Agenda and draft minutes

Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel - Thursday 20 June 2024 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 2, Shire Hall. View directions

Contact: John Cole  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chair

To appoint a Chair of the Police and Crime Panel for the 2024/25 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Derek Poole nominated Mr Andy Davis to serve as Chair for the coming year. Councillor David Humphreys seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations and Mr Andy Davis was elected unanimously as Chair to the Police and Crime Panel for 2024/25.

 

2.

Appointment of Vice Chair

To appoint a Vice Chair of the Police and Crime Panel for the 2024/25 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair nominated Councillor Derek Poole to serve as Vice-Chair for the coming year. Councillor Barbara Brown seconded the nomination. There were no other nominations and Councillor Derek Poole was elected unanimously as Vice-Chair to the Police and Crime Panel for 2024/25.

 

3.

General

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair expressed his thanks to fellow members of the Panel following his reappointment. On behalf of the Panel, he congratulated the Police and Crime Commissioner following his re-election for a third term in May 2024.

 

The Chair welcomed Councillor Tim Jenkins to the Panel as the new representative of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.

 

The Chair reminded attendees that the meeting was being held during a period of heightened political sensitivity ahead of the General Election on 4 July 2024. Therefore, particular care was needed to ensure that comments or questions could not be perceived as seeking to influence public support for any candidate or political party.

 

3(1)

Apologies

To receive any apologies from members of the Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Jenny Fradgley and Councillor Ray Jarvis, as well as from Andrew Harper (Head of Strategic Finance).

 

3(2)

Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are required to register their disclosable pecuniary interests within 28 days of their election of appointment to the Council. ?Any changes to matters registered or new matters that require to be registered must be notified to the Monitoring Officer as soon as practicable after they arise.

 

A member attending a meeting where a matter arises in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest must (unless ?they have a dispensation):

 

        Declare the interest if ?they have not already registered it

        Not participate in any discussion or vote

        Leave the meeting room until the matter has been dealt with

        Give written notice of any unregistered interest to the Monitoring Officer within 28 days of the meeting

 

Non-pecuniary interests relevant to the agenda should be declared at the commencement of the meeting.

 

The public reports referred to are available on the Warwickshire Web https://democracy.warwickshire.gov.uk/uuCoverPage.aspx?bcr=1

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was none.

3(3)

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2024 be confirmed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair.

3(4)

Public Speaking

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dr Denise Taylor was welcomed to the meeting and invited to put her question to the Panel and Commissioner.

 

Dr Taylor stated her view that there was overwhelming and irrefutable evidence of persistent offending by the Warwickshire Hunt over many years. No evidence had been found to show any convictions for any of these offences. She stated that the Chief Constable had a responsibility to ensure that Warwickshire Police enforced the law; however, events since 2021 showed that the Chief Constable had failed to do this. She stated that the Police and Crime Commissioner’s role was to hold the Chief Constable to account. She highlighted that policing of the Warwickshire Hunt had attracted national media attention, including two Channel 4 News bulletins. She requested details of specific actions proposed by the Commissioner to ensure that the Chief Constable would be held accountable for the lack of enforcement against the Warwickshire Hunt as well as a timescale for when action would be taken.

 

Dr Taylor highlighted that the Commissioner had been quoted in an article published by the Kenilworth Nub News on 4 May 2024 that “I will be acting for all communities and residents of Warwickshire, without fear or favour. I am now looking forward to preparing a new Police and Crime Plan. I will be getting out amongst our communities and residents to listen to what they have to say and to feed that into my conversations with the Chief Constable and other senior officers. I want communities to understand that the Police are there to protect them, that there are increased numbers, and they are doing everything they can to engage with and listen to residents. That will be a priority for me, and I think this will also help with those who have a fear of crime.” Given his public commitment to acting without fear or favour for all communities in Warwickshire, Dr Taylor asked the Commissioner to confirm that he would act on his intention to engage with rural residents and arrange to meet with rural residents and community groups to ensure that the voices of those opposed to hunting could be heard. She highlighted the importance of ensuring that members of the community were given an opportunity to voice their concerns before the commencement of the cub hunting season in August.

