Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Commission - Wednesday, 22 October 2014 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell. View directions

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

Note No. Item



Substitute Members

To receive apologies for absence and to note the attendance of any substitute members.


The Panel noted the attendance of the following substitute member:


Councillor Mrs Angell for Councillor Finnie



Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are requested to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interest, including the existence and nature of the Party Whip, in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.


Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or an affected interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.



Councillor Mrs McCracken declared an interest as the spouse of the Executive Member for Culture, Corporate Services and Public Protection.



Urgent Items of Business

Any other items which, pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.


There were no urgent items of business.


Public Participation

To receive submissions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


There were no submissions from members of the public in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.


Broadmoor Hospital Sirens pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, to discuss with representatives of West London Mental Health Trust the Trust’s plans to decommission a number of the Broadmoor Hospital alert sirens.

Additional documents:


Meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, the Commission and Members of Wokingham Borough Council, discussed with representative's of West London Mental Health Trust the Trust's proposals to decommission a number of the Broadmoor Hospital alert sirens furthest away from the hospital whist replacing those in Crowthorne, Sandurst and Little Sandhurst.


In response to Members' questions the Trust representatives outlined the security arrangements at Broadmoor.  There were two perimeter fences, both alarmed.  If an alarm were to be activated a control room camera would be activated in 0.75 seconds. Within a further 3 seconds a camera would turn to face the point of alarm at which time the operator would decide whether this was a genuine alarm. If it was, then the sirens would be sounded and the police and other authorities alerted.


The Trust representatives invited Commission members and Wokingham Councillors to visit the hospital to see the security measures in operation.


Whilst acknowledging that it could be not be guaranteed that there would never be a breach of security Members were advised that the last escape from Broadmoor had been in 1993 and that annual audits of security at the hospital had resulted in scores of 99, 99 and 97% for the last three years.


In response to concerns expressed about the effectiveness of the schools' cascade system, Trust representatives reported that this was tested regularly.  A Member suggested that, rather than relying on a series of telephone calls between schools it would be much quicker and effective to use text messaging and email.  Trust representatives reported that  the cascade system  was a partnership arrangement between the Trust, Local Authority Emergency Planning Teams and the police forces of Thames Valley, Hampshire and Surrey; however, they agreed to investigate if the process could be improved by the use of new technology.


Trust representatives expressed the view that Broadmoor was very secure and delivered very good care to its patients. The sirens did not contribute to the security at the site but their role was simply to provide reassurance.  They pointed out that Broadmoor was the only custodial facility with sirens while Rampton and Ashworth prisons had one siren each on the roof of the hospital. Neither was there a siren on the category A Belmarsh prison, for example. It was their belief that most residents did not know what to do when the sirens sounded, though there was advice for the public on the Trust’s website. They also advised that Broadmoor was a hospital, not a prison, with security requirements set by central government.


Members stated that the Trust's position was illogical and divisive.  If the sirens had no value then it would be logical to decommission all of them. If, they were valuable, the same siren coverage should be maintained. To replace only those nearest to the hospital suggested that those residents were being valued more highly that those in the rest of Bracknell and Wokingham.


Trust representatives reported that the proposed decommissioning of any  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.