Agenda and minutes

Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel - Wednesday, 25th April, 2018 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 February 2018 pdf icon PDF 148 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 8 February were an accurate record and that they be signed by the Chairman. 


1.    Members asked that an item on recruitment be brought to a future meeting of the Panel, earlier than in November as currently planned.  The Commissioner agreed to update the Panel but pointed out that it would be necessary to ensure that enough information was available to make the updates valuable. 


2.     In response to a question the Commissioner confirmed that the judgement had been made on the case of Mr Bowler, although the Force had yet to receive the written judgment.  There were elements found in Mr Bowler’s favour and elements in favour of Kent Police, it was considered that lessons would be learned to ensure that no-one felt discriminated against in the work place.  In answer to a Member’s question the Commissioner advised that the response would be submitted to the Panel in due course.


999 and 101 service update pdf icon PDF 394 KB

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1.    The Commissioner introduced his report and explained that although he had concerns about the service, particularly 101, he reassured Members that work was being done to improve the service.  There had been a substantial increase in the number of 999 calls coming into Kent Police, which had a knock-on effect on the 101 service.  The Commissioner confirmed that by definition 999 emergency calls were given priority over 101 non-emergency calls and there had been fluctuations in the number of 101 calls received.  The calls were also more complex, time consuming and demanding.  There had been no reduction in the number of staff working in the Force Control Room, however there had been issues with vacancies; control room staff were often successful in securing other roles within the organisation.  The service was also seeing an increasing number of mental health calls.


2.    The Commissioner confirmed that he held the Chief Constable to account both at 1 to 1 meetings and his Performance and Delivery Board.  Kent Police were also starting to see an increase in online reporting with 11% of crime reports being made online and 60% of road traffic collisions. 


3.    The Commissioner explained that with the support of the Panel, Kent Police were recruiting more people to work in the Force Control Room; not just filling vacancies, but an additional 40 members of staff specifically to answer phone calls and a further 20 in the Incident Management Unit.


4.    A Panel Member asked whether consideration had been given to have a dedicated team to deal with 101 calls rather than within the general call system.  The Commissioner explained that this, along with a number of other ideas to improve the process were currently being looked at by external consultants. 


5.    Members discussed the term ‘abandoned’ in relation to 999 calls (42,174 between April 17-March 18).  38% of 999 calls require an immediate response and 55% lead to an incident.  The failsafe was if Kent Police were unable to answer a 999 call another force would answer.  In response to a query about the term ‘abandoned’ Mr Harper confirmed that this was a national term which included accidental misdialling as well as a person phoning, saying help and hanging up; it was agreed that this term was not helpful. 


6.    In response to a question the Commissioner confirmed that he was satisfied with how people who repeatedly misuse the 999 system were being handled however he continued to hold the Chief Constable to account to improve the service.  With regards to repeat callers by example, the Commissioner said research had found that 17 people who needed support with their mental health were responsible for 5000 incidents in one part of the county alone over a 4 month period; there was now a dedicated mental health team in place to work with these individuals and others to determine why they were calling Kent Police repeatedly and assisting them.  He added that within the Force Control Room there was also the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 262.


Road traffic policing pdf icon PDF 333 KB

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1.    The Commissioner introduced this report, the subject of which was of great concern to the people of Kent.  Roads policing was one of the priorities set for the Chief Constable. 


2.    A Member commented on Operation Stack and the special circumstances in Kent with 40% of all UK exports going through Dover.  The Commissioner acknowledged the impact of Operation Stack and its effect on businesses in East Kent.  There would be challenges from March 2019 when Britain leaves the EU and the Commissioner had put forward representations to the Government that Kent needed to be considered as a special circumstance with additional money required for roads policing.  Of the 200 additional officers being recruited in 2018/19, a number will be going to the Roads Policing Unit.  Highways England were due to put forward their plans for lorry holding and there was a high level group within Kent Police, involving the Commissioner’s Office, looking at issues, opportunities and partnership working to ensure the best outcome for Kent following the UK’s departure from the EU.


3.    Members had positive feedback regarding speedwatch, there was a better relationship with speedwatch practitioners and Kent Police than in the past. The Commissioner would feed this back to the relevant officers.  In response to a question about whether speedwatch actually made people drive more slowly the Commissioner wondered whether running some pilots to capture additional information might be beneficial.


4.    In response to a question about the additional police officers in the Road Policing Unit and what they would be focussing on the Commissioner explained that there would be 7 additional officers focussing on casualty reduction in partnership with Kent Fire and Rescue Service, as well as others.  They would also be looking at ways in which enforcement and education could be used to reduce casualty numbers further.


