Operations.
Operation Snap – Dash Cam Footage
As Panel members will be aware, Operation Snap is an initiative providing a secure online facility for the submission of video and photographic evidence relating to driving incidents. Operation Snap was launched on 31 July last year, with the support of the Department for Transport.
Operation Snap investigates road traffic offences such as dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention, careless driving, using a mobile phone handheld, not wearing a seat belt, contravening a red traffic light and contravening solid white lines, however this is not an exhaustive list.
It works by helping the Force deal with footage already recorded by members of the public in a safe and secure way, while making the investigation process simple and straight forward. The purpose of
Operation Snap is not to ask members of the public to go out and detect offences for the police, but to deal with those already captured if possible.
There are a few criteria for uploading content to the Op Snap page – including that the registration number of the offending vehicle must be provided; and that the submitter should be over 18 and prepared to sign a witness statement and possibly give evidence in court.
Evidence is reviewed by Police Prosecutors to determine whether an offence was actually committed and whether the charging standards have been met. Footage that doesn’t meet charging standards or where the vehicle registration number is unreadable will result in no further action.
For offences that do meet the charging standards, a Notice of Intended Prosecution is sent to the Registered Keeper and once a response by the driver of the vehicle has been received, they are offered one of three options:
Since launch, Dorset Police received 243 submissions of photographic or video footage, which has resulted in the prosecution of 91 offences. 13 of which have attended a Driver Awareness Course, 8 have been passed to Court for processing and 20 have received a fixed penalty notice The remaining 50 are at various stages of the ticket process.
152 resulted in no further action which is due to a combination of reasons, i.e. charging standards not met, not suitable for Operation Snap processing or unreadable vehicle registration plate. Operation Snap is not suitable for reporting road traffic collisions or parking offences and due to legislative reasons, separate processes are available for these incident types.
In early 2020, Operation Snap will receive a further focus from Dorset Police Communications Team and the scheme will be re-launched with communications messages including footage of offences that have been prosecuted during the initial soft launch phase, which show bad driving behaviour. The communication messages will also include information about what type of footage Dorset Police can ... view the full minutes text for item 57.
To receive the PCP Workplan.
The Chairman announced that the workplan was still work in progress, once it had been populated he would circulate to panel members.
To consider any items of business which the Chairman has had prior notification and considers to be urgent pursuant to section 100B (4) b) of the Local Government Act 1972. The reason for the urgency shall be recorded in the minutes.
There was no additional urgent business.
To move the exclusion of the press and the public for the following item in view of the likely disclosure of exempt information within the meaning of paragraph 3 of schedule 12 A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
The public and the press will be asked to leave the meeting whilst the item of business is considered.
There was no exempt business.
PCC’s Precept speech.
Summary of Chief Constable’s Letter to PCC