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 2015-16; and the priorities in the Community Safety Plan for 2016-17.


The Chairman welcomed representatives of the Community Safety Partnership and Thames Valley Police to the meeting of the Commission, in its capacity as the Crime and Disorder Committee.


Timothy Wheadon, Chairman of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP), said that the Partnership had another successful year in 2015-16 but there was no room for complacency, and early action was key to success. Kellie Williams, Community Safety Manager, gave a presentation on the Bracknell Forest Community Safety Partnership performance during 2015-16, and plans for 2016-17.


Nikki Ross, Assistant Chief Constable, Rob France, Superintendent and Dave Gilbert, Chief Inspector, of Thames Valley Police were present at the meeting for this item.


The CSP was a statutory partnership required to conduct an annual assessment of crime, anti social behaviour and substance misuse within the borough. Its work directly supported the Council’s Strategic Theme of ‘Strong, safe, supportive and self-reliant communities’. The Partnership were required to publish a three year plan, which was to be updated annually, of how it intended to make the community safer. The plan was currently in its third year and the Partnership would be starting to refresh the new three year plan in the coming months.


The CSP received £154,283 grant funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner in 2015/16. The Community Safety Team was comprised of 3 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) and 2 additional posts which included the Community Safety Manager. This totalled 3.84 FTE posts compared to 5.3 FTE posts in previous years.


In April 2016 Bracknell and Wokingham Local Police Areas merged to create the new Bracknell and Wokingham LPA. There was no reduction in front line staff and officers due to the merger. It provided an increased resilience and opportunities for resources to be used more effectively and efficiently. The merger also ensured that the police were prepared for future challenges and new ways of working.


There were two themes and eight CSP priorities for 2015/16


These Themes included Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour. Priorities included Burglary Dwelling, Domestic Abuse, Sexual Offences, Child Sexual Exploitation, Drug Offences, Violence Against the Person, Youth Crime Prevention.


Violence Against the Person had increased by 9% since 2014/15, this was the smallest increase across Thames Valley. There was a strong partnership approach to encourage people to report crimes.


There had been a 26% increase of Sexual Offences in 2015/16, this was a greater increase than the Berkshire Hub and Thames Valley. It was thought that there had been greater reporting of historic cases due to high profile cases in the media. There had also been changes within the way the Police had been recording and dealing with Sexual Offences. A more proactive approach had been undertaken through a strong partnership approach within Bracknell.


Domestic Abuse had decreased 4% from 2014/15 with Bracknell Forest being the only Borough within the whole of the Thames Valley region to have achieved a reduction. This had been achieved through excellent partnership working, a focus on early intervention, repeat victimisation and work with perpetrators.


As a result of the SEMRAC meetings and joint working between the Police and Bracknell Forest Council in 2015/16 there had been four Child Sexual Exploitation convictions, one person charged and awaiting trial and four people arrested and currently on bail.


There had been a focus on training and awareness raising to prevent violent extremism. This was to comply with the new statutory duty outlined in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015. There had been five prevent safeguarding concerns raised with the CST however the risk had not been seen locally.


Drug Offences had increased in 2015/16 by 18% however the police were taking hard and proactive steps to decease the number of offences with several Closure Orders being issued.


Youth Crime Prevention had been extremely successful decreasing by 20.6% in 2015/16. This was a better decrease than the national average.


Burglary Dwelling and Shop Lifting were good news stories, both decreasing in 2015/16.


The Crime and Disorder Information System (CADIS) for recording data relating to Anti Social Behaviour had been revamped resulting in changes in the way data had been collated. Therefore the impact of the prevention work being done will be shown better in next year’s data (2016/17) with this year’s data sets being the benchmark.


In order to improve on an already impressive performance record, TVP intend to look at demand reduction, with the CSP wanting to understand how this can be achieved across the partnership. An example was in dealing with mental health cases. The CSP would also explore how partners could work closer together and more effectively through a challenging time for the public sector whilst still delivering effective outcome for the community.


Some of next steps that had been identified by the CSP were to deliver problem solving training across the partnership, develop the mapping capabilities of CADIS and introducing the TVP pilot in Bracknell Forest with Partnership Data.


Nikki Ross, Assistant Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, emphasised that Bracknell had one of the best Community Safety Partnerships within the 12 local policing areas in Thames Valley.


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


  • The statistics in the presentation were more recent then the statistics published in members agenda papers. The statistics are constantly revisited and audited.
  • Outcomes vary from high to low, with the highest outcome being formally charged and a court hearing.
  • Despite the recent surge nationally in racism hate crimes since Brexit had been announced, this had not been seen locally with only two unrelated cases having been reported in the 14 days since the EU Referendum.
  • There was no particular area in which weapon offences occurred the most. It was thought that the increase in weapon offences was closely related to the increase in drug offences.
  • It was confirmed that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) sit on the CSP Board and that the multi agency approach was proving very successful. A one stop shop was being planned which would target the most vulnerable in the area.
  • There had been an increase in the number of vans with tools that had been stolen recently. The police had been working closely with Hampshire and Surrey to recover some of the vans and to release press statements.
  • There had been significant changes minimising the use of Mephedrone

(MCAT) largely through education and agency work. There was however an increase in vulnerable adults using Class A drugs.

  • The increase and decrease figures within the presentation had been shown in percentages rather than numbers for simplicity. On drug offences, the data on successful treatment completions was available in figures and would be sent to Members.
  • Thames Valley Police had a very high record at finding Cannabis Houses.
  • The process of Closure Orders, barring others access to a vulnerable person’s house, was explained. The vulnerable person would be identified, often someone who would be a serious concern who needed to be helped. Notice would be served by an Inspector and would be subject to Judicial scrutiny with a Magistrate deciding the criteria and the rules. This would then be reviewed after a few weeks. It would enable anyone who is caught in the vulnerable person’s house to be arrested for breaking the terms of the notice. There was a local protocol in place which involved consulting with a number of agencies. Eight had been issued so far, with more planned for the future.
  • Due to Thames Valley Police receiving a budget cut and the budget tightening the Bracknell and Wokingham LPA merger was formed as the best value for money whilst still being able to maintain an effective frontline and being more coordinated and resilient. The flexibility offered by the merger enabled there to now be 95 immediate response officers and approximately 180 officers available.
  • There was not a breakdown of figures available for Parish and Town Council areas, there was however a breakdown of 6 neighbourhoods which would be sent to  members.
  • Outcome figures for all of the 12 Local Policing Areas in Thames Valley were available on the Thames Valley Police website for comparison.


Cllr McCracken, Executive Member for Culture, Corporate Services and Public Protection commended the Community Safety Partnership as being exemplary and a testament to Bracknell Forest Council and praised Bracknell for being within the top 3 for lowest crime rates in the Thames Valley area.


The Chairman thanked officers and the representatives from Thames Valley Police for their efforts on behalf of the community, and for attending and for giving such a detailed presentation and update on the Community Safety Partnership.


Supporting documents: