Agenda and minutes

Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel - Thursday, 8th February, 2018 10.00 am

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

Contact: Joel Cook / Anna Taylor  03000 416892 / 416478


No. Item



To note that Cllr Michael John Holloway has replaced Cllr Keith Morris as a member of this Panel. 

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1.      The Chairman advised the Panel that Cllr Holloway had replaced Cllr Morris on the Panel.


RESOLVED that the Membership change be noted.



Minutes of the Police and Crime Panel held on 15 November 2017 pdf icon PDF 98 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 15 November were an accurate record and that they be signed by the Chairman.


Matters Arising


PCC general updates


1.      The Commissioner updated the Panel on some issues raised with him at and since the previous Panel meeting.

·         Regarding PCSOs issuing penalty notices for parking in restricted areas outside of schools; a draft Memorandum Of Understanding had been sent to parking leads for all councils, which set out the governance and local arrangements.  Kent Police were working with Medway Council regarding PCSOs issuing penalty notices and that a Medway pilot would be considered in due course.

·         Magnate Generation was running a project from the Bower House café in Ashford which involved working with pupils from local schools by providing business courses outside of school hours.

·         It was likely that the Emergency Services Network (ESN) would be extended to cover KCC Community Wardens when all public sector services currently using the Airwaves digital communication system transitioned to ESN.


Additional item – Recorded Crime  increase in Kent (Verbal Update)


1.      The Commissioner provided an update to the Panel on the recently published national crime data which showed an increase in recorded crime in Kent.  He advised the Panel that the statistics were difficult to assess fairly given the changes in recording practice and national guidance year on year.  The Commissioner clarified that the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed that overall crime in the UK was down by 40% since 2014, however he noted that the recently released crime stats indicated that there had been an increase in 2017 of 27%.  He highlighted that further work had been undertaken to improve crime recording following the review of recording accuracy which would probably have contributed to an increase in the recorded figures.  The Commissioner also commented that legislation and process changes as well as positive publicity campaigns had encouraged more people to come forward to report certain ‘hidden harm’ crime types, such as stalking and domestic abuse, sexual assault and rape.  This reflected increased victim confidence rather than a real-world increase in the number of crimes being committed.  However, the Commissioner acknowledged that part of the overall increase did evidence straightforward increases in crime.  He advised the Panel that this was part of a national trend but that Kent Police was looking into the matter, focusing more on the impact of any increases rather than the stats themselves.


2.      The Commissioner highlighted that Anti-social behaviour incident reports for Kent had fallen by 11%.  This showed a mixed picture around reporting of issues by the public. He  also noted that the new Policing Model that had been introduced in 2017, as well as the new Investigation tool, had freed up officer time, which was positive and was expected to improve services over time.


3.      The Commissioner answered Member questions, explaining that the crime types that had seen a genuine increase (rather than suspected reporting increase) were public order, violence against the person (VAP) as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 255.


Draft refreshed ‘Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan’ and precept proposal for 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 370 KB

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1.      The Commissioner introduced the updated Safer in Kent:  Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan, noting that the Chairman had said that the Panel would consider the Plan and the Precept separately to allow reasonable scrutiny and discussion.


2.      The Commissioner advised the Panel that the Plan had been updated and refreshed to reflect the changing needs of the residents, confirming that he would use these resident focused priorities to hold the Chief Constable to account for delivering the service required by the people of Kent.  The Commissioner provided information on the consultation activity and the results, which had been used to develop the updated plan.  He commented that the main priorities, as identified by residents had not changed overall; Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), sexual offences, terrorism and radicalisation, burglary, knife crime, domestic abuse, gang-related crime.  The Commissioner noted that terrorism had become more important to some residents, most likely as result of the various incidents over the previous twelve months.


3.      The Commissioner explained that the consultation had attracted just under 1700 responses, which was a good level to inform his updated plan.  He advised that the consultation had not been digitally exclusive, with the online questionnaire supported by face to face engagements and events as well as hardcopy literature provided at a range of venues.  The Commissioner commented that he had made particular effort to engage with diverse and minority communities via attendance at community venues such as mosques and Gurdwaras.  He commented that it was important to him to ensure his plan captured views from all communities in Kent.


4.      The Commissioner explained that the consultation had asked about the current Kent Police Ride-along scheme and alternative methods of holding the Chief Constable to account.  As there had been mixed responses to these questions,  further work would be done to review options.  In terms of collaboration with other emergency services, there was significant support for continued joint work but the Commissioner gave reassurances that the positive responses would not be used to justify significant changes or reductions in estates via co-location without further review and engagement.  The Commissioner noted that it was positive that people wanted to see more collaboration between emergency services and he commented on the good work already underway with Kent Fire and Rescue Service and progress being made with the Ambulance Service.  The Commissioner highlighted that fewer respondents had answered the demographic questions which made it difficult to assess how representative the views were but he reiterated the positive engagement work undertaken directly with minority communities to ensure their views were captured in some way. 


5.      In terms of key changes or updates to the Plan, the Commissioner explained that visible neighbourhood policing and effective roads policing had been amended to be more mindful of the need to protect vulnerable road users (e.g. cyclists and pedestrians) and also include greater emphasis on the work around supporting bereaved families following fatal road traffic collisions.  The Commissioner also highlighted that the planned  ...  view the full minutes text for item 256.


