Questions submitted before or during the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on 7 October 2021:


  1. How is the extent of substance misuse assessed?


I liaised with the Head of the Drug and Alcohol Service and what we do know is:


-          how many are referred into treatment

-          how many people engage with treatment, and

-          how many successfully complete treatment


What we don’t know is:


-          people who aren’t referred or seek support


Public Health England do produce some estimates of the number of users for all areas but our Drug and Alcohol Service has found that this is out of kilter with what is being seen locally.


However, the Drug and Alcohol Service are linked in with Public Health to look at conducting a Health and Wellbeing Needs Assessment which will look at levels of substance misuse and mental health so that we know where we need to focus going forward.  


  1. How is the extent of ASB assessed?


·         Reports to police

·         Queries to the Community Safety Team – Harm and vulnerability matrix used to determine level of risk to the victim

·         Complaints to Housing Associations and to our local housing provision

·         Complaints to Public Protection Partnership

·         Complaints to Lexicon

·         Complaints to Street Cleansing

·         Complaints to public facilities e.g. community centres

·         Community Trigger Applications


If one agency on its own can’t solve the issue, it is referred to the Partnership Problem-solving groups for a multi-agency approach


  1. To whom should ASB and substance misuse be reported and why?


If the ASB is linked to suspected drug-related activity, police.


This is because it is a criminal activity and is likely to need an enforcement response and may require police powers.


If a multi-agency approach is needed, police can refer to PPSG for us, together with any relevant Housing Associations including Silva Homes, to consider the tools and powers contained in the ASB, Crime and Policing Act which includes community protection notices, civil injunctions, criminal behaviour orders and closure orders


  1. The police reporting website does not cover all eventualities, and possible evidence is undoubtedly lost as a result. What can the public do to report such events properly when they cannot get through on the phone?


Calls into 101 are currently at an average of 4 minute wait time for Nov 2021 and under 2 minutes for the year. An alternative is using the on-line reporting process where contact will be made back to the caller. There are notifications during such reporting that if there is a crime in process or immediate police assistance is required to call 999. If the matter being reported is not covered by the on-line reporting I would encourage those reporting to use the 101 number.  There may well be occasions when demand causes longer delays, by the nature of demand for police services it is difficult to accurately predict call volumes and this accounts for the variation. Please remain patient and the call will be answered.


  1. Why was the Police desk at Bracknell closed? What special arrangements have residents had to make to access Police services since this closure?


This briefing note was sent to all MPs informing them of the changes to front counter provision across TVP:


Changes to the future of our front counter provision

o   We will be changing some of the ways in which people access our front counter services across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

o   We are adapting to the different ways people now wish to make contact with us to ensure we continue to meet the changing needs of the diverse communities we serve.

o   Front counters at Amersham, Bicester, Bracknell, HQ South in Kidlington, and Witney will close. These counters have already been closed since March 2020 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, with the exception of HQ South in Kidlington, which reopened following an initial closure. Some of the opening hours of the other front counters will also change. All changes come in to force from 30 August this year.

o   We held a public consultation in January this year and carefully considered the 70 responses we received before making a decision.

o   There will continue to be good geographic coverage of front counters across the Thames Valley if your constituents need to access one but they can access many of our core services online or by calling 101.

o   These changes do not affect police officer numbers nor the number of operational police bases so you will not experience any difference in the ongoing commitment we have to visible policing.


  1. How many police constables; special constables; and PCSOs are dedicated to the Bracknell Forest area? And how many 5 years ago?


This information is operationally sensitive and therefore will not be provided.  If there are gaps in service that are causing issues for the community please contact Superintendent Andrew Cranidge and he can report back.


  1. How many cases of modern slavery have been identified in the Bracknell Forest area in each of the last 5 years? Is this decreasing now?


Data starts from 2018 when it began to be collected


Bracknell and Wokingham

NRM referrals

MS1 notifications










2021 so far




NRM (National Referral Mechanism): referrals for support by government for all children and adults who consent)


MS1 (Duty to Notify): anonymous information to government of non-consenting adults


Referrals of a suspected victim to the NRM has more than doubled over the last 2 years and this is what we would expect because the Modern Slavery Act and its duties was launched in 2015 and much work has taken place since then in terms of awareness with the public (signs to look out for) and training with front line professionals who are likely to come into contact with suspected victims through their interactions in the community. So through our work on this locally, we would expect to see more suspected victims being identified and more reports and referrals being made.


  1. What links are there between youths without a leisure focus (e.g. not doing football; music; computer games) and youths involved in drug and alcohol abuse, and crime?


