Venue: Orbit Business Centre, Rhydycar Business Park, Merthyr Tydfil, CF48 1DL
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Bernie Bowen-Thompson, Councillor Wendy Fitzgerald and Sarah James (Co-optee).
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 his interest in the agenda as he is a non-executive trustee of Safer Merthyr Tydfil who receive funding from the Commissioner’s office.
The minutes of the meeting of Tuesday, 7 February 2023 be accepted as a true record.
To consider the attached report
A Michael, South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner introduced and provided Panel with a detailed update on the Police and Crime Plan Priorities included within the report (Improving Public Confidence; Anti-Racism Action Plan; Policing our Neighbourhoods & Digital Leadership and Strengthening Working in Partnership).
E Wools, Deputy South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner provided further detail with regard to the Anti-Racism Plan with particular emphasis on Participation & Engagement with Communities and Transparency & Accountability.
The Commissioner advised that the final formatted document will be brought to the June meeting, but is summarised providing further information using the examples of ‘Out of Court Disposals’ and ‘Facial Recognition’ and Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan’s statement.
The following questions were raised and answered by the Commissioner and his Team and an offer of further information being provided to Panel in report format in response to the any questions raised. Any specific questions please send directly to Emma Wools.
· Is there is a minimum term for a PCSO to serve (tenure approach) before being recruited as a Police Officer?
· Page 13 refers to cutting edge counter-corruption technology, do you feel you are doing enough?
· When will the South Wales Listens Platform be deployed/rolled out?
· Page 22 - Clarity and assurance sought on initiatives surrounding domestic abuse.
· Are you going to be looking at addressing the culture of the organisation and the obstacles that are being faced?
· The report refers to public confidence being significantly undermined, what significant impact do you think this will make in the reporting of crime?
· What are the conviction rates on crime against women and girls?
· Clarity and further information sought on the ten year comparative look on incidence of crime. The Commissioner agreed to pick this up as an item for a future panel meeting.
The Commissioner concluded by addressing the matter of organisational culture and the importance of leadership.
The Chair and Panel thanked the Commissioner and his Team for the report presented.
To consider the attached report
L Jones, Chief Executive to the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner led the Panel through the Scrutiny Update Report.
The Commissioner again offered a demonstration of the facial recognition software at the Police HQ Learning Centre and it was suggested that this could form part of a panel meeting if it was held at Police HQ.
The following questions/observations were raised and answered in detail by the Commissioner’s Team:
· Young officers and the use of technology – is there an alert when new officers are going out to incidents, do you have power apps on officers phones to read up as they are going to the crime? Is this something you are using at the moment?
E Wools to advise further what technology is supporting the information that is brought to Panel in order to better understand how they get the information.
· Page 23 – PALG meetings – Mayhill Riot – I cannot find any further detail. Commissioner advised this has been reported in detail to panel previously. He provided a brief update on the situation. Report to be sent to Panel Members by Simon Jones.
Sandra Perkes left the meeting at 12.16 pm (advised at pre-meeting she would need to leave early).
· The ripple effect on the community after the riots – it would be interesting to know what has changed and whether their feelings towards the Police have changed? Is this being monitored?
· Observation – Elected councillors are as important as the Police during these difficult times, the strategy, frontline delivery, and the importance of everyone being part of the solution.
The Commissioner also added that Councillors are contacting inspectors rather than PCSOs, the need to encourage and develop the relationships between PCSOs and elected members, this is being monitored and partnership ethos re-enforced.
Observation – It is encouraging and refreshing to hear emphasis and importance of the role of PCSO work.
The Chair thanked the Commissioner for the report.
To consider the attached report
Lee Jones introduced to the Panel the Report on the Victims and Vulnerability Update and apologised for the error on the title which should read as ‘Victims and Vulnerability Update’ not ‘Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales Annual Scrutiny Report’. Comprehensive detail was provided to Panel on the content of the report and it was acknowledged that some of these matters needed to be brought back to Panel as specific items.
The Chair proposed that as this is not the final document, it may not be the most appropriate time to raise in depth questions.
The Chair however requested that the following be looked into:
· Evidence of outcomes
· Presentation from one of the Projects to witness the on-going work
A member of the Panel sought clarity sought on reference to ‘50 projects 7 information missing’. Is it 50 or 57 projects?
The Chair and Panel agreed to take up the Commissioner’s offer of working in sub groups to order to further scrutinise and in this respect it was agreed that any issues would be raised via Simon Jones, who will pass them onto Emma Wools.
Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair
The Chair advised there was one matter to be dealt with under AOB and in this respect handed over to S Jones, Solicitor.
S Jones advised that the matter was regarding a number of questions that a member of the public had requested be put to the Commissioner:-
(1) Could Mr Michael supply what the Panel have been asking for over the past year and that is statistics on the effectiveness of SWP. ie regularly updated detail-oriented reports covering number of crimes reported, number investigated, number resulting in prosecution?
In response to the question being asked S Jones advised that the Panel is satisfied with the information supplied by the Commissioner and his team concerning the effectiveness or other of South Wales Police. The Panel will continue to scrutine the Commissioner in his statutory role of ensuring the effectiveness of South Wales Police.
(2) Could Mr Michael supply the Panel with regularly updated detail-oriented statistics of complaints made by the public or by ex officers against South Wales Police covering number reported, number investigated, number resulting in reprimand, prosecution, dismissal.etc.
In response to the question raised S Jones advised the Panel will continue to ask for detail on complaints against the Police. A report will be sought from the Commissioner on this issue in the near future. This information could however be obtained by the requester via a Freedom of Information request to South Wales Police.
(3) Could Mr Michael confirm whether the Commissioner is the “voice of the people?
(4) Could Mr Michael confirm whether the Commissioner is responsible to the public for submitting expressions of concern to the Chief Constable regarding complaints made to SWP by the public.
The Commissioner answered the questions in detail.
Questions five and six relate to an ongoing complaint and therefore will not be read out.
The Chair thanked everyone for their contribution and participation in the meeting.
Date of Next Meeting – 6th June 2023.