Agenda item

Annual Report - Chair of Redditch Community Safety Partnership

To receive an annual update from the Chair of the Redditch Community Safety Partnership in response to the questions that were agreed by the Panel at the previous meeting.


(No separate report)




Members received the Annual Report from the Chair of the Redditch Community Safety Partnership which was provided in accordance with a list of questions that had been proposed at the previous meeting of the Panel.


1)           (The Panel has been made aware that the Victim Support Scheme provides invaluable support to victims and witnesses of crime). What is the Community Safety Partnership doing to raise awareness of the scheme in Redditch? Exactly what time of support is being provided through the scheme?

It was explained to the Panel that the Community Safety Partnership helps to raise awareness of Victim Support through its involvement in a number of certain projects. Victim Support is a key partner in the Joint Hate Incident Partnership, making and receiving referrals from victims of hate crime or incidents. As part of the Hate Incident Reporting Scheme, its local office is promoted as a Community Reporting Centre. Victim Support also works closely with the Community Safety Team through cross referrals to the Home Security Project which offers support to victims of burglary and attempted burglary.

Members were informed that all victims of personal crime are now referred to Victim Support. Victims of the most serious types of crime, including rape, sexual assault, domestic burglary, and domestic abuse, are contacted within 48 hours of the crime taking place. In North Worcestershire, an independently funded Serious Crime Worker operates to offer further support to victims of crime. Also, volunteers trained by Victim Support can provide emotional and practical assistance to victims in Worcestershire.

Members heard that Victim Support operates an independent witness service in every criminal court. This helps to put the victims and witnesses at ease about attending court. For example, it is explained to them what they can come to expect at court.

In Redditch, the team based at the Ecumenical Centre can undertake home visits to victims upon request.

Nationally, a number of promotional campaigns, radio advertisements, and fund raising events support the work of Victim Support and help increase public awareness about the help it provides to victims and witnesses of crime.


2)           (The Panel is also aware and very much supportive of the Community Payback Scheme in Redditch). How is the Partnership helping to expand, improve, and further publicise the scheme in the Borough?

The Panel was informed that the Partnership is working closely with probation partners to support and promote the use of the scheme. However, much of this work is already done in-house by the Probation Service which manages the scheme.

Elsewhere, the Partnership is represented on a Countrywide Integrated Offender Management Group, a sub-group of the Worcestershire Safer Communities Board, focusing on improving the way that offenders are rehabilitated in Worcestershire. Central to this work is improving the public image of the scheme.

Members heard that 8,716 hours of community payback had been carried out in Redditch between April 2011 and February 2012, of which 923 hours had been undertaken on behalf of the Borough Council. It had also been undertaken at local charity shops, sports clubs, churches, and schools.

In the West Mercia area, the Probation Trust recently moved to a cost neutral model that prioritises projects that cover the costs for the supervisor. The average cost for each project is £150 or equivalent in-kind contribution. Members heard that a neighbouring local authority covered these costs in their particular area. The Panel consequently requested the Chair of the Partnership to feed this information back to the Partnership and to ask that it consider making a contribution to these costs.

Regarding Community Payback, Members queried whether there was sufficient demand for this scheme. Officers replied that arranging Community Payback projects required pre-planning and organisation and they were keen to facilitate this; however in some instances the Council needed further assistance to help manage and supervise certain schemes in Redditch.

Members suggested that snow clearing during periods of inclement weather would be an appropriate activity for the scheme. Furthermore, it was felt that the Borough Council could benefit from this work. However, the Panel was advised that there were a number of health and safety issues involved. It would also be very difficult to plan this activity in advance, although Officers agreed to pass the Panel’s suggestion onto the relevant Environmental Services Team.


3)           (The Panel understands that members of the Community Safety Team have recently been trained to become specialist advisors on the prevention of crime). What benefits do you expect the Partnership, and Redditch in general, will accrue through this?


Members were referred to a number of important benefits that the Partnership and town in general might obtain. This included: better skills and knowledge to engage with Development Control and Development Plans to positively influence the design of new developments; and implanting crime reduction and community safety principles into development plans from the outset. However, it was explained that Officers cannot be called on as a statutory consultee in the planning applications as this remains the function of the Police Architectural Liaison Officers. Members felt that the West Mercia Police Authority should be asked to reconsider this and to recognise the Officers as official consultees. The Chair of the Partnership agreed to report this suggestion back.


The Panel heard that an accredited crime prevention design advice would likely be made available to non-residential buildings and environments, especially business and civic/community premises. Members heard that this was already taking place in certain locations within the Borough.


It was thought that there would be a greater chance that an in-house crime reduction advisory function could be introduced.


Finally, it was felt that the training itself was an important aspect of the Officers continued professional development which would benefit the Council, Partnership, and Borough as a whole.


In terms of future training opportunities for other members of the Community Safety Team, the Panel was advised that this would be facilitated wherever possible and resources permitting.


On behalf of the Panel, the Chair thanked Sue Hanley for her report.




the report be noted.