Venue: Orbit Business Centre, Rhydycar Business Park, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 1DL
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Louisa Addiscott, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.
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.
Councillor Bernie Bowen-Thompson declared a personal interest as Chief Executive for Safer Wales as they receive funding from the Commissioner’s Office.
The Commissioner requested the following amendments be made to the Minutes of Tuesday, 4 October 2022:-
· Item 9 line 6, includes the word “uplift” when it should be “funding”.
· At the bottom of page 4, the tenth bullet point has “Action plan” replace it with “Anti-racism Action Plan for Criminal Justice and Policing in Wales”.
· At the top of page 5, the reference to a 70-year-old miscarriage of justice to instead read… “Mr Michael, then gave details to the panel of a review he had undertaken into a 70-year-old miscarriage of justice, which led to Mahmoud Mattan being executed by hanging in Cardiff prison in 1952 for a murder that he had not committed. The report and his conclusion that the whole of the criminal justice system had let Mr Mattan and his family down had been reported to the Criminal Justice Board for Wales which had noted that while such an extreme outcome could not happen nowadays, miscarriages had certainly happened in the more recent past and had a devastating impact on individuals and families. All concerned in the Criminal Justice System in Wales were keen to avoid miscarriages while also wanting to give justice to the victim and the victim’s family. This was an important part of the joint work of the agencies working in Wales who were united in seeking “to make the criminal justice system in Wales the most effective, the most efficient and the fairest it can possibly be” to quote the Board’s stated purpose.
The Chair agreed these amendments.
The Minutes of Meeting Tuesday, 4th October 2022 of South Wales Police and Crime Panel be accepted as a true record subject to the foregoing.
To consider the attached report
The Commissioner introduced the Policing Crime Panel Conduct Report and acknowledged that there were problems within the workforce, and felt whilst it important to support the Chief Constable, also hold the Chief Constable to account. He noted that whilst standards were high, there was no place for complacency. The Commissioner also acknowledged that it takes years/decades to change cultures, but now sees greater connectivity than ever before. The Commissioner handed over to the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable to provide more detailed information to the Panel on partnership work, police behaviour and discipline.
The Chief Constable provided a history of his time with the Police and highlighted information of the following topics:-
· Cultures and how inappropriate behaviour would be dealt with rapidly
· Increase in female PCs
· Capacity increase
· Independent Inspections
· IT Monitoring
· Initiatives – Operation Minion
· Training for Supervisors
· Data Protection
· Expectations of Police Staff
· Recognition of promoted staff and those with over 30 years service
The Chair thanked the Commissioner and his Team for the Report and invited questions from the Panel.
The following questions were raised and answered in detail by the Commissioner and his Team:
· It is noted that the Force does not have the power to view personal phones, would it be an idea that Officers cannot take personal phones out on duty with them? What are the rules?
- The Chief Constable responded that people use their phones to live their lives, and that he does have the power if he thinks there is a suspicion of misconduct and it is made clear to Officers that they are held to a higher bar whilst in work and in their private life.
· Clarity sought on what training and ongoing training is provided to new recruits on social media and standards?
- The Chief Constable detailed the training available and the role of the Head of Professional Standards.
· Is the practice of using facebook/social media permitted so Officers know what is happening in the Community?
- The Chief Constable advised that the use of social media is permitted as a means of intelligence gathering.
· Whilst it is encouraging to see what is going on inside the organisation, what is the process for people outside the organisation, how does a member of the public report inappropriate behaviour?
- The Chief Constable detailed the robust processes including access via the website, professional organisations, social services, social media, telephone that were available.
· Clarity sought on what is ‘intrusive supervision’ by the frontline supervisors and also the importance of the staff associations?
- The Chief Constable explained his delivery plan and the expectations of the sergeants and also explained his involvement with staff associations but also noted the importance of volunteer organisations.
To receive a Presentation from the Commissioner and Chief Constable.
The Commissioner introduced the item to Panel and handed over to the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable to present the Delivery Plan. The following topics were highlighted, discussed and the questions raised below were answered by the Officers present.
· Mission – Keep South Wales Safe
· Vision – To be the best
· Values – Proud Professional Positive
· Neighbourhood Policy
· Force Performance
· Safeguarding and Vulnerability
· Typical Day in South Wales Police
· South Wales Police Demand
· Emergency and Non Emergency Contacts
· Overall Demand
· Non Crime Demand
· Rape and Serious Sexual Offences
· Neighbourhood Crime
· Serious Organised Crime
· Public Health Crisis – Drugs/Drug Deaths
· Cost of Living Crisis
· Winter of Discontent
· New Officers
· Comparison of grant funding received with grant adjusted for inflation
· Budget breakdown 2022/23
· Cuts since 2012
· Budget Financial Forecast 2022-26
· Budget Headlines 2022-26
· New Budget Pressures
· Net impact of pay award
The following questions were raised:-
· Is call handler training ongoing?
· What is classed as a positive outcome?
· Are the levels of drug deaths related to county lines?
· With the overall demands and complexities on police time, is there an opportunity to increase the number of staff and can you negotiate cost increase with the Welsh Government?
· What are you doing to mitigate squeezing people’s finances any further?
· Concerns over crime increasing due to cost of living, mental health?
· Are Police roles/other stuff that is dealt with benchmarked against other Forces?
· Can the Panel do anything to show our support in pushing the agenda of Capital City Funding that has been identified previously?
A Pane member made the following observation:-
There are tough times ahead, but I am heartened by the close partnership working that South Wales Police are doing.
The Chair thanked the Commissioner’s office for their presentation and reports.
Resolved – The South Wales Police and Crime Panel to send a letter of support for Capital City Funding.
To consider the attached report
Peter Curran, Chief Finance Officer provided Panel with details on the Finance Update.
The following question was raised:-
· With regard to the savings of £1M on specialised skills posts which is linked to difficulty in recruiting, are we relying on these recruitment difficulties to make these savings?
The Commissioner’s office reassured Panel that this was not the case.
The Commissioner’s Team provided Panel with details on the Scrutiny Annual Report with particular emphasis on:-
· Positive culture that has been built
· Continuous Improvement Strategy
· Scrutiny Role
A Panel member asked whether there is a transparency to this that as a Panel we can see or have access to?
A Panel member made an observation that the more rigorous the scrutiny, the stronger the Commissioner’s office is, if we looked at where we were compared to where we are now, brilliant work has taken place and what a huge positive story this is.
The Chair thanked the Commissioner and his Team for the report.
Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair
The following matters were raised and discussed:-
· Arrangements for pre-meetings.
· Tabled papers being sent to Panel Members who are absent at meetings.
· Email received from a member of the public – agreed to be shared and discussed at the next meeting.
The Chair advised there was no other urgent business and closed the meeting.