Agenda item

Police and Crime Plan Monitoring Report

To receive an update of progress against the Police and Crime Plan Q2 2019/20, to enable Panel members to scrutinise performance, seek assurance and assess outcomes achieved in the reporting period.


The Panel considered a report informing them of the progress against the Police and Crime Plan and Priorities 2017-2021.


The monitoring report provided information on the financial outturn position for the Q2 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

The PCC highlighted key areas as set out in the report.


Following a question about what was being done in respect of the reporting of crimes where men were victims of domestic violence, the PCC advised that a lot of these fell within the LBGT community and he worked very closely with this group.  He was working hard to get more members to come forward and report crimes. There appeared to be no support service in the straight male space, although it was noted that the Refuge in North Dorset welcomed male victims.  One member felt the profile in this regard needed to be raised.  The PCC agreed there could be more worthwhile work carried out on this if he was to go forward for a third term.  It would of course require more funding.  It was suggested to try and raise the profile of this it might be helpful to contact the relevant gay groups/forums as there would be some members there that had contact with straight males.


The Vice-Chairman made reference to hate crime and specifically those people who were disabled and asked when work would be starting in this area.  The PCC advised that work was in progress now and he was working with the disabled group trying to encourage disability reporting and build confidence with the disabled. The PCC reminded members that this was not just Police business but also Local Authority business.


Following a recent report on the radio regarding an increase in cyber crime/fraud the PCC advised that he had just completed a survey about action fraud and was due to meet Head of Action Fraud to complain that over 70% of people who had contacted Action Fraud in Dorset were not happy with the service. He felt it was a completely fragmented approach to dealing with fraud in this country.


Pillar 2 - Working with our Communities – Cllr Les Fry and Cllr David Taylor

The PCC highlighted key areas as set out in the report.


In response to a question about the type of accreditations under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS), the PCC undertook to ask the Police to summarise what the other CSAS accreditations were.


Following a query about video uploads, the PCC undertook to report back to members in February but confirmed that prosecutions had taken place across all three counties.  At present these uploads were used just for traffic issues but there was a plan to extend the plan to include anti-social behaviour


In respect of the work being done to address aggressive driving and the use of mobile phones when driving, the PCC made reference to the graduated driver learning which might help to address aggressive driving and endorsed this. With regards to mobile phones, Dorset prosecuted more than other forces, but accepted more needed to be done.


Following a discussion about fly tipping and how this could be resolved, the Chief Executive, OPCC advised that the PCC had funded a role to help address this and the person appointed had recently started in post.  The PCC was aiming to fund more covert cameras to try and address fly tipping but recognised there was still a lot of work to be done.


One member made reference to the lack of police attendance sometimes at community engagement events and safer neighbourhood events, and asked if a non police representative could attend if a police officer was unable to attend as these meetings were well attended by members of the public.


Pillar 3 – Supporting Victim, Witnesses and Reducing Reoffending – Cllrs Bill Pipe and Molly Rennie

The PCC highlighted key areas as set out in the report.


Cllr Pipe advised members that this pillar was fairly static at present and the aim was to re-start the work again in the New Year.  


In response to a question as to why the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) indicator was still red as the contract had changed recently, the PCC advised that this was a Government issue and therefore remained red, as the new contract provider had yet to bed in.


Following a discussion about the tagging of offenders, the PCC had agreed to fund GPS tagging a number of years ago and had recently agreed to take on another pilot.  The Chairman felt it was maybe a little ambitious to move the indicator to green whilst still at a pilot stage.  However, the Chief Executive highlighted the workings of the two pilots and different suppliers advising this was purely a procurement pilot concerning the cost of the tags and the pledge from the PCC was to extend tagging and this had been achieved.  In response to a concern about a possible breach in relation to tagging, the PCC advised there was three types of tagging, one of which was monitored by the Probation service, and it was this type of breach that the concern related to. The member felt it might be helpful to reword the commitment to ensure transparency.  This was noted, however, it was stated that pledges could not be recorded as they reflected the PCC’s pledges on election.


In response to a question from the Chairman about victim satisfaction rates and the work being done to improve this, the PCC advised that this figure was not just for policing but also related to the whole criminal justice system.


Pillar 4 – Transforming for the Future – Iain McVie and Cllr Barry Goringe

The PCC highlighted key areas as set out in the report.


Iain McVie advised the Panel that he was in the process of working on his scrutiny report on Police Bail but due to national activity this had been paused temporarily.  The aim was to present it to members at their meeting in February.


In response to a question regarding resolution rates and whether the PCC envisaged them coming ‘back into fashion’, the PCC advised that he supported the need for more targets in this area. He felt this area of business could be improved and strongly supported bringing this back as a target. Dorset was leading the country on a detection rate of just 14% of crimes which he felt was woefully low.


Following a question about the recent effects in the courts system and whether these have had any impact on the criminal justice system, the PCC advised there were now just two magistrates courts and one crown court for the county.  Officers saw delays in prosecutions which was a concern.  He added that his biggest concern was regarding domestic violence crimes and the length of time it takes to get to court as this tends to see victims withdraw.  Unfortunately, there were tensions everywhere as a result of austerity measures.


