Agenda item

Questions to the Commissioner


1.    Mr Sandher:

Can the PCC provide an update on how many responses he has had to date with the consultation on the crime plan, the last I read there had been 800?  Are there any districts which are showing a low response to date, and if so what will he and the team be doing to increase the response rate if applicable?


The Commissioner explained that the majority of responses had been online.  The consultation document had been advertised on the PCC’s website and the Officers were doing their best to promote the consultation.  A youth forum event was taking place at which it would be promoted and the Commissioner was looking at ways to extend the reach of the consultation and was willing to consider any ideas Members had.


POST MEETING NOTE: A breakdown of responses is available here on KCC’s website.  


2.    Mr Sandher:

In light of the recent BBC 5 LIVE investigation report nationally about the use of strip searches by police forces, are you in a position to provide an update on what the figures are for Kent including figures on under 18? 


The Commissioner explained that the figures had not yet been verified however he was assured that they were very low with less than 10% strip searches.  Once the data was verified he would present it to the Panel.  For clarity the definition of a ‘strip search’ under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 is:  ‘a search involving removal of more than outer clothing… outer clothing includes shoes and socks’.  The Commissioner read out the safeguards in relation to use, which included:


-       the police officer carrying out must be same sex as detainee;

-       the search taking place in an area where detainee cannot be seen by anyone else, or member of opposite sex;

-       whenever involves exposure of intimate body parts, must be at least two people present other than detainee;

-       having proper regard to sensitivity and vulnerability of detainee, and every effort made to secure detainees cooperation and minimise embarrassment;

-       detainees not normally required to remove all clothes at the same time;

-       record made on custody record, including reason, those present and result.


3.    Cllr Gooch:

Of the 63 requests for Maidstone’s mobile camera deployment in 2015/16, 53 requests came from Kent Police in order to, for example, detect parcels being thrown over the wall at Maidstone Prison, criminal damage, drug issues. Mindful that CCTV evidence is useful for detecting and investigating crimes, saving the Police a considerable amount of time through guilty pleas, how far will the reduction in CCTV, whether static or mobile, impact on valuable police time? 


The Commissioner explained that partnerships were vital, the public and businesses benefited most from CCTV and it helped to protect the public from harm.  CCTV was one of the issues over which the PCC was contacted most frequently.  Kent Police were not in a position to provide a contribution to CCTV but they did fund the radio network which feeds into the Force Control Room. 


With regards to the impact on police time the Commissioner confirmed that he had considered the impact on police time and would urge operators to be mindful of the value provided by CCTV in the past. 


4.    Mr Latchford:

Following the Commissioner’s visits last week to a number of Parish Councils in Thanet (within my division) I understand that you undertook to look into the question of PCSOs and extending their powers. Can I ask what the current situation is please?


The Commissioner confirmed that he had made a commitment to reviewing the discretionary powers of the Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). There were currently 20 Standard Powers and 22 Discretionary Powers available to Chief Constables to delegate.  Kent’s PCSOs already had 10 of the discretionary powers and these were published on the PCC’s website.  The Commissioner would discuss further with the Chief Constable the powers of the PCSOs and would present a further report at a future meeting of the Panel.


RESOLVED that the Panel thank the Commissioner for providing answers to Member’s questions.