Agenda and minutes

Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel - Tuesday, 24th September, 2019 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Joel Cook / Anna Taylor  03000 416892 / 416478


No. Item



To note the following changes to Panel Membership


Cllr Ashley Clark has been appointed to the Panel for Canterbury City Council.


Cllr Richard Palmer has been appointed to the Panel for Swale Borough Council.


Cllr Alan Currie has been appointed to the Panel as a co-opted member. 

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1.    The Chairman advised the Committee that Cllr Clark, Cllr Palmer and Cllr Currie had been appointed to the Panel and welcomed them. 


RESOLVED that the Membership changes be noted. 


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

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1.    Cllr Mochrie-Cox declared an interest as an employee of Kent County Council.   


Minutes of the Police and Crime Panel held on 12 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 June 2019 were a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman. 


1.            In matters arising Cllr Clark referred to the additional officers being recruited and trained; the Commissioner confirmed that there had not been any slippage from the statements in the minutes.  The new recruits were out in local policing teams, including response, and the Chief Constable had also expanded and created new teams which local communities were starting to see the benefits of, including the Chief Constable’s Crime squad, the doubling in size of the rural policing team and an increase in the roads policing team.  There had been a positive start but there was still work to be done.  The Commissioner had been pleased with the Panel’s support for the additional 180 officers. 


2.            Cllr Clark also referred to call handling and his concerns about the information provided on recorded messages which he considered to be inaccurate.  The Commissioner confirmed that he would look into this and, if appropriate, ask that it be rectified. 


Police Officer Recruitment - Update pdf icon PDF 288 KB

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1.            The Commissioner explained that Kent was the highest recruiting police force anywhere in the country last year.  It was now becoming clear the deployment was starting to deliver results for local communities.  There was a desire to have a police force that was reflective of the communities it served.  There was a large amount of effort going into engaging with all communities to highlight opportunities within policing.


2.            In relation to the deployment of this year’s recruits and their impact; once their initial training was completed officers would go out into local policing teams, responding to calls and engaging with victims of crime, but they also provided the Chief Constable with capacity to increase the size of teams and create new teams in order to address some of the challenges. Referencing the recruitment and training of additional Town Centre officers, the Commissioner advised their deployment was based on analysis of demand, including levels of crime and ASB.


3.            The Commissioner referred to positive criminal justice outcomes, this was moving in the right direction with regards to community outcomes.  Where officers were deployed was determined on the basis of need, they were still a limited resource.  The increase in officers represented a substantial investment by the Kent Council Taxpayer alongside the savings made to maximise the amount of money going into front line policing.  The Commissioner offered congratulations to Kent Police’s recruitment team, they had done a tremendous job delivering 291 extra officers last year, and boosting the number of applications received.  The Commissioner referred to the stated ambition for 20,000 more officers across UK, he assured Members that he would lobby hard for Kent to receive its fair share. There was uncertainty around when forces would know the finer detail, the Commissioner was aware that there would be a funding announcement soon and he would ensure that the Panel was made aware of the allocation. 


4.               Cllr Gideon commented that it was positive to hear that diversity statistics for Kent were ahead of the national benchmark.  She asked whether the diversity agenda played a role in who goes where.  The Commissioner confirmed that the force worked hard on encouraging people progression and this information was available publicly.  The Commissioner confirmed that when a new team was created applications from all officers were invited and followed by an assessment to determine who would be best in each role.  There was extensive support available to people looking for promotion and lateral transfers. 


5.            Cllr Clark congratulated the Commissioner on progress with regards to getting the numbers of police officers back to those of 2010.   He raised a concern over whether there was a high turnover of officers and a large loss of experienced officers.  He was also conscious that if the force was training a large number of officers there was a need for a large number of trainers.  The PCC explained that the biggest source of officers leaving was retirement, but sometimes those officers were retained as police staff.  Officers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 328.


Victim Satisfaction & Community Engagement pdf icon PDF 296 KB

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1.         The Commissioner explained that the measurement of victim satisfaction in Kent had been mixed but the Chief Constable was asked to report back on the key areas of Hate Crime, Rape and Domestic Abuse.  It had been suggested that the survey be extended to include other crime types and the statistics were being presented at every Performance and Delivery Board to allow progress to be tracked. 


