Agenda and minutes

Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel - Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Joel Cook / Anna Taylor  03000 416892 / 416478


No. Item


Declarations of Interests by Members in Items on the Agenda for this Meeting

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Cllrs Horton and Todd declared an interest as they were both in receipt of a Police pension.


Minutes of the Police and Crime Panel held on 14 November 2018 pdf icon PDF 112 KB

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1.            The Commissioner updated Members on the follow up items raised at the last meeting. 


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 14 November 2018 were a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.


Draft refreshed 'Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan' and Precept proposal for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 442 KB

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1.            The Commissioner introduced the refreshed ‘Safer in Kent Plan’ and set out the minor changes to the Plan. 


2.            The Plan covered the period 2017-21; there had been minor wording changes but the priorities and principles contained within the plan remained valid with strong ethics, integrity and honesty. 


3.            Members discussed the findings of the Annual Policing Survey, one member raised concerns that the plan and its minor amendments did not reflect the results of the public consultation.  The Member asked the commissioner whether he intended a major rewrite of the plan on its next review.  The Commissioner considered that the plan reflected what residents wanted to see action on, there was still a lot of misunderstanding about Police funding and it was hoped that the plan would improve future consultation responses and that people would feel like they were getting better value for money.   


4.            Referring to the question within the survey ‘Tell us one thing you think Kent Police could do better’ a Member suggested that the response ‘Recruit more police officers and/or deploy more visible patrols’ should be split into two, the Commissioner confirmed that he would consider this for future surveys. 


5.            In response to a question about what visible policing looked like in the modern world the Commissioner explained that the aim was for more police officers and PCSOs to be seen on the streets, including a greater number dedicated to town centres and local neighbourhoods. 


6.            In response to a comment about the types of crime Kent Police were dealing with the Commissioner explained that demands on policing had changed, there was an Investigation Management Unit dealing with investigations along with teams looking at specific areas such as Domestic Abuse to improve levels of service.  Where Members were aware of areas of poor service the Commissioner encouraged them to tell him so that he could ensure this was being looked at and if there were wider issues, he could hold the Chief Constable to account. 


7.            A Member raised crime prevention and diversion, asking what was available locally in terms of diversionary activities. The Commissioner explained that there was a commissioning strategy and he had given money to Community Safety Partnerships to enable them to make decisions about what was needed locally.  The Safer in Kent Fund funded local projects focusing on prevention and diversion.  Nationally, the Commissioner explained that during 2018 the Home Office had run an Early Intervention Youth Fund and that he hoped to be able to make an announcement next week about partnership work with the Home Office. 


8.            In response to a comment the Commissioner confirmed that burglary remained as one of his, and the Chief Constable’s priorities.  A Member congratulated the Commissioner on how policing was progressing in the county. 


9.            The Commissioner referred to the precept and thanked his team who had done an exceptional job in ensuring that the precept proposal was as accurate as possible.  He also thanked the Panel for their engagement at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 306.


Crime Data Integrity pdf icon PDF 363 KB

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1.            The Commissioner introduced the Crime Data Integrity report which updated Members on the most recent re-inspection by HMICFRS. 


2.            The Commissioner explained that based on crime reports examined for the period 1 April to 30 June 2018, HMICFRS rated Kent Police as ‘Outstanding’, estimating that it records 96.6% - the highest of any police force in the country. Importantly, more victims were having their crimes recorded, and as a result were receiving an improved service and being offered additional support via the commissioned Victim Support service. HMICFRS also found that all recommendations made in their previous report had been completed.


3.            HMICFRS identified some minor areas which still needed to be addressed and will continue to monitor progress; Kent Police, as with all forces, may be subject to another unannounced inspection at any time. The Commissioner advised that he would continue to receive updates from the Chief Constable at their weekly meetings and the Performance and Delivery Board. 


4.            The Chairman congratulated the Commissioner and the Force on the good news and their swift and effective action. 


RESOLVED that the Commissioner and Kent Police be congratulated on the excellent inspection report received from HMICFRS.


