Agenda and minutes

Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel - Tuesday, 15th November, 2016 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Joel Cook/Anna Taylor  03000 416892/416478


No. Item


Minutes of the Police and Crime Panel held on 8 September 2016 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

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1.    Subject to the correction of the inconsistency around the description of the Independent Member throughout the minutes it was:


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 2016 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.


Support for Victims pdf icon PDF 229 KB

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1.    The Commissioner introduced this item and highlighted Compass House in Ashford which provided a co-ordinated hub for victim services in Kent.  HMIC had recently visited Compass House as part of their fact finding and were very complimentary about the services on offer.  The Commissioner praised his staff for their work on developing Compass House prior to his arrival. 


2.    The Commissioner referred Members to paragraph 17 of the report which evidenced greater numbers of victims able to access support, victim satisfaction was very high and the Commissioner paid credit to the Victim Support team. There had been a drop in overall victim satisfaction from 79% to 74% but the Commissioner and his team were working with Kent Police to understand the reasons and learn lessons to improve satisfaction levels. 


3.    Referring to specialist victim services £450,000 had been allocated to charities and the Commissioner highlighted some including East Kent Rapeline and Family Matters, who were working with child victims of sexual assault, the charity DAVSS which provided support for male victims of domestic violence and Choices DA service in Dartford which was providing an Independent Domestic Violence Adviser for men and LGBT victims.  The Commissioner was aiming to visit all the charities he had provided funding to. 


4.    A Member asked whether victims had to travel to Compass House, had any work been done on whether victims were willing to travel and where the visitors to Compass House were coming from.  The Commissioner explained that Victim Support operate Compass Points, making themselves available in every district for those people who are not able to travel to Ashford.  The Commissioner offered to submit a report to a future meeting of the Panel setting out the number of victims visiting Compass House. 


5.    Another Member asked whether there were particular hard to reach or isolated communities which could really benefit from the services available but did not access them?  If there were pockets across Kent which did not access the support available due to, for example, culture or race, what action was Compass House taking to support these groups?  The Commissioner confirmed that Compass House focussed on being accessible and breaking down cultural barriers and offered to talk to Compass House about this issue and to provide a report back.   


6.    One Member asked whether there was any value in a Kent wide group sharing good and bad practice across victim support services.  The Commissioner explained that the Victim Support contract ensured Kent wide coverage, and his office also tried to ensure Kent wide coverage when deciding on grant allocations.  The Commissioner also outlined an important project with Essex Police focused on child sexual exploitation and Modern Day Slavery, with a Coordinator working hard to break down barriers within certain communities and promote the support available.  The domestic abuse contract was also county wide with triage provided by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and services provided within the districts. 


7.    A Member asked how success was defined in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 202.


Update on expenditure to support the Police and Crime Plan pdf icon PDF 267 KB

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1.    The Commissioner explained that up to the summer he had honoured the funding commitments made by the former Commissioner.  The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) published, via its website, all expenditure over £500.  The Commissioner paid tribute to Safer Kent for their support with administering the Youth Diversion Fund. 


2.    The Commissioner highlighted the work of the Kenward Trust which delivered sessions to young people hosted by a reformed drug addict.  The Commissioner had attended a session and the presenter had had a huge impact on the young people not only demonstrating the effects of drugs on his body and health but on his community from a real life scenario. 


3.    The Commissioner explained a number of the projects set out within the report which had received funding from the OPCC in the last six months. 


4.    The Commissioner was reviewing the funding available to ensure it was achieving value for money. 


5.    The Commissioner was congratulated on the projects set out within the report and for the transparency offered by the OPCC in producing the report outlining how OPCC expenditure was being spent.  The Member asked for a fuller list showing the grants in other areas which were not so high profile. 


POST MEETING NOTE:  A list of all OPCC expenditure (April – October 2016) was circulated to Members of the Panel via email on 22.11.16.


6.    In response to a question about feedback received from community groups the Commissioner explained that all groups in receipt of funding were required to complete monitoring forms to ensure that money had been spent where agreed and the results monitored.  If the funding was not spent it would be returned and the group might not receive funding in the future if there were poor results. 


