Agenda and minutes

Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel - Tuesday, 17th October, 2023 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Anna Taylor  03000 416478


No. Item


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

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Mr Meade declared that he was the Chairman of Gravesham Pastors Charity. 


Minutes of the Police and Crime Panel held on 27 June 2023 pdf icon PDF 235 KB

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The Chair raised some typographical errors in the minutes, and it was confirmed these amendments would be made.

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 27 June 2023 were an accurate record and that they be signed by the Chairman.


Complaints Against the Commissioner - Annual Report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

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1.    Mrs Taylor introduced the report and highlighted that the number of complaints received was low compared to other local authorities, and although the number had increased in 2022/23 this was largely due to repeated complaints that represented no overall concern.

2.    Members did not have any comments or questions on the report.

RESOLVED to note the report.


Police and Crime Commissioner Annual Report pdf icon PDF 158 KB

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1.    The Commissioner introduced the report and explained that it was a statutory function to produce an annual paper. This report covered the period between April 2022 and March 2023 and covered a year of substantial activity, for which he thanked officers within his office and the Panel. He highlighted the changes which had occurred during this period, which included the appointment of a new Chief Constable, who he felt had improved overall performance within the police force and was continuing to work on issues such as within the Force Control Room (FCR). There had also been several national projects undertaken such as the Police Uplift Programme which had seen Kent successfully recruit the 487 new police officers it had been allocated, bringing the total number of police officers to 4203, including 460 that were recruited prior to the national programme. This meant Kent now had an extra 1000 officers compared to six years ago, although retention remained an issue. He outlined that the next step was to increase the number of police staff.

2.    The Commissioner highlighted the main areas within the report which were:

a.    The commissioning element, which included commissioning programmes for victims. For example:

1.    Funding for victims had increased by 93% (from £2million to almost £4million) which included sexual abuse and domestic abuse advisers who were now in post supporting both men and women.

2.    The Victim Voice campaign which had launched in February 2023 and worked to ensure victims understood their rights and right to review. Thousands of victims had used this service and feedback was positive overall.

3.    The Victim Support Contract had formalised the Stalking Advocate and Hate Crime Advocate roles.

4.    The PCC had recommissioned the Restorative Justice programme.

5.    The Collaborate Digital programme had been launched which went into schools to teach children about online behaviour and healthy relationships.

b.    The ongoing partnerships between the PCC and other organisations. These partnerships helped launch the Safer Streets programme, which had run until September 2023, and expanded CCTV across the county, engaged an active bystander’s programme and improved street lighting. The Commissioner was also the Chairman of the Criminal Justice Board and worked closely with the Violence Reduction Unit.

c.     Holding the Chief Constable to account and ensuring a good relationship. The Commissioner had focussed on holding the Chief Constable to account on the following issues:

1.    Public contact, including the call attrition rate for 101, which had dropped from 55% in 2022 to 5% in 2023.

2.    Mental health support, including the Right Care, Right Person scheme and response policing.

3.    The Neighbourhood Policing Review; whilst he regretted the loss of a number of PCSO’s, he said the outcome was positive with police officers going into neighbourhood roles. The Commissioner advised he had held the Chief Constable to account and would continue to monitor in the 2023/24 reporting year.

4.    The criminal justice system and ensuring that Kent improved the quality of casefiles submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

d.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 103.


Contacting Kent Police pdf icon PDF 386 KB

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1.    The Commissioner introduced the report and stated that it had previously been requested by the Panel due to the issues that had been faced by Kent Police over the past year. The report detailed the progress that had been made to recruit to the Force Control Room to answer 999 and 101 calls, and detailed the task given to the Chief Constable in 2022 to provide an explanation on the high rates of call attrition. The Commissioner explained that the demand on the Force Control Room (FCR) and the high vacancy rate had meant that 999 calls were prioritised over 101, leading to a call attrition rate of 55% in October 2022. In February and March 2023, the force had begun an over-recruitment process and redeployed police officers to the FCR. This had led to a reduction in call attrition in 2023/24 compared to 2022/23, although this would continue to be monitored. The Commissioner highlighted that digital contact with the public remained important, including the live chat function and contact us forms.

2.    The Commissioner highlighted that front counters would remain an important point of contact, and four vacancies had already been filled to ensure front counters were re-opened.

3.    The Chair felt that a 2% national benchmark for call attrition rates was high, and asked if Kent Police could do better than this benchmark. The Commissioner confirmed that Kent Police would target a lower benchmark figure.

