Andrew Cranidge, Deputy LPA Commander and Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety, Early Years and Communities will be attending to provide a further update about youth crime in the Borough. This presentation will be made available during the meeting.
In addition to the presentation provided by Andrew Cranidge, Deputy LPA Commander and Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety, Early Years and Communities the following points were highlighted:
· Whilst no area could be crime/incident free, Bracknell Forest was Bracknell a very safe place to live.
· The first piece of analysis showed no explicit links to drug activity although it was suspected in some of the cases.
· It was recognised that not all incidents were reported to the police and, therefore, local intelligence and practitioner experience was also relied upon. The Community Safety Partnership (CSP) would be monitoring this as part of their new three year plan.
· Some secondary schools were the main locations of violence but this was expected due to the significant number of young people spending most of the day together over a full school year. The numbers were also very low.
· Assault with injury was classed as anything from a slight scratch or reddening of the skin to a broken bone.
· The second piece of analysis was more detailed and looked at all youth crime.
· Police defined youth crime as one where the suspect was aged between 0-17 at the time of the offence.
· The gap in the red line on slide 5 was due to poor data quality.
· There had been very little change in the number of youth crime incidents over the past three years.
· Most common victim and offender profile was male, white, British and aged between 13-15 years.
· Peaks times of incidents were 1.00pm and 3.00pm.
· No seasonal trends were identified for the year analysed.
· Of the incidents that had taken place at the two secondary schools, there were no common suspects, no weapons used, victims were both male and female and all incidents were reported by parents.
· Comparator data for the previous period was poor quality but they had analysed 10 months subsequently and it showed similar patterns.
· Analysis of repeat violence highlighted issues around a few properties/families and supported accommodation for young people. Initiatives were in place to deal with these repeat locations.
· Weapon use was not any higher for young people than for all other age groups, although it was acknowledged even one was too many.
· A four-tiered violence programme of work including theatre tours, practitioner training, exclusion prevention and targeted 1:1 work had begun in Bracknell Forest.
· The Community Safety Partnership were awaiting more information on the Serious Violence Surge Funding and Violence Reduction Unit Funding which had recently been granted by the Home Office.
· The Community Safety Partnership would provide a further update on all its priorities at the Crime and Disorder Committee in June 2020.
· Jo Graves, Operational Manager: Children’s Social Care informed members about the preventative methods they used to divert young people away from crime. It was noted that the prevention service could not be used when police investigations were underway.
· Nikki Edwards stated youth crime figures should be considered in context of a school age population of 18,000 in Bracknell Forest Council.
Following a discussion the following points were raised by members:
· Given the 2018 Crime Data Integrity HMI Inspection Report which rated Thames Valley Police as inadequate, members queried the accuracy of the data presented. Andrew Cranidge said the Force acknowledged recording was an issue and this was an area of intense work at the moment to address concerns raised in the report.
· Members queried if the data in tonight’s report was based on reporting, not recording, and were informed that the CSP relied on local knowledge of practitioners, as well as data.
· Members asked about the difference between the types of conditional bail options and Jo Graves explained prevention was always the first recourse followed by pre-court disposal. Lowest resolution of a pre-court disposal was by the police on the street. There were also two levels of caution for young people and delivery was compulsory but working with Youth Offending Service (YOS) was voluntary. The next option was a Youth Condition Caution which meant it was compulsory to work with YOS or they could be made to attend Court. The final level was when a child could be charged with offences.
· Members asked if there were gangs of 2/3 or one to one and Alison O’Meara explained group youth violence was not borne out by statistics.
· Members asked if there was a seasonal trend and were informed no season had stood out during analysis, only times of day had flagged up, but this would be useful to identify.
· Members were keen to understand the level of drug crime amongst youths in Bracknell Forest but Andrew Cranidge said the analysis had not shown drug crime was a large part of youth violence, although he acknowledged that was often the perception.
The Chairman thanked Andrew Cranidge and Alison O’Meara for their presentation.
The Chairman asked members, officers and members of the public present to break into groups to scope a potential Task and Finish Group on this subject.
· Governance & Scrutiny Co-ordinator to compile flipchart notes following the breakout session for the Chairman to assist with completing a scrutiny pro forma.