2.         The commissioned charity Victim Support also measured the level of victim satisfaction with the service provided. 


3.         In terms of community engagement, the force was asked to provide information about different types of community engagement, these areas were not always consistent, and the Commissioner highlighted Parish Council meetings as an example.  The Commissioner met every 6 months with the district chairs of Kent Association of Local Councils.  The Force was looking at ways in which it could engage with local communities, it was considered that social media was a mixed experience. 


4.         Elaine Bolton asked how the Commissioner held the Chief Constable to account on the key themes around dissatisfaction and how he ensured that these were addressed.  The Commissioner confirmed that he had asked the Chief Constable about the reasons for people being dissatisfied and how the Force could learn from such comments.  People were sometimes unhappy with the outcome of their case, the Force would continue to monitor this and it was considered that there was room for improvement.  Victim satisfaction would be discussed at the Performance and Delivery Board on 25 September. 


5.         The Vice-Chairman asked about hate crime and whether it would be possible to look into satisfaction levels further, particularly individuals with English as a second language.  In addition, regarding social media, a report had just been finalised following engagement with young people, looking at how Kent Police used social media, it was considered that twitter was used by professional classes, people on the street used Facebook and Instagram more regularly.  The Commissioner confirmed that the longer term hate crime satisfaction figures would be circulated to Panel Members.   He agreed with the comments about social media and that it was essential to diversify when it came to using effectively. 


6.         Mr Rhodes asked whether the Commissioner was content with the surveys being conducted over the telephone by staff within the Research Bureau and whether face to face was more appropriate?  The Commissioner considered that this may be more beneficial, but there was a need to manage the volume of surveys against resources available. 


7.         Mr Palmer raised the issue of low level crime, and he asked for an assurance that this was being taken seriously by the Chief Constable.  The Commissioner confirmed that progress was being made in terms of increasing local policing teams and the crime squad.  The Police prioritise demand based on threat, harm and risk, but the Chief Constable’s message is to provide a quality service and put victims and witnesses at the heart of everything the force does.


8.         Cllr Mochrie-Cox welcomed the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 329.


Violence Reduction - Update pdf icon PDF 292 KB

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1.         The Commissioner explained that this update was around work which had been taking place for a long time, it pre-dated the Government’s Serious Violence Strategy to tackle gun crime, knife crime and homicide.  Kent faced a number of challenges including proximity to London and the continent.  The Violence Reduction Challenge was set up to take a look at how it was possible to work better together as partners to tackle violent crime.  The Commissioner outlined some of the main points from his report to the Panel. 


2.         Cllr Palmer asked about the effect of a reduction in Youth Services, and how local councils could support the Commissioner and the Police.  The Commissioner agreed that policing was not the only response to violent crime; it had to be a partnership of all agencies to prevent it happening in the first place.  The Commissioner referenced adverse childhood experiences, that children witnessing violence were more likely to become perpetrators of violence.  Referring to stop and search the Commissioner explained that typically in around 17-18% something was found or an arrest took place, adding that they were conducted based on intelligence.  The Chairman referred to the report of the Select Committee on knife crime which would set out areas on which the County Council could focus. 


3.         Ms Hamilton referred to young people and how they could be supported to prevent them being pulled back into gangs once they had been through the criminal justice system.  She also raised the links with British Transport Police (BTP) and whether these were improving to prevent county line networks from travelling.  The Commissioner confirmed that he would raise the points from Ms Hamilton about local police with the Chief Constable, BTP was a key partner in tackling crime and ASB.  Joint operations were carried out and with regards to rural areas, there was a need for a consistent approach and he acknowledged that rural areas did feel more isolated.  Regarding gangs, the Commissioner referred to a number of different projects and the importance of the partnership between the police and local authorities and the tremendous work of the prison service which was key. 


4.         Cllr Mochrie-Cox asked for an assurance that intelligence led referred to qualitative research led evidence.  The Commissioner agreed with this point, he would not want policing to be statistic led, but he did wish to build a problem profile, informing about individuals and communities that the Force needed to work with, this included trauma informed work and it was hoped that the Violence Reduction Unit would take this work further.  