5.    The Chairman thanked the Commissioner for his report.


6.    RESOLVED that the Panel note the Commissioner’s report on road traffic policing. 


Mental Health update

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1.    The Commissioner advised the Panel that substantial progress had been made during the last 6 months.  He welcomed the investment by the Chief Constable to increase the size of the Mental Health Team, with a further increase as part of the additional officer uplift in 2018/19.


2.    The Commissioner set out to Members the recipients of some of his funding, he had continued his commitment to the wellbeing centres in Tunbridge and Maidstone and would share more information with the panel at the next meeting in July. 


3.    The Commissioner had spent a week meeting teams within Kent Police to understand the challenges faced, nationally there was an independent review of the Mental Health Act and it was anticipated that this would raise issues for policing.  The results of the interim review were due to be published in May and once the interim recommendations were available there would be a number of working groups before the full report was published later in 2018. 


The Chairman thanked the Commissioner for his efforts in raising the profile of this subject, the Panel was grateful for his continuing updates. 


RESOLVED that the Commissioner’s mental health update be noted. 


Development of Ashford Police Station - Record of Decision pdf icon PDF 545 KB

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RESOLVED that the decision ref OPCC.D.018.18 – Development of Ashford Police Station be noted.


Permanent Appointment of Chief Executive - Record of Decision pdf icon PDF 467 KB

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RESOLVED that the decision ref OPCC.D.019.18 – Permanent appointment of Chief Executive be noted.



Future work programme pdf icon PDF 51 KB

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1.    Members requested that a report on 999 and 101 be brought back to the Committee once the recruitment of staff was in place, this should include comment on morale and health and wellbeing issues.


RESOLVED that Members note the future work programme.  


Panel SIG Update pdf icon PDF 56 KB

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RESOLVED that Members note the Panel SIG update. 


Questions to the Commissioner

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1.    Question 1:  Can the Commissioner tell the Panel what steps he takes to ensure that the Chief Constable is managing the fitness requirements for officers in an effective way and whether he is satisfied that absence levels in the Force are being managed effectively (Cllr Dearden)


2.    The Commissioner explained that there was a national requirement that all police officers had to pass a fitness test and then continued to be assessed as part of their role.  There was an annual process to ensure officers were fit for duty.  Officers and special constables got support and assistance to ensure they could keep up with requirements and the Chief Constable led circuit training classes.  The Force also offered an alternative test for those with a disability, if anyone was unable to pass the test a bespoke plan would be put in place to improve fitness, if fitness didn’t improve the force would consider invoking unsatisfactory performance procedures. 


3.    Regarding absence, the Commissioner received updates at his Performance and Delivery Board, the average days’ absence for officers had reduced slightly, but there had been a slight increase for police staff. There was also a self assessment tool ‘feel well live well’ 790 individuals took part in this. 


4.    Question 2:  Following the recent increase in incidents of knife crime in London, what action is the Commissioner taking to ensure that Kent police are well prepared to deal with any similar increase? (Cllr Hill)


5.    The Commissioner advised the Panel that knife crime and violent crime featured within the Police and Crime Plan for the Chief Constable to address.  This remained amongst the top priorities of people in Kent.  The Police were aware that when there was an issue in London there was a risk that it would impact on Kent.  The Commissioner mentioned Operation Raptor, violence was often linked to other crime such as drugs for example.  The Commissioner was responding proactively to the Government’s new Serious Violence Strategy.  A Violence Reduction Challenge had been set up to bring organisations together to come up with a local plan to deal with violence.  The Commissioner was keen to involve people with direct experience and was determined that this would be a challenge, not just another strategy. 


6.    Question 3:  Swale Borough Council was informed on 19 March 2018 by the Office of the PCC that any previously agreed roll-over of unspent/unallocated funds from 2017/18 could no longer be rolled forward and had to be spent or returned by the end of the financial year. This unexpected news in the last two weeks of the financial year resulted in a number of difficulties ensuring that remaining funding was spent to meet both the PCC’s and local priorities. This exacerbated frustrations experienced during the year resulting from in-year changes in the conditions of the grants, changes which may in part have resulted in the accumulation of underspent/unallocated funds resulting from delays in the commencement of a number of projects.

Can the Commissioner please explain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 269.


Minutes of the Commissioner's Performance and delivery Board meeting held on 7 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 338 KB

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RESOLVED that the Panel note the minutes of the Commissioner’s Performance and Delivery Board meeting held on 7 March 2018.