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14:00 - 14:45
Danielle Bride (Assistant Director (North and West Kent) for Adolescent Services, Open Access and Head of Youth Offending) and Louise Fisher (Head of Service (0-25), Children, Young People and Education) PDF 252 KB
Dan Bride (Assistant Director for Adolescent Services, Open Access and Head of Youth Offending) and Louise Fisher (Head of Service (0-25), Children Young People and Education - South), KCC were in attendance for this item
(1) The Chair welcomed the guests and thanked them for the information they had shared in advance of the meeting. The Chair invited them to give their presentation. Salient points from the meeting were:
· Definitions of knife crime, with the most common offense being for “possession”.
· There had been a decrease year on year for three years for knife related offences (by young people) in Kent.
· Frequency of knife offences – 243 young people had one knife related offence (between April 2016 – March 2019), reducing to one young person with six offences.
· The highest proportion of youth offences in knife crime (in Kent) were committed by white males from Kent.
· The number of first-time entrants into the Youth Justice System had declined since 2014/15.
· Reoffending rates in Kent were below the national average and in most cases those counties with similar demographics.
· Motivations for carrying a knife included self-protection, self-presentation and to a lesser degree utility (i.e. the person aimed to commit an offence).
· There was a stronger link between knife crime and gangs in London than in Kent.
· The Youth Offending Team used evidence of what worked in order to prevent young people getting involved in knife crime.
· Examples of national initiatives, including the opportunities presented by the Youth Endowment Fund.
· The restructured Adolescents, Open Access and PIAS Service in Kent would allow a core offer of support to those young people needing it.
· All of Kent’s activities in relation to youth offending were in partnership with Health, the Police and Crime Commissioner and District Councils.
(2) Members thanked Ms Bride and Ms Fisher for their presentation.
(3) Members requested a heat map of Kent showing where offences were committed. This would allow them to understand where areas of concern were. The map, to be shared at the wash-up session, should include:
· Demographic information about those committing the offences;
· Ethnicity, and if possible, nationality of offenders;
· The data over a number of years.
(4) In addition, a Member asked for data on school exclusion rates in relation to those committing offences.
(5) Members questioned the impact of gangs in Kent. North Kent was more likely to be affected by London gangs and links to Serious Organised Crime. Their presence can lead to young people carrying, and being the victims of, knife crime.
(6) Members asked if there was consistency across Kent districts of reducing youth offending. Officers explained there was a Scorecard produced that demonstrated performance, but also assured Members that all services were robustly performance managed with areas of concern looked into straight away.
(7) In relation to the Youth Endowment Fund, officers explained that the Local Authority were working alongside the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner to design a collaborative bid for extra funding.
(8) The Committee discussed the services available ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
15:00 - 15:45
Mr Roger Gough (Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education), Danielle Bride (Assistant Director (North and West Kent) for Adolescent Services, Open Access and Head of Youth Offending) and Louise Fisher (Head of Service (0-25), Children, Young People and Education) PDF 195 KB
Dan Bride (Assistant Director for Adolescent Services, Open Access and Head of Youth Offending), Louise Fisher (Head of Service (0-25), Children Young People and Education - South), and Roger Gough (Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education) KCC were in attendance for this item
(1) Mr Gough welcomed the focus of the Select Committee, which not only reflected the national picture but also consistent with the reshaping of in-house services that had been underway. The Adolescents, Open Access and PIAS Service in Kent County Council had been underway for a few months, and had seen the merger of Youth Services, Alternative Provision, Attendance and Behaviour, Inclusion Services and Youth Justice. He spoke of successful projects in Kent, such as the “Supporting Families against Youth Crime” which would see the implementation of a new toolkit at the end of a two year grant funded project. Overall, he felt that KCC had not seen the large spike in knife crime that other areas had but agreed the Council could not be complacent and would continue to work to safeguard young people.