 

The Chair moved that the question be referred to the PCC. This was seconded by Councillor Poole and agreed unanimously by the Panel.

 

The Commissioner thanked Dr Taylor for her questions. He refuted the suggestion that Warwickshire Police operated with a pro-hunting bias, stating that the Force sought to treat all parties fairly. He emphasised Warwickshire Police’s duty to enforce the law and gather evidence where the law had been broken. He stated that some of the points raised by Dr Taylor had been addressed at earlier meetings; however, Dr Taylor was right to assert that the Chief Constable was in operational command of Warwickshire Police, and it was the role of the PCC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3(4)

4.

Report of the Police and Crime Commissioner pdf icon PDF 633 KB

The Report is attached for consideration and comment by the Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) presented his report which provided an update on key activities since the meeting of the Panel in March 2024. He advised that work had begun to produce a new Police and Crime Plan for Warwickshire. This would be informed by a comprehensive public consultation. Efforts would be made to present the draft Police and Crime Plan to the Panel at the meeting in November 2024 with the aim of publishing a final version in late 2024. He emphasised that the current Police and Crime Plan ran to March 2025 which provided some leeway should there be any unforeseen delays.

 

The Chair highlighted commentary on page 2 of the Report outlining the Commissioner’s priorities for the next four years as set out during the PCC election campaign. He asked if rebuilding public trust and confidence in policing should feature more prominently as a priority.

 

The Commissioner acknowledged the importance of ensuring that Warwickshire residents had trust and confidence in the Force, stating that delivery of the six priorities set out in the report would help to achieve this. The updated Police and Crime Plan would also include a dedicated section on trust and confidence in policing.

 

In response to Andrew Davies, the Commissioner stated that there were serious concerns within the Criminal Justice System about the national shortage of prison places. ‘Operation Safeguard’ was in place to make police cells available to temporarily accommodate prisoners to ease pressure on prisons. At present, Warwickshire Police’s custody blocks were not being used to accommodate any prisoners. He advised that the Government proposed to open a new prison in the north of England to accommodate approximately 1,200 inmates. This would significantly ease pressure on prison places. He stated that the early release of prisoners was concerning. However, eligibility criteria prevented certain categories of offenders from being allowed early release. To date, early release of prisoners had not resulted in any serious problems in Warwickshire.

 

In response to Councillor Gist, the Commissioner advised that, conditional upon her re-appointment, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner would take an active role in the Warwickshire Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Board. He emphasised that Domestic Abuse and VAWG were treated as high priority areas. Following the meeting, he would provide an update to the Panel on the progress of research being undertaken by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) to produce a gap analysis examining diversionary support offered to perpetrators of Domestic Abuse and VAWG.

 

In response to the Chair, Polly Reed (Chief Executive, OPCC) advised that it was planned to update the layout of the OPCC website to make it simpler to locate minutes of ‘holding to account’ meetings between the PCC and Chief Constable. She advised that the format of ‘holding to account’ meetings had been updated since May 2024 which had resulted in changes to the type of minutes uploaded to the website. An update on the refreshed approach would soon be posted on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Annual Report of the Police and Crime Commissioner 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 13 MB

The Commissioner’s Annual Report for 2023/24 is attached for consideration and comment by the Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) introduced his Annual Report which outlined activities and progress over the course of 2023/24. He stated that it had been an eventful period which included the PCC Elections in May 2024 and the culmination of the Police and Crime Plan 2021-25. Efforts had been made to realise as many of the remaining Police and Crime Plan objectives as possible within its final full year. There was more work to be done which would be outlined within the next iteration of the Police and Crime Plan.