4.    A Member questioned if the automated 101 response would be updated. A concern was raised that the automated message was longer than 90 seconds, which was the target response time, which meant people were often waiting 180 seconds. The Commissioner confirmed that the Chief Superintendent had reviewed the automated response and felt that encouraging people to use digital services was an important message. He confirmed that the call waiting time began when the automated response was finished and the phone started ringing.

5.    A question was asked regarding implementing a system for residents to be able to track police officers, similar to how delivery drivers and food delivery drivers were tracked. The Commissioner stated that Kent Police were beginning to engage with a national solution to implement a new technology to track the location of police officers, similar to delivery drivers.

6.    The Vice-Chair questioned how the police followed up with victims after a crime, and how this was measured. The Commissioner explained that the Home Office set expectations on the timeliness and quality of follow up for victims, and this was monitored independently. The PCC could access the performance dashboard to hold the Chief Constable to account over follow-ups with victims and to promote victims’ rights and the right of review, for example Victim Voice which would be distributed to the Panel after the meeting.

7.    A Member raised a concern with the live-chat function and sought assurance that this did not overwhelm officers within the Force Control Room. The Commissioner confirmed that the live chat function was additionality and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 104.


Decision OPCC.D.034.23 - PFI North Kent Police Station pdf icon PDF 200 KB

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1.    The Chair felt concerned regarding the legality and legal processes surrounding the decision. The Commissioner confirmed that independent legal advice and counsel had been sought before undertaking the decision. A report would be brought before the Panel once the matter had been concluded, for the Panel to scrutinise.

RESOLVED to note the decision. 


Decision OPCC.D.033.23 - Sale of IP Addresses pdf icon PDF 239 KB

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1.    The Commissioner thanked the OPCC for their work on this project, as proper process had been followed and money had been generated from the sale for capital funding.


RESOLVED to note the decision.


Questions to the Commissioner pdf icon PDF 173 KB

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Question 1

An officer in Folkestone told me recently that while the force locally is carrying out more recruitment than it has in years, the real issue is retention. Does the Commissioner recognise this as a particular challenge and, if so, what plans or measures are in place to address the problem of losing officers and the experience they take with them.

(Cllr Mike Blakemore, Folkestone and Hythe District Council)

1.    The Commissioner stated that retention of police officers was important locally and nationally, as forces did not want to lose skills and experience. The Performance and Delivery Board had recently discussed this issue, the minutes of which were available online. Kent Police worked to retain police officers by increasing the South East Allowance to the maximum £3000; providing them with new equipment; and lobbying the government on their behalf on changes to legislation to make the job less difficult, such as response driving and firearms policing. The force also supported officers on their decisions, such as using stop and search powers proportionately. Policies were also in place to help retain staff such as mutual exchange postings, a financial wellbeing hub, the Develop You programme, retention ambassadors, and occupational health facilities.

Question 2

In his role in holding the Chief Constable to account and following statements by the Home Secretary recently which said police should ‘follow every reasonable line of inquiry’ can the Commissioner reassure the Panel that where in areas where CCTV services are provided by local authorities (or indeed by private holders) where crime or suspected crime is committed, the information, images and data captured are fully and 100% utilised as part of the investigative process by Kent Police for each and every report of a crime or incident as part of the commitment and requirement to investigate each and every crime and indeed there is proactive engagement between Kent Police and CCTV systems provided by local authorities to ensure that crimes are proactively investigated and action taken by Kent Police.

(Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, Gravesham Borough Council)

2.    In response to the question, the Commissioner explained that authorised professional practice guidelines had recently been updated by the Home Office but depended on the circumstances of the case. It advised that police officers should identify CCTV near the location of a crime, including local authority or on private property. Police officers would then try to make links between CCTV through a digital ambassador programme, which would remove issues of collecting DVD or video CCTV evidence. 


Question 3

Can the Commissioner explain how he is holding the Chief Constable to account for the priority ‘protecting people from exploitation and abuse’ and the safeguarding of domestic abuse victims in particular?


(Cllr Richard Palmer, Swale Borough Council)


3.    In response to the question, the Commissioner explained that protecting people from abuse was one of Kent Police’s priorities. It remained a standing item on the Performance and Delivery Board agenda and the Chief Constable reported regularly on the priority. The PCC regularly visited  ...  view the full minutes text for item 107.


Future work programme pdf icon PDF 175 KB

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It was confirmed that the commissioning report would not be presented in February 2024, but the PCC would provide a verbal update at the Chief Constable briefing in November.

RESOLVED to note the report.


Minutes of the Commissioner's Performance and Delivery Board meeting held on 7 June 2023 pdf icon PDF 346 KB

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RESOLVED that the minutes of the Performance and Delivery Board held on 7 June 2023 be noted.