7.    In response to a question about the importance of role models the Commissioner confirmed that he thought role models to be very important, Kenward Trust had mentors with real life experience of working with young people across Kent and Medway.  Any overlaps found between the groups receiving funding were challenged and lessons learned. 


8.    A Member commended the report but asked how many young people were not being reached by the groups set out within the report.  The Commissioner explained that it was his hope that no part of the county was forgotten, he worked with Kent Youth County Council and Medway Youth Parliament to promote the groups and encouraged direct engagement with young people to ensure the right message was getting out into communities. 


9.    A Member pointed out that acknowledgement had not been given to the OPCC within the sponsorship section on the website of one of the groups, Urban Blue Bus Ltd.  The Commissioner explained that it was a requirement attached to the funding that acknowledgement was given, he was sure it was an oversight but it would be checked.


10. The Chairman suggested that future reports on expenditure could be prepared in consultation with Panel officers, who might  ...  view the full minutes text for item 203.


Mobile Policing & Emergency Services Network pdf icon PDF 263 KB

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1.    The Commissioner introduced this report and explained that it gave an update on mobile policing within Kent Police and the national Emergency Services Network that would be operational by 2020.  The aim was to provide officers with the tools needed on the front line.  Body worn cameras had been rolled out force wide and had proved to be a fantastic, robust piece of equipment which officers could use to show evidence to lawyers and the public resulting in earlier guilty pleas and moderating the behaviour of all involved. 


2.    The Commissioner outlined an example of where the body worn cameras had been successful, during one incident where police were called by a victim of domestic violence, the victim had changed her mind about the incident by the time the police arrived but footage taken by the body worn camera revealed injuries caused by the perpetrator. 


3.    Smartphones had also been rolled out across Kent Police and now forces were looking for integrated mobile solutions.


4.    A Member asked whether there was a mechanism in place to hold the force to account for the delivery of officer free time as mentioned in paragraph 6 of the report, as well as how the PCC would oversee this project.  Paragraph 26 of the report stated that the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff chaired a quarterly IT Delivery Board where progress against the delivery of all Kent Police IT projects was reviewed.  The Commissioner explained that the saving of 1 hour per officer per shift of transaction time was an early estimate based on pilot projects.  It was necessary to review quantitative and qualitative data and the equipment would be very valuable in allowing officers to complete paperwork, whilst monitoring offenders at A&E, for example.  The Commissioner assured Members that he was very hands on with monitoring IT projects and held regular meetings to review progress. 


5.    A Member asked about the cost of the scheme and the mobile coverage provided.  The Commissioner explained that the costs were difficult to clarify at this stage as the handsets had not been purchased yet, since the technology would improve over the next couple of years and it was important to get the right device, at the right time.  In terms of operational cost, the Commissioner referred to the decision on page 25 of the agenda and explained that this was indicative of the costs to Kent Police.  The Commissioner explained that the coverage and operability function had to be 99.999% otherwise the scheme would fail at a critical time. 


6.    In response to a question from a Member about whether fingerprint technology would be used the Commissioner explained that it currently would not.  Members raised concerns about the mobile coverage provided and the ability of the mobile phone operators to deliver a national project, the Commissioner confirmed that he would do everything possible to hold the providers to account and he was aware that sometimes time could not be quantified when it came to saving  ...  view the full minutes text for item 204.


Mental Health - verbal update

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1.    The Commissioner opened this item and thanked the Councillors and Kent MPs for lobbying for funding for the Kent health based places of safety.  With regards to outreach work there would be a Thanet mobile engagement vehicle and in West Kent a crisis café available in partnership with West Kent Mind.  This had been part funded by West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and part funded by the Commissioner.  The Commissioner thanked everyone who had supported the bid. 


2.    The Commissioner referred to the Police and Crime Bill, which would ban police cells from being used as a place of safety for children and severely restrict their use for adults.  West Kent CCG was holding an engagement day in December to help understand existing processes and to develop alternative pathways.  The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s relationship with the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) continued to grow.