(2) The Committee questioned the reasons behind young people committing knife crime. Mr Gough referred Members to the earlier presentation and recognised that young people could be both the victim and perpetrator of knife crime. There were multiple risk factors, and the starting point could often be traced back to a significant and prolonged childhood trauma. Ms Fisher referred to the Adolescents, Open Access and PIAS Service and how part of their remit was to understand those characteristics and support those young people that may be vulnerable to becoming an offender.
(3) In response to a question about partnership working, Ms Bride spoke to the importance and success of multi-agency panels where individual cases of vulnerable young people were discussed. The partnership was instrumental in allowing agencies to share information, along with successful projects. However, the performance of those panels was not consistent across Kent, so the processes were under review.
(4) Ms Fisher expanded that partnership working involved schools as well. A purely preventative model for reducing knife crime involved working with schools and academies, such as inclusion in PHSE classes. That partnership was a work in progress due to the sheer number of schools in Kent and the changing relationships due to the increase in the number of academies.
(5) Building on the importance of school attendance, a Member questioned the link between school exclusions and criminality, and the extent to which a restriction in the Local Authority’s powers in that area had an impact. Mr Gough agreed that in his opinion, the Council should have more powers in relation to school exclusions. However, there had been improvement in the quality of the information shared by schools, and the new Ofsted framework also had a focus on off-rolling.
(6) Asked about the reduction in the Youth Services budget over recent years, Mr Gough did not accept that the service was failing. He accepted it had reduced but argued ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
16:00 - 16:45
Mr Michael Hill, OBE (Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services) and Shafick Peerbux (Head of Community Safety, Public Protection Service) were in attendance for this item.
1) Paul Barrington-King: Welcomed Mike Hill and Shafick Peerbux to the Committee and invited them to make their opening remarks.
2) Mike Hill: Commended the idea of knife crime as a topic for a select committee as it was a matter of enormous importance. He outlined his role in relation to having the Cabinet portfolio for community safety and public protection. He was the Cabinet link to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Kent Police). He was Chair of the Police and Crime Panel (PCP) and the Kent Community Safety Partnership (KCSP).
3) Shafick Peerbux: Spoke to a presentation. He explained he had been the head of service for community safety at Kent County Council (KCC) for four years and had worked with or for the police in one form or another for nearly twenty years. His remit covered two areas. The first was the joint multi-agency Kent Community Safety Team (KCST). This supported local Community Safety Units (CSUs), promoting consistency of practice, facilitating joint working and sharing best practice. The second area was that he headed up the community warden service at KCC. The first area was his focus, considering the role of partnerships in how problems are addressed.
4) He explained that the safeguarding boards played an important role in safeguarding people from exploitation. The role of the KCSP at county level was set by legislation and so was different to local Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs). The key functions the KCSP undertook was leading and coordinating between agencies, facilitating cross-county coordination on issues. It also oversaw the production of a statutory strategy (Community Safety Agreement – CSA). It also commissioned Domestic Homicide Reviews, but that was less key to the subject under discussion.
5) The CSA was a key document that brought local CSPs priorities together alongside the statutory partners. It was supplemented by a county level analysis utilising police methodology. Partner plans were also considered, and due regard is paid to the PCC’s Safer in Kent Plan. The Partnership had to be mindful of changes in legislation, and undertakes horizon scanning and PEST analyses. There had been a recent consultation by the Government around a new legal duty around serious violence and multi-agency action. The proposals indicated that the new legal duty would either be given to the KCC, police and other responsible authorities or CSPs.
6) District priorities are mapped, with the last assessments being prior to December. These informed the local community safety plans and fed into the community safety agreement. Knife crime was not explicitly mentioned but was covered in wider categories as serious and organised crime and safeguarding vulnerable people. Two-thirds of the district’s had priorities that covered both and just over half referenced violence in one form or another. All agreed that early intervention and prevention is key to the work.
7) Moving onto ... view the full minutes text for item 6.