 

Councillor Sinnott highlighted commentary in the report relating to Police and Crime Plan monitoring to assess progress against the success measures of the Plan via Red, Amber, and Green (RAG) status ratings. He sought clarification of the levels of progress indicated by RAG ratings against each priority area.

 

The Commissioner advised that a red rating would indicate that no progress had been made. A green rating signified that the objective had been achieved. In some cases, an amber rating was appropriate. For example, the Force had a target to recruit 1,100 officers in 2023/24. It had surpassed this target by achieving a headcount of 1,130. However, the target to increase the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) had presented some challenges. As a result, an amber rating was indicated to acknowledge that the Force had prioritised recruitment of police officers over PCSOs. However, Warwickshire Police was making good progress to recruit PCSOs. There would be opportunities to convert this rating from amber to green by the conclusion of the current Police and Crime Plan in March 2025.

 

In response to Councillor Sinnott, the Commissioner advised that a data-led approach had been taken to gauge progress against Police and Crime Plan priority areas in keeping with the Panel’s previous recommendation that specific attention be given to performance against targeted outcomes. There were areas where statistical analysis was informative. However, in some circumstances statistics could be misleading. For example, increased reporting of Domestic Abuse could be interpreted as a positive indicator, demonstrating that more victims felt confident to come forward allowing better progress to be made. Rather than relying solely on statistics, a complex set of indicators were used by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) to judge Warwickshire Police’s performance against priority areas. He suggested that analysis by the Panel’s Planning and Performance Working Group would help to inform a more developed understanding of how the RAG ratings had been determined.

 

In response to Councillor Jenkins, the Commissioner advised that he held regular meetings with the OPCC’s Performance Team to examine the gamut of performance indicators across categories of crime. This provided an opportunity to identify areas that required additional attention which could then be raised during meetings with Chief Constable.

 

Polly Reed (Chief Executive, OPCC) advised that RAG ratings were determined by a series of complex spreadsheets to analyse performance across sub-categories of Police and Crime Plan priority areas. This information was regularly presented to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Community Safety Partnerships pdf icon PDF 190 KB

A report from the OPCC examining Community Safety Partnership (CSP) roles and responsibilities.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) introduced the report which provided details of the relationship between the PCC and the five Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) in Warwickshire as well as an overview of CSP responsibilities.

 

The Commissioner expressed his support for CSPs. He had sought to provide funding to help CSPs achieve their objectives, and there were no plans to make any significant changes to the arrangements in place for CSPs. He encouraged members of the Panel who also served on CSPs to take steps to promote multi-agency working – for example, by inviting representatives of housing associations, health services and other organisations to CSP meetings to broaden discussion of community safety.

 

7.

Appointment of the Planning and Performance Working Group pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To affirm the continuation of the Planning and Performance Working Group in the 2024/25 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the report, stating that the Planning and Performance Working Group had operated effectively over the 2023/24 municipal year. He praised the contributions made by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) which had been highly valued by the Group. The Working Group provided an effective means to explore topics in detail and inform the Panel’s broader work programme. He highlighted the Terms of Reference and sought volunteers from the Panel to join the membership of the Working Group for 2024/25. Councillor Barbara Brown, Councillor Jim Sinnott and Mr Andrew Davies indicated that they would like to sit on the Working Group in the municipal year ahead.

 

The Chair suggested an amendment to recommendation 3 of the report to authorise the Panel’s Support Officer to “confirm arrangements for working groups, and appointments thereto, following liaison with Panel members.” This would make it possible to also reconvene the Budget Working Group in 2024/25. The Support Officer would contact members of the Panel following the meeting to seek volunteers to sit on the Budget Working Group.

 

In response to the Commissioner, the Chair advised that the Terms of Reference of the Budget Working Group would be reviewed with the PCC and his Office prior to any decision to formally reconstitute the Group.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Police and Crime Panel:

 

1.     Confirms the continuation of the Planning and Performance Working Group.

2.     Confirms the Working Group’s Terms of Reference.

3.     Authorises the Panel’s Support Officer to confirm arrangements for working groups, and appointments thereto, following liaison with Panel members.