In respect of the PCC’s commitments 55, 58 and 59 regarding witnesses, Cllr Pipe advised that he was due to meet with the Criminal Justice Board on the issues of using witnesses for video link and would report back to members in February.


The Vice-Chairman made reference to the difficulty of recruiting staff to the Force Control Room and asked how was this being addressed.  The Chief Executive, OPCC advised these were comparatively low paid jobs which did include shift allowances, but Winfrith was not easily accessible to all.  The OPCC were currently scrutinising the force’s plans for looking at opportunities to place control room staff in Bournemouth as well as at Winfrith HQ.  A number of vacancies had been carried over during recent months but work was now underway to address this.


Members received an update on the 101 service from Cllr Goringe, which is attached as an appendix to these minutes.  Cllr Goringe’s update also considered this matter in detail.


Members asked the following financial questions to the PCC:-


·         It is noted that adverse variance will be considered at the end of the year for use of revenue.  Why is planning not being undertaken now in order to mitigate this requirement?

The current forecast overspend of £214,000 is considered manageable within the context of a £134.7m budget at 0.16% and is an improved position from Quarter 1.  The forecast variance includes funds made available to address operational demand arising from critical resourcing issues in the control room.  The Force has now set up a Gold group to consider the control room operation and is actively taking steps to reduce spend in areas such as overtime, which are anticipated to have a positive impact on the current forecast, negating the need for a transfer from reserve.


·         What action is the OPCC taking to ensure that changes to the overtime budget will be effective?


The Force has been subject to a PCC Challenge on the subject of overtime, leading to increased scrutiny and a greater level of reporting. As a direct result of this challenge, overtime is reported monthly to the Resource Control Board, co-chaired by the PCC, and attended by both the Chief Executive and the Treasurer. This ongoing scrutiny and challenge has led to significant work taking place in this area. It is also fair to say that the Police and Crime Panel is more aware of this challenge than previously, which brings its own level of external scrutiny, and is welcomed by the PCC.


That being said, the use of overtime as a vital and flexible tool in ensuring that officers are available as necessary to deal with demand cannot be overlooked.  It is used to resource major operations, and other exceptional requirements, as well as covering day to day abstractions and unexpected demands.  The Force is introducing a change to shift patterns this month that is expected to reduce the need for overtime, better matching plain time officer hours to anticipated demand. 


Continued reporting to the Resource Control Board ensures oversight by the PCC of the impact of these changes.


·         Why have the capital receipts not been achieved in year?

The two significant receipts anticipated in 2019/20 related to Christchurch and Wimborne.  The sale of Wimborne is on hold pending further work to ensure alignment with the developing estates strategy, and recognising the impact of future uplift in police officer establishment.


The land and buildings at Christchurch are sold subject to planning, with the application due be considered on 21st November.  The sale and subsequent receipt depend on the granting of planning permission, and the potential for further complications if it is granted, and clearly implications if it is not.  As such, the receipt is not currently being forecast in the current financial year, although there should be further clarity in the next few weeks.


Taking learning from the Christchurch example, the force and OPCC will now be considering whether predicted capital receipts should be included in the capital budget, or whether those receipts should be reserved from being visible in the budget until funds are received.


·         There appears to be a lot of turbulence over the capital budget in the last quarter.  Can the OPCC explain and clarify what is not being undertaken that was planned for six months ago and the associated impact?


There has been a deliberate pause in some building works as the new Head of Estates takes stock of requirements and develops an updated estates strategy. This has resulted in a greater requirement for major works this year and less minor works. Again, much of this is in relation to national drivers such as the police officer uplift and the implementation of the police constable degree apprenticeship scheme. This is not expected to have an adverse operational impact.


Timing on the delivery of ICT work is such that delays are often experienced, and minor ICT schemes totalling £550,000 are expected to slip into 2020/21 as a result.  Again, no adverse operational impact is anticipated.


·         How is it intended to use the £757,000 that is being transferred from the PCP reserve?

£250,000 is the PCC contribution to the £1m Police Innovation Fund as agreed as part of the 2019/20 precept request. Also as previously reported to the Panel, the PCC has provided £250,000 to be spent on Force Wellbeing Initiatives.


The remaining £257,000 was added to the Commissioning budget, bringing it to a total of £1,261,000 for the year. Of this budget, £673,000 has been focussed on ongoing contracts such as the Victims Bureau, The Maple Project, Drug and Alcohol Intervention Programme and the Safer Schools and Communities Team.


This has left £588,000 to be spent on projects that have been developed throughout the life of the Police and Crime Plan, that were due to be commissioned during the year. Examples include, to Circles for support groups to reduce reoffending, to Weymouth and Poole for contributions to the CSAS scheme, for Pop-up Youth Centres, and for Mentoring schemes and support for veterans who find themselves homeless.


A full list of all projects commissioned in 2019/20, including projects funded from the Ministry of Justice Victims Fund grant as well as the above funding, is published on our website at



Supporting documents: