Agenda and minutes

Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel - Wednesday, 1st February, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone

Contact: Anna Taylor  03000 416478


No. Item


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

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No declarations were made.


Minutes of the Police and Crime Panel held on 6 December 2022 pdf icon PDF 304 KB

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RESOLVED that, subject to the removal of Mr Harper and Mr Phillips as attendees, the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2022 were an accurate record and that they be signed by the Chairman.


Draft refreshed Police and Crime Plan and 2023/24 precept proposal pdf icon PDF 301 KB

To consider the Police and Crime Commissioner’s draft refreshed ‘Making Kent Safer’ Police and Crime Plan; proposed precept for 2023/24; and supporting financial information. 

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1.    The Panel received a report which detailed the Commissioner’s refreshed ‘Making Kent Safer’ Police and Crime Plan and proposal to increase the policing precept in 2023/24 to £243.15 for an average Band D property, which represented an increase of £15 per year, or 6.57%, on the 2022/23 precept.


2.    The Commissioner introduced his refreshed Police and Crime Plan. He informed the Panel that his seven priorities for Kent Police, to: work with residents, communities and businesses to prevent crime and antisocial behaviour; tackle violence against women and girls; protect people from exploitation and abuse; combat organised crime and county lines; be visible and responsive to the needs of communities; prevent road danger and support Vision Zero; and protect young people and provide opportunities, remained unchanged. He noted that the priorities remained relevant and continued to have broad public support. It was explained that the minor amendments to the Plan took account of new national policing requirements. Concerning the results of his Annual Policing Survey, the Commissioner noted that the number of respondents was consistent with previous years, that 52% of respondents stated they were in favour of paying more council tax to support policing, and committed to closely monitor victim satisfaction, including through the new victim support contract which would commence in April 2023 and include an independent victim satisfaction survey. He compared crime statistics for 2022 with pre-pandemic (2018) performance, highlighting an 8% fall in crime. In relation to the tackling of county lines, he noted that previous precept increases had allowed for the formation of a dedicated team which had greatly reduced the number of active county lines in Kent from a high of 82 in July 2020 to below 40. The success of the mini cadet and senior cadet programme across the county were highlighted. The challenges for the coming year were addressed and included Force Control Room service levels and responding to the findings of the HMICFRS PEEL report.


3.    The Commissioner explained his precept proposal, confirming the proposed increase for 2023/24. He thanked the Panel for its engagement and assured Members that the requested level of information, especially on pressures and how funds would be spent to address performance challenges, were detailed in the report. He stated that an underspend was expected for the 2022/23 financial year and that the general reserve would remain at 3% of the net revenue budget, in line with the Chief Financial Officer’s general contingency strategy. The progress of building and digital transformation projects were addressed, with it noted that many of the former were on track to be finished by the end of the financial year and that the later had been completed. The successful funding bids made and monies received over the previous year, including Safer Streets funding, were highlighted. In relation to police officer recruitment, he assured Members that the force was on track to meet its March 2023 target, with February 2023 planned to be the largest intake on record. Regarding cost pressures he explained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 75.


Contacting Kent Police pdf icon PDF 462 KB

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1.    The Panel were presented with a report which provided a comprehensive summary of how best the public could contact Kent Police; the structure of the Force Control Room; emergency (999), non-emergency (101) and digital contact performance between 2019-2022; and the measures used by the Commissioner to hold the Chief Constable to account on performance.


2.    The Chair introduced the item and reminded Members that the report had been requested following continued monitoring of 101 call handling performance and concerns that further improvement was required to regain prior strong performance and provide the public with a responsive and reliable means of contacting Kent Police.


3.    The Commissioner gave a verbal overview of the report, which included coverage of the broad range of contact methods and trends. He encouraged the use of Crimestoppers, which was utilised by Kent Police. He explained that a significant recruitment drive was underway, which would directly lead to an increase in 101 call handlers and improved performance, with it noted that the latest intake had occurred 3 weeks prior to the meeting with further intakes to come. Concerning the posting of police officers into the Force Control Room, the Commissioner noted that 6-month deployments had been in place as a temporary measure and emphasised the benefits of the experience and skills exchange for Force Control Room staff as well as response teams and other officers working across the county which would improve force cohesion. It was added that supervisor ratios, exit interviews and shift patterns were under review. Regarding call attrition, which took account of unanswered calls, he explained that there had been a reduction from a peak of 59% in October 2022 to 16.25% in January 2023, with further work required to improve the force’s standing nationally. He reminded the Panel that he received weekly performance updates on the issue from the Chief Constable and had visited the Force Control Room on multiple occasions witnessing strong performance. 


4.    Following a question from a Member, the Commissioner explained that 999 should be used to report a crime in progress and agreed to clarify public messaging on the issue.


5.    In response to a question from a Member on the measures in place to ensure a positive working culture, the Commissioner noted that the Force Control Room had a Culture Board and that he had not been alerted to any cultural concerns. He reminded the Panel that staff in the Force Control Room were often the force’s first point of contact with the public and that morale, pay and retention were among his key considerations.


6.    Concerning Force Control Room vacancy levels, a Member asked what had caused the significant increase and whether staff were placed in division pods based on their local knowledge. The Commissioner explained that post-pandemic mass recruitment campaigns by many industries had been a major factor in the higher vacancy rate. He added that many staff also left to become police officers and emphasised the importance of a handover of expertise. He confirmed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.


Decision OPCC.D.032.23 - Kent Victim’s Advocacy and Support Service - Contract Award pdf icon PDF 244 KB

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RESOLVED to note the decision.


Questions to the Commissioner

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Question 1

The Prime Minister described David Carrick’s behaviour as a ‘truly sickening’ abuse of power and stated that the police ‘must address the failings of the case, restore public confidence and ensure the safety of women and girls’. The Home Secretary described  Carrick’s ‘sickening crimes’ being ‘a stain on the police’ and has asked all police forces to check police officers and staff against the national databases  to identify those who are not fit to serve in the police service.

Can the Commissioner inform the Panel as to what actions he is taking to hold the Chief Constable to account on addressing the failings of this case, restoring public confidence and ensuring the safety of women and girls?


(Mrs Elaine Bolton, Independent Member)


1.    The Commissioner responded to the question by condemning the sickening and totally unacceptable behaviour of David Carrick, commending the justice system for holding him to account for his crimes. He noted that vetting and standards remained challenges for policing and that he had discussed with the Chief Constable the measures Kent Police had and would be putting in place to ensure that processes were robust. He added that a report on vetting and standards would be presented to his Performance and Delivery Board. Regarding the measures at his disposal concerning disgraced officers, the Commissioner explained that he had the power to apply to forfeit the public funded portion of their pension, if their crime was committed whilst exercising their duties as a police officer. He agreed to provide the Panel with further information on vetting, standards and forfeiture at a future meeting.

Question 2

In his role in holding the Chief Constable to account can the Commissioner comment on victim and community feedback on investigations, charging, prosecuting and justice to help ensure that all those affected by crime or anti-social behaviour perceived crime have confidence in Kent Police and the justice system to deal with this in full?


(Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, Gravesham Borough Council)


2.    The Commissioner stated that ensuring that residents, especially those who had provided evidence, received adequate support, were effectively corresponded with and had confidence in the force were priorities. He reminded the Panel that Kent Police had a duty to comply with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime and gave assurance that he would be holding the Chief Constable to account on victim and community feedback at a forthcoming meeting of his Performance and Delivery Board.

RESOLVED to note the responses to the questions.



Future work programme pdf icon PDF 181 KB

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RESOLVED to note the report.