5.         The Vice-Chairman referred to the stop and search scrutiny panel, he considered it may be worth the Commissioner sitting down with the groups in the community doing the day to day activity, for example groups working with communities during black history month. 


6.         In response to a question from Cllr Clark the Commissioner confirmed that stop and search had not fallen, if anything it had increased.  It was an important  ...  view the full minutes text for item 330.


Mental Health - Verbal Update

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1.         The Commissioner referenced the Performance and Delivery Board papers which showed a month on month increase in the number of people detained under the S136 Mental Health Act.  Following a review of the County’s Crisis Care Concordat arrangements the PCC now chaired the strategic decision-making body for Kent and Medway, with a number of partners represented.  The board met on 10 July and the Terms of Reference were agreed.  There was a discussion around repeat presenters and the boards developing an action plan.  This was in addition to work being done in the Force Control Room around repeat presenters.  The board was due to meet again in October.


2.         In terms of National work, if an individual is detained under S136 they are more likely to be conveyed by the Police than the Health Service, this needed to change.  The Commissioner represented PCCs on a national working group and joined up conversations were being had at a national and local level.   


3.         There was due to be a further update at the Performance and Delivery Board on 25 September 2019. 


RESOLVED that the Panel note the Commissioner’s update on Mental Health and request that this continue as a standing item on the agenda. 


Questions to the Commissioner

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Q1:  In light of the Commissioner’s priority, within his Safer in Kent Plan, for the Chief Constable to provide visible neighbourhood policing can the Commissioner confirm what has been done to increase funding for Community Policing Teams?  Could the Commissioner please include in his answer:

-               Whether a more visible Police presence can be obtained by using civilians to free up officer time?

-               Whether there has been any analysis of the cost of employing additional civilian staff vs the increased time “on the beat”?

-               Whether there is any analysis that shows that having staff out in the community is effective at reducing crime, or does it just give the public peace of mind?

(Mark Rhodes)


1.            The Commissioner explained that in talking about civilian staff he was referring to PCSOs, and other staff roles including call handlers, IMU officers and civilian crime investigators. 


2.            With regards to increasing funding for community policing teams, out of the extra 200 police officers 50 went directly into community and local policing teams, community policing also increased more broadly by boosting the number of rural policing officers and also creating a road safety team. 


3.            The number of PCSOs had been increased from their levels in 2016 and new crime prevention PCSOs were being trialled, more investment was going into community policing through a mixture of police officers and police staff. 


4.            The commissioner was not aware of any bespoke analysis, however there had been work done by the association of PCCs and the National Police Chief’s Council on different methods of crime reduction and visibility which formed part of their bid to the treasury and included the use of officers and staff in order to support local communities.


Q2:  Where there appears to be known drug dealers openly dealing in the district, being seen in the community and causing nuisance and ASB, could the Commissioner reassure the Panel that appropriate measures are being taken to hold the Chief Constable to account for delivering the Safer in Kent Plan as part of an effective and efficient Force, which includes supporting the fight against drug trafficking and misuse of illegal substances?  (Jenny Hollingsbee)


5.             The Commissioner offered reassurance that this had been raised with the Chief Constable and Assistant Chief Constable, where trends were identified action would be taken.  The Commissioner was waiting to hear more about the efforts going in to tackling these issues through more local policing.  At the Performance & Delivery Board (25 Sept) the Commissioner had given notice that he would ask the Chief Constable about Force action to tackle drug dealing in local communities.


6.            The Commissioner gave some examples of where work had been going on to tackle drug related activity.


Q3:  Could the Commissioner please confirm that he is satisfied with the Chief Constables preparations and plans for coordinating actions in Kent, particularly Ashford Borough, in response to traffic management and other issues in the event of a no deal Brexit. (Jo Gideon)


7.            The Commissioner  ...  view the full minutes text for item 332.


Future work programme pdf icon PDF 98 KB

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RESOLVED that the future work programme be noted.


Minutes of the Commissioner's Performance and Delivery Board meeting held on 5 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 443 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the Performance and Delivery Board held on 5 June 2019 be noted.  </AI9>