The Community Safety Manager presented an update on the work of the North Worcestershire Community Safety Partnership in Redditch from September 2018 to August 2019.
During the presentation of the report the following points were highlighted for Members’ consideration:
· The partnership worked to resolve community safety issues in Redditch Borough, Bromsgrove District and Wyre Forest District.
· There were a number of sub-groups of the partnership which addressed specific community safety themes.
· The Safer Redditch Group was in the process of being reviewed as there had been some capacity issues in terms of providing support to the group following the departure of an experienced member of staff.
· There was an Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and Complex Cases Group which provided problem solving solutions to many community safety issues. Many of the issues addressed by this group involved neighbour disputes.
· There was also a Multi-Agency Targeted Enforcement (MATE) group which was being piloted in Redditch and was addressing many of the issues that would previously have been handled by the Safer Redditch Group.
· The strategic assessment outlining key issues for the three districts had been presented in draft form at the latest meeting of the partnership board. Once the document had been signed off the partnership would enter a planning stage.
· The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) was not a member of the partnership. However, there was a statutory duty for the partnership to work closely with the PCC and for there to be a cross reference between the partnership’s and the PCC’s plans.
· The PCC’s terms of office were due to come to an end shortly and all of the PCC’s grant funding had now been spent. The partnership, which had received some of this funding, needed to ensure that all funds, which were paid in arrears, were spent.
· There was a new public health duty to prevent and tackle serious violence. This had been subject to Government consultation.
Following the presentation of the report Members discussed a number of points in detail:
· The focus of the partnership and the extent to which it delivered projects in the community. Members were advised that the partnership was not just strategic and got involved in matters such as resolving specific ASB cases.
· The review of the Safer Redditch Group and the timescales for completing this review. Members were advised that there were no timescales for this, however, if the MATE was retained then the ASB and Complex Cases Group would also be retained and it was unlikely that the Safer Redditch Group would then be required.
· The potential for the officer who had left the organisation to be replaced. Members were advised that a new Officer would be recruited using grant funding.
· The PCC’s funding of a CCTV upgrade and how this scheme was progressing. Members were advised that the partnership was confident that this scheme would be delivered as scheduled.
· The Government consultation in respect of the new legal duty to support a multi-agency approach to preventing and tackling serious violence and the implications locally. Members were informed that the partnership had submitted a response as part of this consultation exercise and the preferred option locally would be for Community Safety Partnerships to assume responsibility for this duty.
· The home security assessments that had been undertaken and which properties these could be applied to. The assessments could be undertaken in cases where the police had made referrals, for example for victims of domestic violence. Assessments were also frequently undertaken of Council houses as well as housing association properties.
· The number of residents participating in the Nominated Neighbour Scheme, which protected vulnerable residents from doorstep crime. Officers explained that 90 residents had participated since the scheme was established two years previously.
· The information packs that were issued to participants in the Nominated Neighbour Scheme. Officers confirmed that copies of these packs could be sent to Members and that referrals to this scheme would also be accepted from Members.
· The methods used to advertise the Nominated Neighbour Scheme. Members were informed that Officers tended to promote the scheme to vulnerable groups that were most likely to benefit from participation, including through attending Residents Association and older people’s forum meetings.
· The Community Trigger/ASB Case Review process and the standard timescales for resolving each case. Officers explained that this process presented challenges, particularly as the partnership had received five such cases in close succession, though all had been addressed within the required timescales.
· The workload of the Community Safety Officer working in Redditch and the potential for further support to be provided to him. The Panel was informed that once recruited the new officer would provide support, though additional help was also available from partner organisations.
· The process for handling ASB cases and the difficulties with addressing these cases when none of the parties involved were Council tenants. Members were informed that the Council could address such cases where at least one party was a Council tenant. Officers had also worked with housing associations and private tenants to resolve such issues. The biggest challenge was resolving a neighbour dispute where both parties were owner occupiers and there was no illegal activity that would justify the involvement of the police.
· The ASB that could arise from people begging and the fact that not all of the people who were begging were homeless.
· The involvement of the Council’s various housing teams in the work of the partnership and the support that these teams could provide in terms of housing homeless people.
· The difficulties that could be encountered with housing people who had been homeless for some time and the need for ongoing support to be provided to people in this position.
1) Nominated Neighbour Scheme information packs be circulated for the consideration of Members; and
2) the report be noted.