Agenda item

Community Safety

Meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, to receive a presentation on, and to consider: the performance of the Community Safety Partnership in 2014-15; and the priorities in the Community Safety Plan for 2015-16.


Tim Wheadon, Chairman of the Community Safety Partnership, said that the Partnership had another successful year in 2014-15. Ian Boswell, Community Safety Manager, gave a presentation on the Bracknell Forest Community Safety Partnership performance during 2014-15. It was Ian’s last attendance at the Overview and Scrutiny Commission as he was due to retire in August.


John Campbell, Deputy Chief Constable, and Dave Gilbert, Chief Inspector, of Thames Valley Police were present at the meeting for this item.


Within the Bracknell Forest Council Priorities, the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) came under Priority Four: ‘create a borough where people are, and feel, safe’ and the Medium Term Objective 8: ‘Work with the police and other partners to ensure Bracknell Forest remains a safe place’.


The CSP met four times a year and was Chaired by the Chief Executive of Bracknell Forest Council. CSP Statutory Members included the Local Authority, Police, Fire Service, Clinical Commissioning Group, National Probation Service / Community Rehabilitation Companies. Other members included Housing Associations, Public Health, Chamber of Commerce, RMA (Royal Military Academy), Victim Support, Town Councils and Parishes, and the Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner. The Partnership worked closely with the Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner.


The CSP received £56,250 Community Safety Grant from the Police & Crime Commissioner in 2014/15, but the funding for the CSP for 2015/16 was £30,100. The Community Safety Team was comprised of 5 FTE posts which included the Community Safety Manager. The Community Safety Team also worked very closely with the Bracknell Police Community Safety Team which comprised: ASB police officer, Alert Administrator (formerly Ring Master) and Police Schools Officer.


Themes included Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour. Priorities included Burglary Dwelling, Domestic Abuse, Drug Offences, Internet-Related Crime, Non-Rape Sexual Offences, Robbery of Personal Property, Vehicle Offences, Violence Against the Person, Youth Crime Prevention.


In 2006/07, there were 9,481 victims and in 2014/15 there were 4,921 victims. There were 4,560 fewer victims in 2014/15 showing a decrease of 48% in all crime in Bracknell Forest.


In 2014/15 there was a 14% reduction in burglary dwelling (134 incidents), a 5.4% reduction in non-dwelling burglary (332 incidents), a 31% reduction in personal robbery (28 incidents), and a 33% reduction in vehicle crime (344 incidents).


In 2014/15, there were 1,080 incidents of Violence Against the Person, an increase of 20%. There were 118 incidents of Non-Rape Sexual Offences, an increase of 25%, and 714  incidents of Criminal Damage, an increase of 6%. Reasons why included celebrity trials, an increased confidence to report and historical reports (NSPCC reported sex offences against children had increased by a third); the HMIC review of reporting processes; and a new question in relation to rape on the DASH (domestic abuse, stalking and harassment) form.


Anti-Social Behaviour reported on CADIS showed 5674 incidents in 2014/15, which was a decrease of 21.4 %. Thames Valley Police data showed 1469 incidents in 2013/14 and 1410 incidents in 2014/15, which was a decrease of 4%. Thames Valley Police Public Order Offences showed a 34.2% decrease during the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.  The Local Policing Area had 102 offences which was the lowest number in the Thames Valley area.


In the Fear of Crime Survey 2012, 60% of respondents were ‘not very worried or not at all worried about being a victim of crime’. In the Bracknell Forest Residents Survey 2012, when asked ‘What do you most like about living in the Borough?’ residents responded: parks & open spaces, access to nature, and the low level of crime. In the Bracknell Forest Residents Survey 2014, ‘Low Level of Crime’ came fifth out of 24 indicators when asked ‘What do you like best about living in the Borough?’.


CSP Priorities for 2015/16 included: Serious Violence: Violence Against the Person and Sexual Offences; Protection of Vulnerable People: Domestic Abuse, Internet-Related Crime & Abuse, Child Sexual Exploitation, and Preventing Violent Extremism; Drug Offences; Youth Crime Prevention; Acquisitive Crime: Burglary Dwelling, and Shoplifting; and Anti-Social Behaviour.


Domestic abuse (DA) work included DASC (Domestic Abuse Service Co-ordination), DAPS (Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Service), Berkshire Women’s Aid, DA Co-ordinator (shared post with RBWM), DA Training (various levels aimed at the workforce), and PICADA (programme for children affected by DA).


Preventing violent extremism was covered under the Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015 and included risk assessment, a Prevent Steering Group, an Action Plan, a Channel Panel, and awareness training with staff, schools and partners.


The vision was that everyone had the right to be free from being a victim of crime and ASB, to feel safe and to choose their own lifestyle. Everyone also had the responsibility to take reasonable steps to avoid becoming a victim of crime, not to cause harassment or distress to others and to respect differences in others.


John Campbell commented that it had been another successful year for Bracknell Forest in terms of performance in relation to crime. There was a strong Partnership and relationship between Bracknell Forest Council and Thames Valley Police. There was good policing analysis, prevention, targeting vulnerability, work in relation to cyber activity, and an increase in the complexity of crimes. The shift away from acquisitive crime towards vulnerability and sexualisation mirrored the national picture. Sexual crimes were largely undertaken in the domestic home and under-reported. There was a need to understand threats.


In response to Members’ questions, the following points were made:


  • HMIC had given TVP a good assessment of crime recording practice, and TVP had responded by making further improvements, for example, in routinely recording all reported crimes, even if they were found later not to be crimes, and requiring the record to be updated.
  •  Internet and cyber activity was covered in all local authority schools. Domestic abuse was covered in primary schools and sexting was covered in secondary schools.
  • Each phone call regarding an anti-social behaviour incident was treated as a separate incident, even if there were several calls regarding the same family, for instance. This was classed by the Home Office as environmental or personal anti-social behaviour.
  • The savings of at least £22 million which needed to be made by Thames Valley Police over the next few years would be considered carefully. The budgeting process would be looked at along with structure but operational areas such as neighbourhood policing would remain and be the last areas to be affected.
  • Child protection issues were overseen by the Local Safeguarding Children Board and all partners were aware of the reporting process.
  • There were some organised crime groups nationally which damaged and disrupted communities and there tended to be a link to drugs or alcohol but this depended upon the profile of the groups at any one time. Police worked closely with the Council’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) and a new scheme was being trialled involving GPS tagging. Health provision for people who abused drugs and alcohol was mixed and people who took drugs and alcohol often had a chaotic lifestyle. There was a reliance on agencies to have a joined up approach. Children could be subject to child protection as a result, and child sexual exploitation could involve sedation or using drugs as rewards.
  • Some crimes recorded last year involved people being charged in this year’s figures.
  • Domestic abuse incident figures relating to ‘domestic incident non-crime’ could involve a fight but no crime.
  • Thought had been given to combining back office functions and common elements of emergency services such as control rooms. The Fire Service did not receive a large number of calls, whereas the Police and Ambulance Service received millions of calls per year. There was a need to have similar IT systems.
  • CI Gilbert invited members to attend TVP’s Ward walks and the daily management meeting.


The Chairman thanked John for the interesting visit to Kidlington in 2014, and the offer to visit Kidlington again, and thanked John Campbell and Dave Gilbert for attending the meeting.


The Chairman thanked Ian Boswell for his contributions over the years and thanked the Community Safety Team, and wished Ian a happy retirement.

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