Agenda item

Community Safety

To receive a presentation on, and to consider: the performance of the Community Safety Partnership and the priorities in the Community Safety Plan for the coming year.


The Commission has invited the following guests to address the meeting:


                Councillor Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection

                Timothy Wheadon, Chair of Community Safety Partnership

                Superintendent Felicity Parker, Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham

                Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety


Members of the Commission are asked to submit technical or detailed questions in advance of the meeting.


Timothy Wheadon, Chair of Community Safety Partnership, Superintendent Felicity Parker, Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham, Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety and Councillor Harrison, Executive Member for Culture, Delivery and Public Protection had been invited to attend. Meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee, the councillors present received a presentation on the performance of the Community Safety Partnership and the priorities in the Community Safety Plan for the coming year.


In response to the questions submitted in advance and arising from discussion it was noted:

  • knife crime was observed in low numbers across Bracknell Forest but was connected to both drug crimes and domestic abuse so was associated with a wide range of age groups
  • Thames Valley Police were aware of councillors concerns about speeding in the area and it was noted that police resources to actively tackle it were an issue. A task and finish group had been set up to consider the strategy for tackling the issue. A volunteer Speed Watch project was discussed and it was agreed that Councillor Mrs Birch would be interested in being a contact for this. There were certain areas that speed cameras could be located due to how they were calibrated but the intention was to make sure there was increased visibility, increased operations and stopping and seizing noisy vehicles
  • it was key to increase the community’s awareness of the issue as a deterrent because speeding was being perpetrated by residents as well as those travelling through the area
  • that operations were focused in areas where there was a risk of injury
  • the task and finish group involved highways officers to help engineer solutions
  • concerns regarding lorries going through red lights at the twin bridges roundabout would be fed back
  • that the legal definition of stalking was in relation to harassment where behaviour is escalating and police consider the threat, harm and risk an individual is facing. However, the Crime Prosecution Service determines which crimes to prosecute
  • if a property where drugs are being smoked is an issue then this should be referred to the community safety team who could take steps with partners such as if owned by a Housing Association then they would work with them to issue warning letters and if privately owned they would contact private landlords and make them aware of the issue
  • there had been over 2,000 calls reporting domestic incidents over the past year, 74 reports of rape in the area which was a slight decrease and 170 reports of sexual assault not including rape
  • there was recognition that these were devasting incidents and it was sometimes difficult to gather the evidence to hold perpetrators to account
  • There is support for victims by specially-trained officers who will signpost them to services and also support them in court
  • the CSP encouraged reporting ASB intelligence as quickly as possible, such as gatherings being planned so that they can take action
  • prevention activities included using outreach teams as well as communication campaigns, signage by fire service and police and rangers with active patrolling
  • when ASB activities took place in premises there are a number of criminal and civil which could be deployed ranging from a low-level response first but could increase to community protection notices taking into consideration the vulnerability of victims
  • the proposed Community Safety Fund’s (from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner) budget reduction of £16k over a three-year period was significant but the phased reduction enabled the CSP to prepare and discuss options with partners
  • the Head of Community Safety was asked to feed back the outcome of these discussions to the Commission to understand the impact of this reduction
  • every year a public consultation was undertaken to review CSP priorities which included asking additional questions such as where local hotspots for crime and ASB are that police and other partners may not be aware of
  • there was recognition that more work needed to be done to report back to the public on success stories to counter negative narratives observed on social media at times
  • the focus for CSP is about preventing crime, not just responding to it
  • it was noted that not everyone is arrested as there are other ways to deal with incidents e.g. out of court disposals, restorative justice or payment made for damage. This needs to be proportionate response to the crime committed
  • every single victim of crime is asked how satisfied they are with how they have been dealt with by police and survey responses are considered by independent advisory groups
  • it was not possible to confirm how accurate or current the data was on externally managed data sites such as
  • the Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham would provide arrest rates, prosecution figures, conviction and reoffending rates to the Commission
  • in response to ASB car meets, a task and finish group had been set up to work with partners including Parks and Countryside and Highways to understand the locations and engage with the organisers to try to make them understand the impact of their events on residents. Police also undertook ‘meet and greet’ visits to meets once identified  
  • the Local Police Commander of Bracknell & Wokingham would help unblock the speedwatch training required by the PCSO in Birch Hill and Hanworth to get this project up and running again
  • one strand of sexual exploitation was sex workers within organised crime but this was not a common occurrence in Bracknell Forest
  • the Local Police Commander Bracknell & Wokingham would provide data on how many knives were found when people were stopped and searched
  • it was explained that a community protection notice was a civil order that could be put in place for a fixed period of time with conditions to give the offender the opportunity to stop their behaviour. These could be issued by the police, local authority or housing associations if the powers were given to them
  • in light of recent events, residents were advised that if they felt unsafe with any police officers they should ask for identification and ask the officer to call in or for the individual to call 999 in order to have confidence in the police service
  • officers were discouraged from operating in plain clothes and this would only happen on specific operations but action/arrests would be made by uniformed officers
  • if it was not possible to challenge officers there and then – get their officer number (displayed on their shoulders) and complain. If you don’t feel safe, please tell the police


The Chair thanked the representatives of the Community Safety Partnership for their attendance and noted their success was a reflection of the successful partnership working undertaken. The responses to questions submitted in advance of the meeting by Councillor Brown would be included with the minutes. The Local Police Commander for Bracknell & Wokingham thanked Alison O’Meara, Head of Community Safety and her team for their approach to partnership working.  

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