Agenda item

PCC Annual Report 2019/20


1.            The Commissioner began the summary of his report by paying tribute to the Panel for its rigorous scrutiny, his Office for producing the report as well as Police Officers, staff and volunteers for the physical sacrifices they had made in the last year.


2.            He noted that the report reflected two stark periods, both before and during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Commissioner confirmed that from January 2020 the Chief Constable and he had focused on multi-agency liaison in the event of a possible pandemic.


3.            The Commissioner confirmed that Officer recruitment had remained a priority during the 2019/20 financial year, with Officer numbers surpassing 2010 levels by the conclusion of the year, he noted further that the recruitment of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) had also continued.


4.            In outlining the changes in crime levels in Kent, the Commissioner highlighted the Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) crime data integrity audit as an important event nationally, with many areas witnessing increases in crime levels, he stated however that Kent had experienced a 5% fall in crime during 2019/20.


5.            The Commissioner explained to the Panel that he had commissioned a range of new projects, focusing on violence reduction he commended the work of the many charities which had delivered these projects and had engaged school children across the county in the process. In addition to this he outlined the new work untaken to support Kent’s youth citing the Medway Task Force as an effective multi-agency service.


6.            The Commissioner paid his respects to the families who had lost loved ones as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, those in recovery, the work of Kent Police Officers and staff and the overall cooperation of the people of Kent during the Covid-19 Lockdown.


7.            Members asked a range of questions in relation to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Annual Report. Key issues raised by the Panel and responded to by the Commissioner included the following:


·                     How had Kent Police acted on reports of anti-social behaviour to strengthen public trust concerning reporting low-level crime. The Commissioner confirmed that the creation of Task Forces in Margate, Medway and Maidstone had made multi-agency responses to anti-social behaviour more efficient and effective. He further highlighted the important work of newly created crime prevention PCSOs who worked with communities to improve anti-social behaviour prevention services.


·                     How had increased Officer and PCSO numbers translated into better service delivery, especially for those from vulnerable backgrounds. The Commissioner identified the newly formed vulnerability investigation team, which supported victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence as well as the strengthened Fraud and economic crime team and mental health team, as three examples of services made possible through increased Officer numbers.


·                     What had the greatest challenges been in holding Kent Police to account during the pandemic? The Commissioner stated that the greatest difficulty in holding the force to account had been balancing priorities and resources, tackling rural crime had been a key issue though the rural crime team had been bolstered to respond to this challenge.


·                     How could perceptions that anti-social behaviour was not a serious crime be changed? The Commissioner reassured the panel that anti-social behaviour would be taken more seriously with the increase in Officer and PCSO numbers in the community, stating that anti-social behaviour often escalated to become violent crime, as such improved Officer numbers and multi-agency Task Forces would stifle escalations.


·                     Following the success of multi-agency efforts in tackling anti-social behaviour could the Commissioner confirm that he would continue to invest in nights of actions and other similar projects? The Commissioner confirmed that he currently had no intent to end the partnership work currently undertaken to tackle anti-social behaviour.


·                     Had 101 response times continued to fall? The Commissioner confirmed that withstanding spikes around Christmas and parts of summer 101 response times had remained below 90 seconds.


·                     Would the Commissioner work with the criminal justice system to lobby for Police and Crime Commissioners to have greater criminal justice powers? The Commissioner informed the Panel that he had argued that Commissioners should have greater powers in relation to probation and rehabilitation, confirming that the Home Office had begun reviewing Police and Crime Commissioner powers. He invited the Panel’s involvement in the process and emphasised their importance should further powers be granted.

RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.

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