Mental Health Update

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1.      The Commissioner advised the Panel that dealing with mental health issues continued to represent a significant part of non-crime related work undertaken by Kent Police and reasserted his view that this should not be case.  He noted that some Chief Constables had expressed concerns that only 17% of police time was spent dealing with criminal offences and that mental health was a significant contributor to this issue.  The Commissioner emphasised that it was important that other agencies with formal responsibility and appropriate training play a greater role in dealing with mental health issues and meet their obligations.


2.      The Commissioner explained that the Mental Health and Policing Oversight Board had held its third meeting on 1 February 2018.  He explained that this Board involved the ACC, the CCG and Mental Health Trust and now the Ambulance Service and the Commissioner. The Board had considered Kent Police’s Mental Health and Policing Strategy and was seeking to identify improvements.  The Commissioner advised that the recent discussions had included updates on the Street Triage programme, including plans for further evaluation of the scheme to assess whether it should be rolled out across Kent.


3.      The Commissioner advised the Panel that additional work was being done to address issues relating to repeat callers to the Police who experience significant mental health problems, noting that 17 callers were responsible for 4% of all calls to Kent Police.  He commented that managing this required sensitivity and understanding of the needs of the people in question.


4.      The Commissioner also commented on the good work being undertaken to map wider issues and services relating to mental health across the county including crisis management and as well as general health and wellbeing, praising the excellent contribution from Kent County Council and Medway Council. 


5.      The Commissioner updated the Panel regarding the changes to custody arrangements for people sectioned under the Mental Health Act following the implementation of the Policing and Crime Act 2017.  This meant that under-18s could not be detained in police custody under mental health legislation at all and that the circumstances for detaining adults had been restricted.  The Commissioner was pleased to advise the Panel that the numbers of people detained by Police under s.136 of the Mental Health Act had fallen and he also noted that the care pathway improvements had reduced the handover periods between relevant agencies from hours to less than forty-five minutes.  The Commissioner also advised the Panel that he would be organising another Mental Health Conference, which would involve service users, stakeholders and other partners.


6.      The Commissioner updated the Panel on changes to the Mental Health Act which meant that s.136 powers could be exercised in any place other than a private dwelling.  This meant that people could be sectioned while in a Police station which made it easier for the Police to ensure people got the support and help they required without being unnecessarily criminalised.  The maximum detention period had been reduced from 72 hours to 24  ...  view the full minutes text for item 257.


Panel Annual Report pdf icon PDF 64 KB

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1.      The Chairman introduced the Panel’s annual report, commenting that he was pleased with the Panel’s progress.  He expressed congratulations to the Commissioner on his work and the low number of complaints received from the public.  The Chairman also commented on the good working arrangements between Panel staff, the Commissioner and his Office.


2.      The Chairman advised the Panel that progress was being made on working jointly with other Panels via the LGA Special Interest Group being developed, in line with the Panel’s previous agreement not to support the creation of a national association but to explore more informal methods of sharing good practice.


RESOLVED that the report be approved.



Future work programme pdf icon PDF 52 KB

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RESOLVED that the work plan be noted.



Questions to the Commissioner

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Question 1:

As Commissioner how do you monitor police use of Tasers and ensure that relevant policy is followed and reviewed? How, in holding the Chief Constable to account, do you decide whether proportionate action has been taken in their use in particular instances? (Don Sloan)



1.      The Commissioner recognised the importance of the Police ensuring appropriate use of force as it was closely related to the principle of Policing by Consent.  Responding to the question, the Commissioner provided the Panel with an overview of Taser use by Kent Police:


·          Home Office published data for calendar year 2016 showed that in Kent, Taser was:

§  Drawn/Aimed/Arced/Red dotted on 270 occasions

§  Discharged (drive stun or fired) on 37 occasions

·          At my Performance & Delivery Board on 27 September 2017, received a further update on use of force, including Taser.

·          Data showed that in the period April to June, Taser was:

§  Drawn/Aimed/Arced/Red dotted on 71 occasions

§  Discharged (drive stun or fired) on 13 occasions

·          On an annual basis, the Chief Constable is required to provide an update on Use of Force (including Taser) to my Performance & Delivery Board.

·          On a monthly basis, my office randomly reviews complaints against Kent Police – the use of Taser by Kent Police officers has not been identified as a specific issue.

·          Whenever an officer draws their Taser, they are required to complete a Use of Force form which is signed by their supervisor, and subsequently submitted to the Staff Safety Training Unit for review – this team delivers officer safety training and monitors use and effectiveness of tactics.

·          From 1 October 2016 it became mandatory for all UK police forces to accurately and consistently record use of force. From 1 April 2017, all forces required to submit data to Home Office.

·          On 31 July 2017, Use of Force information was published on the Kent Police website to provide greater transparency and accessibility to data.


2.      The Commissioner clarified that in terms of determining the proportionality of Taser deployment, this was an operational issue and would be based on the particular circumstances in each instance.  A process was in place, requiring Officers to justify their use of Taser whenever it was deployed, which was managed internally by Kent Police.  The Commissioner confirmed that as the decision to use Taser had to be based on Officer discretion in each set of circumstances, it was not for him to comment.  However, he reassured the Panel that his office regularly dip-checks police complaints and that Taser use had not been flagged as an issue.  The Commissioner also explained that  he requested that historic data on Taser use, pre-dating the requirement to submit these figures to the Home Office, be published in the interest of transparency and accountability.  The Commissioner commented that he had no particular concerns regarding Taser use as it was just one of a number of necessary tools Officers had at their disposal for resolving challenging situations and that he thought it was important for there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 260.