3.    A Member asked about support given to dementia patients, the Commissioner explained that his office had been dementia friendly trained as had all Kent Police staff. There was a partnership with Kent Fire and Rescue Service which was undertaking preventative work to ensure safety in homes.  Community Wardens also had the role of checking on residents with dementia ensuring visits by carers had been made etc. 


4.    In response to a question about the relationship with the CCGs the Commissioner explained that through the Talking Therapies for Children scheme the Commissioner’s Office had been engaging with the CCGs, mental health scorecards had been produced for mental health services in Kent and it was clear that some areas were good and some not so good.  It was necessary to question the CCGs on why they were underperforming in some areas and determine methods of accountability. 


5.    The Chairman referred Members to a virtual dementia experience which he had learned of. 


RESOLVED that the Panel note the Commissioner’s verbal update on Mental Health.


Questions to the Commissioner

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1.    Mr Sandher:

Can the PCC provide an update on how many responses he has had to date with the consultation on the crime plan, the last I read there had been 800?  Are there any districts which are showing a low response to date, and if so what will he and the team be doing to increase the response rate if applicable?


The Commissioner explained that the majority of responses had been online.  The consultation document had been advertised on the PCC’s website and the Officers were doing their best to promote the consultation.  A youth forum event was taking place at which it would be promoted and the Commissioner was looking at ways to extend the reach of the consultation and was willing to consider any ideas Members had.


POST MEETING NOTE: A breakdown of responses is available here on KCC’s website.  


2.    Mr Sandher:

In light of the recent BBC 5 LIVE investigation report nationally about the use of strip searches by police forces, are you in a position to provide an update on what the figures are for Kent including figures on under 18? 


The Commissioner explained that the figures had not yet been verified however he was assured that they were very low with less than 10% strip searches.  Once the data was verified he would present it to the Panel.  For clarity the definition of a ‘strip search’ under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 is:  ‘a search involving removal of more than outer clothing… outer clothing includes shoes and socks’.  The Commissioner read out the safeguards in relation to use, which included:


-       the police officer carrying out must be same sex as detainee;

-       the search taking place in an area where detainee cannot be seen by anyone else, or member of opposite sex;

-       whenever involves exposure of intimate body parts, must be at least two people present other than detainee;

-       having proper regard to sensitivity and vulnerability of detainee, and every effort made to secure detainees cooperation and minimise embarrassment;

-       detainees not normally required to remove all clothes at the same time;

-       record made on custody record, including reason, those present and result.


3.    Cllr Gooch:

Of the 63 requests for Maidstone’s mobile camera deployment in 2015/16, 53 requests came from Kent Police in order to, for example, detect parcels being thrown over the wall at Maidstone Prison, criminal damage, drug issues. Mindful that CCTV evidence is useful for detecting and investigating crimes, saving the Police a considerable amount of time through guilty pleas, how far will the reduction in CCTV, whether static or mobile, impact on valuable police time? 


The Commissioner explained that partnerships were vital, the public and businesses benefited most from CCTV and it helped to protect the public from harm.  CCTV was one of the issues over which the PCC was contacted most frequently.  Kent Police were not in a position to provide a contribution to CCTV but they did fund the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 206.


Commissioner's Decisions - 008 - 010 pdf icon PDF 603 KB

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1.    With regard to the decision over the Dedicated Complaint Managers, a Member explained that she understood that Kent Police should be undertaking this function.  The Commissioner explained that there was an underspend in the Police budget and the proposal was to fund dedicated complaint managers.  The PCC holds the Chief Constable to account however the only statutory duty that the Commissioner had in relation to complaints was around those made about the Chief Constable personally.  The Commissioner’s staff dip checked police records to ensure a consistent service was being provided and Members of the Police and Crime Panel were invited to attend the Commissioner’s Governance Board to watch the PCC challenge the Chief Constable. 


RESOLVED that the Panel note the Commissioner’s Decisions.


Future work programme pdf icon PDF 51 KB

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RESOLVED that the Panel note the future work programme.