Mental Health - verbal update

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1.            The Commissioner gave the Panel an update regarding Police involvement in mental health issues.  He was grateful to the Panel for their continued interest in the mental health agenda. 


2.            The Commissioner had commissioned Victim Support to better understand how people with mental health issues were supported through the criminal justice system and the findings and recommendations of this work were scheduled to be available in March with a report in May. 


3.            In December the Commissioner had attended the launch of the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act.  The recommendations that the Commissioner made to the review had been incorporated, one pertinent recommendation was that police cells should no longer be used as a place of safety for anyone, by 2023/24.  The preferred place of safety was defined as a health-based place of safety or a S136 suite. 


4.            Following a review of the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat governance arrangements it had been agreed that the current Commissioner chaired Mental Health and Policing Oversight Board would be refreshed to become the strategic decision-making body for Kent and Medway.    


5.            The Commissioner offered congratulations to Sevenoaks District Council on the opening of their Mental Health Crisis drop in centre.  The Commissioner had also chaired a mental health roundtable attended by a range of stakeholders, including the National Police Chiefs Council and National Fire Chiefs Council to discuss work across the country.


6.            A Member commented that mental health was not mentioned anywhere in the public survey.  Was there a variance between the effect of mental health issues and public perception?  The Commissioner explained that there was not enough public awareness of how much police time was spent tackling mental health.  In raising awareness, the Commissioner aimed to inform people to phone the crisis team or 101 rather than come to the police.


7.              Members discussed the use of the Armed Services Covenant Champion, and the mental health of veterans.  The Commissioner explained that when veterans came to the attention of the police it was sometimes through police custody.  Kent Police had an agreement with SSAFA, a charity which supported members of the armed forces.  If someone was identified as a veteran, they would have the support of the charity and a dedicated case worker.  There was further collaboration which could be looked at with the network of armed forces champions and the OPCC role in policing and the Mental Health Oversight Board. 


8.            A Member asked whether police officers were reporting increased mental health problems as a result of the pressure they were under.  The Commissioner confirmed that PTSD, stress, depression and anxiety were all issues; in the last 5 years, 4 out of 5 officers had taken time off for mental health rather than physical health reasons. 


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


Brexit - verbal update

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1.            The Commissioner provided the Panel with an update on preparations for leaving the EU.  The Commissioner received regular updates from the Assistant Chief Constable and the Chief Constable about local progression, particularly around roads and the OPCC was also represented at some of the local meetings.  The OPCC engaged with KCC and DDC regarding the Brexit Task Force and the Commissioner had visited the Calais border.  Some additional funding had been secured, £850k had been received to pay for costs incurred for contingency planning.  The key principle was that the Government was willing to ensure that Kent Police and Kent Council Tax payers were not left out of pocket over the decision to leave the EU. 


2.            The Commissioner was working nationally, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners had established a cross party Brexit working group which had met with the Home Secretary.


3.            A Member asked about plans for coping with the number of domestic cars travelling through the channel tunnel and on the M20.  The Commissioner explained that there had been work done to determine issues around heavy goods vehicles coming into the county.  He was not aware that there was a substantial issue regarding domestic vehicles, but he would look into this, particularly with reference to the Channel Tunnel link. 


4.            Members referred to the huge resource required if vehicles had to be moved around the county, the Commissioner explained that those considerations had been put into the operational plans and advised that any request for mutual aid from other police forces, if required, would be managed by the National Police Coordination Centre. 


5.            The Chairman summarised and stressed the importance of partners working together post Brexit. 


RESOLVED that the Panel note the Commissioner’s Brexit verbal update. 


Panel Annual Report pdf icon PDF 63 KB

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1.            A Member commented that the informal meeting held in 2018 to review the effectiveness of the Panel was useful and it was hoped that this would be repeated. 


RESOLVED that the Panel’s Annual Report be approved.


Future work programme pdf icon PDF 44 KB

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RESOLVED that the Panel note the future work programme.