Essentially, when we consider what makes a young person vulnerable to commit crime and use drugs and alcohol, we look at protective factors and risk factors. Protective factors will include things like stable home environments, positive relationships, high self-esteem etc. and risk factors will comprise things like parental depression, domestic abuse, rejection by peers, mental health needs. The more protective factors and fewer risk factors may influence their propensity to commit crime and use drugs and alcohol.


Engaging in a sport/leisure activity will be a protective factor but may not be sufficient – other positive factors may be needed.


  1. PCC Priority 4: Improving the Criminal Justice System:

Given that in the last 11 years the Government has closed 295 Courts; there is currently a backlog of around 60K cases; and the Legal Aid System has been cut by 38% preventing lower paid people from getting justice: how will the PCC improve the Criminal Justice System?


               Police and Crime Commissioner response required and will follow


  1. PCC Priority 5: Illegal encampments:

Do we have sufficient legal encampments for Travellers across the Bracknell Forest Council area and across the PCC’s area of influence?


BFC commissioned an accommodation needs assessment for gypsies, travellers and travelling show people and this was published in 2017. The Council is considering the need to refresh this to ensure alignment with our emerging Local Plan. The Council is allocating 8 pitches at Jealots Hill as part of a new settlement to meet future needs. The Housing Service also manage a site with 13 permanent pitches. There are other privately owned sites in the borough.


There is a travelling show persons site north of Binfield and there was no identified need in the study for further travelling show persons plots in the last assessment.


  1. How has Community Safety funding for Domestic Abuse changed in the last 5 years? What services are commissioned?


            BFC Funding to Refuge: Unchanged

BFC Funding to Community Safety : Decrease from 2014/15 (£100K) to 2019/20 (£54,600)




·         we are delivering more inhouse than 5 years ago e.g. Family Safeguarding Model, Early Help’s DART programme and Plain Talking (early intervention for those with unhealthy relationships which could escalate to DA)

·         the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is commissioning more across Thames Valley e.g. Victims First, BRAVE, Positive Relationships Programme for Perpetrators, support for male victims (Mankind) and for LGBTQ+ victims (Support U). More have been commissioned for 22/23

·         We are also tapping into local charities such as Kaleidosopic and SAFE!


BFC currently Commission:


-          11 refuge beds with support with BWA

-          1.5 FTE Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) and Outreach Worker

-          1 FTE Outreach Worker funded for 12 months during COVID

-          DA Co-ordinator – 2 days per week


Also, central government have introduced new DA duties for LAs and have provided funding to us specifically for support to survivors who are based in government-defined safe accommodation and we are currently producing a strategy on what we will be looking to deliver in the next 3 years with that funding.



12.  The Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham would provide arrest rates, prosecution figures, conviction and reoffending rates to the Commission


Year to date Arrest Data

Bracknell and Wokingham LPA arrested 1625 people in this period.  This is a slight decrease over 2020-21 (1531) but much higher than 2018-19 (1120).


During this period Bracknell and Wokingham LPA had 1551 positive outcomes.  This is an increase of 8% on the previous year.  505 of these cases resulted in the person being charged and summonsed to court.  This is a decrease of 26% from the previous year.  This is expected as there is a large drive to increase the out of court disposals.


The Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham advised that they were unable to provide further data for prosecutions & reoffending.


Currently it is not possible to break this data down into specifically Bracknell area.  This is something the Service Improvement Department are trying to change.


13.  The Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham would provide data on how many knives were found when people were stopped and searched


Knife Possession/Searching - 12 months

During the last 12 months Bracknell and Wokingham LPA conducted 946 stop searches.  In relation to weapon offences 10% were recorded as the primary reason for the search.  The data does not breakdown the type of weapon searched for.  It does show that the primary item searched for was recovered in 2% of these cases.  However 16% of these cases found another article and a positive outcome was obtained.


There is a distinction between knife crime and knife possession.  Knife possession in simply having a blade or sharply pointed article in a public place without lawful authority.  However knife crime can be any offence where a knife is threatened to be used (even if it was never produced or seen).        


Bracknell and Wokingham recorded 17 possession bladed or sharply pointed articles (year to date).  74% of these resulted in formal action being taken against the individual.  This is a significant increase from the previous period which was 59%.  13% of these cases resulted in the person being charged or summoned to court.  The remainder were dealt with out of court.  This included 5 children who were referred to the youth offending team for intervention work.


Currently it is not possible to break this data down into specifically Bracknell area.  This is something the Service Improvement Department are trying to change.