Venue: Council Chamber Town Hall. View directions
Note: To scrutinise the work of North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership in Redditch
Apologies and Named Substitutes
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Lovell.
Declarations of Interest and of Party Whip
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and / or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests, and any Party Whip.
There were no declarations of interest nor of party whip.
The minutes from the meeting held on Wednesday 2nd November 2022 were submitted for Members’ consideration.
the minutes of the meeting of the Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Panel held on Wednesday 2nd November 2022 be approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chair.
The Community Safety Manager provided a detailed presentation updating Members on the work of the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership (NWCSP) in Redditch Borough.
The following was highlighted for Members’ consideration:
· Local authority representation on the NWCSP consisted of the Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Regulatory Services, the Council’s Interim Chief Executive and the Community Safety Manager. Local authorities had a statutory duty to scrutinise the work of its local Community Safety Partnership, under Section 19 of the Police and Justice Act 2006. There was also a direct role for the Council in holding the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to account through the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel (PCP).
· The NWCSP produced a rolling three-year plan that was refreshed annually through a strategic assessment, which gathered research, evidence and intelligence along with professional expertise of those working locally. The current priorities informed by the strategic assessment were:
o Reducing Violence and Abuse
o Reducing Theft and Acquisitive Crime
o Reducing Anti-Social Behaviour, Damage and Nuisance
o Protecting Vulnerable Communities
o The Partnership also focused on two cross cutting themes that impacted across the four priority areas, namely Reducing the Harm caused by Drug and Alcohol Misuse and Reducing Re-Offending.
· The NWCSP Plan 2021-24 was now in its last year and a new community safety action plan would be developed for 2024-27.
· Regarding the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Members were informed that since 2017 the PCC had allocated significant funding as part of its CCTV Capital Fund to develop and upgrade CCTV across the West Mercia force area. The NWCSP used its funding allocation to upgrade and enhance the CCTV scheme across its area. No further CCTV capital funding for 2023-24 would be provided as the funding priorities of the PCC had now changed.
· NWCSP had been allocated an annual ring-fenced amount from the PCC of £139,250, with spend breakdown of that fund spend by NWCSP detailed in Appendix 1 of the report.
· In 2023-24 new funding would be made available by the Home Office via PCCs to support Community Safety partners in Implementing the Serious Violence Duty, as laid out in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act 2022.
· It was clarified that local delivery of community safety projects fell under the remit of the Community Safety Operational Groups. The Safer Redditch group was a multi-agency partnership chaired by the District Police Inspector. Appendix 1 to the report provided an update on the key community safety projects that had taken place in 2022-23.
· Tools and powers used in respect of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) cases within the Borough were detailed. It was reported that in 2022-23, 15 Community Protection Warnings (CPWs) had been issued by Council service areas. 8 CPWs were issued by Planning, with one of the CPWs issued by Planning progressing to a Community Protection Notice (CPN) – a breach of which was classed as a criminal offence. 7 CPWs were issued by Environmental Services.
· No ASB Case Reviews (formally Community Triggers) ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The Community Safety Manager provided an overview of the activity undertaken by local agencies in Worcestershire to tackle and disrupt county lines drug activity.
The definition of county lines was provided and the process of how this crime was undertaken was explained to Members. It was reported that various agencies coordinated their work to tackle county lines gang activity and there were national, regional, and local responses. Multiple organisations were involved in coordination and delivery of prevention strategies in Redditch.
It was explained that on a regional and local level the tackling of county lines drug activity was led by the West Mercia Police County Lines Team (CLT). The Team worked to the Four-P Plan to Pursue offenders, Prevent victimisation, Prepare agencies and organisations for action, and Protect communities and neighbourhoods. It was reported that the main aim of the County Lines Team was to obtain, submit, receive and review intelligence to target individual drug lines.
The process for targeting county lines was explained and it was noted that once a line holder was arrested, and the phone taken out of circulation, a message would be sent to all the drug users in the phone to notify them of drug support agencies for them to contact. It was noted that this was a new system designed to play a preventive role. When children were being identified as involved in county lines gang, then referrals were made to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the Police Child Exploitation team and GetSafe (multi-agency support and protection for children and young people at risk of criminal exploitation in Worcestershire) – the use of the NRM had not been required in the Redditch area to date.
The details of initiatives to target and prevent county lines drug activity were given including the West Mercia Police’s Neighbourhood Crime Fighting Team (NCFT), County Lines – Weeks of Action (intensification weeks), and the County Lines – Protect, Prevent and Prepare Strands.
Details of recent actions and interventions undertaken by the North Worcestershire County Lines Team were provided and it was highlighted that there were several recent successes in catching County Lines drug offenders.
Details were also provided to Members on the reporting mechanisms for raising a county lines activity concern, particularly in cases where a child might be involved.
Following the presentation, Members asked for clarification with respect to a number of areas as follows:
· Mode of operation of county lines – It was explained that past victims report that county lines gangs are operated like a business with different levels of operation. There is also psychological element whereby ‘employees’ at the bottom of the operation are threatened with violence and become too afraid to report. It was noted that county lines gangs were also shifting their tactics, for example, with the gangs now more often targeting young people from relatively affluent areas/neighbourhoods than was the case before.
The Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Regulatory Services addressed the Panel and in doing so thanked the Community Safety ... view the full minutes text for item 5.