Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R Young (Chair), C Richards, B Gray and J Cowan.
A briefing session for Panel Members was held from 10.15 – 10.30 a.m. prior to the arrival of any invited attendees to the meeting.
The Panel discussed the items that were to be considered at the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
Members are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government and Finance Act 1992 relating to Council Tax, the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct
(a) Members are reminded that they must identify the item number and subject matter that their interest relates to and signify the nature of the personal interest and
(b) Where Members withdraw from a Meeting as a consequence of the disclosure of a prejudicial interest they must notify the Chair when they leave
Mel Jehu declared a personal interest as a non-executive trustee with Safer Merthyr Tydfil as funding is received from the Commissioner’s Office.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on Tuesday, 14th September 2021 be accepted as true record.
To consider the attached report
The Commissioner and his Team provided the Panel with an update on the current situation, community confidence and the pressure police and other authorities are under and highlighted the following matters:-
- PCOs getting to know their Councillors
- Sense of Community
- Tackling Domestic Violence and Abuse (priority of SWP)
- Restoring IRIS (resources to implement on an industrial scale)
- DRIVE (developing)
- Race Justice and Fairness
- Substance Misuse
- Ignoring Covid Rules/Anti-vaxers (unnecessary demand on Police)
- Step Into Sport
- Operation ‘Sitaria’
- Community Safety
The following questions and comments were raised by Panel Members and answered in detail by the Commissioner’s Office:-
Whilst PCSOs are embedded in the community, public and councillors from top to bottom the system is only as good as it’s allowed to be, each divisional commander needs to be committed and supportive and understand that this is one of the Commissioner’s priorities. The Chief Constable reassured Panel that this was the case.
Observation – I sit on Health Board and Scrutiny Committee and have seen a vast improvement and areas more aligned, improvements in mental health, and applaud the document, it is timely and relevant and gets my vote of confidence.
Observation – Panel Members attended Warwick Annual Conference (43 Forces) and was heartened that one of areas of best practice highlighted was the South Wales Annual Programme of how a plan should look, and how the work in South Wales was heading in the right direction.
Police Demand - Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan
To Receive a Presentation
J Vaughan introduced M Travis, who has been in the role of Head of Operations for the last 18 months and outlined his role. He advised that he wanted Panel to meet his Deputy Rachel, but had recently moved house and she would be at next meeting.
Further information was provided to Panel on:
· 999, 101 Calls and Social Media, the significant increase in 999 emergency calls in 2021, 101 Demand and Performance.
· Crime Patterns:-
- All Crime
- Stalking and Harassment
- Cyber Crime
- Rape, Other Serious Sexual Offences
- Violence with Injury
- Violence without Injury
- Public Order Offences
- Police Officer Uplift – Year 1 2020/21
- Police Officer Uplift – Year 2 2021/22
- Police Staff Uplift – Year 1 2020/21
- Police Staff Uplift – Year 2 2021/22
- The way incidents have been policed and action taken against perpetrators (after the event).
- Professional Standards across UK
- Sexual Harrassment
- Inappropriate use of social media
- Abuse of position for sexual purposes
- Numbers going up are a positive as identification taking place
· Promotion of gender equality at work, menopause (talking about it), relationships, being held to account, constructive and positive behaviour.
A Panel Member highlighted the pragmatic approach that had been taken and the honesty provided, and was heartened that senior positions are doing something and a brighter future is on the way and thanked all those involved.
Discussion took place on the current status of road policing and attendance at accidents.
An offer of ‘ride along with the Police’ was offered to Panel Members.
Specific detailed incidents were queried with the Commissioner. Further investigation into matters to be made and a response to be provided directly to Panel.
Further questions were raised in regard to the Police communicating initiatives to the public and how the Police behave towards members of the public following the death of Sarah Everard.
Further discussion took place regarding:
· increased ‘spiking’ and the need for reports to be made
· digital communications
· whistle blowing
· robustness of internal systems
· diversity of new recruits
· lack of experience in the work force
· reporting back on a 6/12 basis
· re-inventing community safety
· inclusion into work programme
To consider the attached report
The Commissioner invited P Curran and U Hussain to present information on the Finance and Budgeting Issues report.
An overview was provided on management accounts and the comprehensive spending review. Further detail was provided on:
· Pay award
· Further efficiencies and precept increase to cover costs
· Council tax (reduction scheme) collection
· SR Early Assessment of Impact
· Spending Review 2021 Analysis
· New Pressures 2021-2022
· Current Budget Subjective Analysis 2021/22
· Unresolved Systemic Budget Issues
· Next Steps
- Development and scrutiny of the Detailed Budget Requirement
- Detailed settlement anticipated mid – December
- Anticipating over £1billion in Top Slicing – Met. making case for increase in the £185M National International & Capital City Grant
- Develop 4 Year VFM proposals – Given that staff budgets ringfenced
- Developing Further Regional Collaboration Opportunities
The Commissioner summarised and closed the presentation.
The following comments and questions were raised by Panel and answered in detail by the Commissioner and his Team:-
· Concerns raised over any increases in precept over and above rate of inflation, as we are at saturation point, and we come under a lot of flack for these increases.
· Have you built into the calculations the electronification of the fleet?
The Chair thanked U Hussain and P Curran for the presentation.
Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair
No other business was deemed urgent by the Chair.