 

8.

Report of the Planning and Performance Working Group pdf icon PDF 71 KB

A report summarising the Planning and Performance Working Group’s meeting on 28 March 2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Barbara Brown introduced the report which summarised the Planning and Performance Working Group’s meeting of 28 March 2024. She highlighted the value that the Group brought to the wider work of the Panel. Meetings were utilised to undertake detailed analysis of Warwickshire Police’s performance and the content of ‘holding to account’ meetings between the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and Chief Constable. An evidence-based approach was taken. This provided insight into how strategic initiatives set by the Commissioner were operating in practice.

 

Councillor Brown highlighted the work that would be undertaken to develop an approach to measuring performance across specific areas of community concern with a focus on the tangible outcomes of the Commissioner’s Budget for 2024/25. Four areas had been selected for this work – Anti-social Behaviour, Performance of the 101 Service, Crime Detection Rates, and the impact of the 10 new officers funded by the PCC’s Budget. She highlighted the scale of this undertaking which would require a systematic, methodical approach by the Group.

 

The Commissioner highlighted the considerable improvements which had been made to the performance of the 101 Service, including a significant reduction in the average response time for a non-emergency call. He also highlighted the range of resources available to the Working Group including detailed data analysis across categories of crime. This information could be procured from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).

 

9.

Annual Report of the Police and Crime Panel 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

The Report is attached for consideration and comment by the Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair introduced the Annual Report which provided a summary of the Panel’s activities and achievements during 2023/24 as well as priorities for the municipal year ahead.

 

The Chair highlighted the ‘Looking Forward’ section of the Annual Report outlining the key areas of focus for the year ahead. He suggested that an additional paragraph be added to provide details of the work that would be undertaken by the Planning and Performance Working Group to measure performance across the four areas of community concern so that clearer visibility around progress can be reported to the public with a focus on the tangible outcomes of PCC’s Budget for 2024/25.

 

The Chair suggested that details of the Panel’s intention to examine holding to account activities by the Commissioner also be added to the ‘Looking Forward’ section of the Annual Report. This would include advocating transparency in the development of the Independent Review into the circumstances of policing of the Warwickshire Hunt as discussed earlier during the meeting.

 

It was resolved that these amendments would be made to the Panel’s Annual Report. The updated version would be presented at the meeting in September 2024 to be endorsed by the Panel.

 

 

10.

Issues Raised by Community Safety Partnerships

To consider any issues flagged by Community Safety Partnerships, providing a means for community concerns that have high-level, strategic implications to be discussed by the Panel and Commissioner.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No issues had been raised by Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) ahead of the meeting.

 

11.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To consider and review the Panel’s Work Programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel noted the Work Programme.

 

12.

Dates of Meetings

To note the arrangements for future meetings.

 

Meetings will start at 2pm, unless specified otherwise. The following meetings are scheduled to be held at Shire Hall, Warwick:

 

·       24 June 2024 (Confirmation Hearing)

·       26 September 2024

·       21 November 2024

·       3 February 2025

·       13 March 2025

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel noted the dates of future meetings.

 

13.

Any Urgent Items

At the discretion of the Chair, items may be raised which are considered urgent (please notify Democratic Services in advance of the meeting).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was none.

 

14.

Reports Containing Confidential or Exempt Information

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

‘That members of the public be excluded from the meeting for the items mentioned below on the grounds that their presence would involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A of Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1972’.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That members of the public be excluded from the meeting for the items mentioned below on the grounds that their presence would involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

15.

Exempt Minutes

To confirm the exempt minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2024.

Minutes:

The exempt minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2024 were confirmed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair.

 

16.

Complaints

To consider any complaints received and considered regarding the conduct of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Minutes:

It was confirmed that no complaints had been received since the last meeting requiring the Panel’s attention.