Agenda and minutes

Cheshire Police and Crime Panel
Friday, 7th February, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Wyvern House, Winsford

Contact: Martin Smith  Tel: 01270 686012 Email:  martin.r.smith@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

44.

Apologies

Members are reminded that, in accordance with governance procedure rule 2.7, Panel Members, or their constituent authority, may nominate substitute members of the Panel in the event that the appointed representative(s) is/are unable to attend the meeting.  Advance notice of substitution should be given to the host authority wherever possible.  Members are encouraged wherever possible to secure the attendance of a substitute if they are unable to be present.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Dave Thompson, Norman Plumpton  Walsh and Rob Bisset.

45.

Code of Conduct - Declaration of Interests. Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any disclosable pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest which they have in any item of business on the agenda no later than when the item is reached.

Minutes:

Councillor Sam Naylor, who was substituting for Councillor Rob Bisset (Cheshire West and Cheshire) indicated that he was a retired Police Officer.

46.

Public Participation

To receive questions from members of the public in accordance with governance procedure rule 14.  A total period of 15 minutes will be allocated for members of the public to speak at Panel meetings.  Each member of the public shall be limited to a period of up to 5 minutes speaking.

 

Members of the public may speak on any matter relating to the work of the Panel. During public speaking time, members of the public may ask questions of the Panel and the Chairman, in responding to the question, may answer the question, may decline to do so, may agree to reply at a later date or may refer the question to an appropriate person or body.

 

Questions will be asked and answered without discussion.  In order for officers to undertake any background research, members of the public who wish to ask a question at a Panel meeting should submit the question at least a day before the meeting.

 

Members of the public are able to put questions direct to Cheshire’s Police and Crime Panel via social media platform Twitter.

 

The Cheshire Police and Crime Panels’ Twitter account @CheshirePCP

Minutes:

There were no members of the public present wishing to use public speaking time.

47.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 68 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2020.

 

Minutes:

 

Matters Arising

 

Councillor Paul Findlow asked for clarification over when the Complaints Sub Committee would meet. It was confirmed that the Secretariat would, in the near future be canvassing dates for a meeting of the Sub Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 8 January 2020 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

48.

Location, Date and Timing of Panel Meetings pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To consider the dates, location and timings of future meetings.

 

Minutes:

The Panel discussed the draft programme of meetings for the forthcoming municipal year and the location of future meetings.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Panel should meet at 10.00am on:

 

27th March 2020                                        

12th June 2020                               

18th September 2020                    

27th November 2020                      

5th February 2021

16th April 2021

 

That subject to the accommodation being available, future meeting of the Panel would be held at Wyvern House, Winsford, with the seating arrangements for the Commissioner being reviewed.

49.

Police and Crime Commissioner's Proposed Precept for 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 323 KB

To review the Police and Crime Commissioner’s proposed precept for 2020/21.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Commissioner to the meeting; he was accompanied by Wendy Bebbington and Clare Hodgson. The Chairman noted that Panel members had received a comprehensive briefing from the Commissioner and his Finance team in advance of the meeting.

 

The Commissioner noted that details of the financial settlement had only been received from the Home Office on 22nd January, a month later than normal. He outlined the process of consultation that he had undertaken, over 2,500 responses had been received, with two thirds of those responding supporting his proposals. The Commissioner summarised the details of his proposed precept, details of which had been provided in advance to Panel members and had been published on the Panel‘s page of the Cheshire East Council website.

 

The Chairman noted that it would be helpful if the Commissioner had access to research undertaken by the four Cheshire local authorities when setting his proposed precept each year.

 

Mrs Sally Hardwick asked the Commissioner for more information about the consultation exercise, specifically referring to the third of people who had indicated that they did not support the proposed increase in precept. The Commissioner noted that of the third that had not been in support, half felt that the Police Service should be paid for nationally, the other half had indicated that they could not afford an increase in their Council Tax bill.

 

The Chairman asked the Commissioner for clarification over the recruitment and retention of Police Officers. The Commissioner indicated that the 43 additional Officers that had been approved when the 2019/20 precept had been approved in February 2019 had now been appointed. He noted that he had asked the Chief Constable to develop a recruitment plan for the forthcoming year.

 

Councillor Paul Findlow sought clarification over the adequacy of financial reserves. The Commissioner indicated that reserves were lower than they had been in previous years; they had reduced from £20m to £9m. Clare Hodgson, the Commissioner’s Chief Finance Officer clarified the position in relation to the reserves and the way in which they would be reported. She confirmed that in her professional opinion the reserves were adequate.

 

Councillor Andrew Dawson asked the Commissioner if there were any empty, unsold Police Stations in Cheshire. The Commissioner responded by saying that he had worked hard to rationalise the Police estate. Using the former Frodsham Police Station as an example he outlined how space was now shared with the Fire and Rescue Service. He recognised that there was still more to do, but he was confident that that there were no redundant assets in the Police estate. The Chairman asked if Commissioner could provide the Panel with a detailed breakdown of the Constabulary’s assets, with capital values.

 

Councillor Sam Naylor, who chaired the Northwich Regeneration Forum referred to the desire to create a public sector hub in Northwich, the development of which was being delayed by failure to relocate Northwich Police Station. The Commissioner indicated that affordability was an issue, whilst he saw it as desirable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Overview and Scrutiny of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Questions for the Police and Crime Commissioner

Minutes:

Councillor Mick Warren asked the Commissioner about the use of technology in relation to such things as swearing Warrants in front of a JP, a process that could be very time consuming. The Commissioner responded by expressing his concern that the closure of many Magistrates Courts had created pressures for the Police. He outlined that a pilot process had been taking place in the west of the county where video conferencing was being trailed for the issuing on non-urgent warrants. This was soon to be extended across Cheshire. 

 

Mr Bob Fousert highlighted the small number of allegations of rape which resulted in prosecutions; he expressed concerns at the approach adopted by the Crown Prosecution Service. The Commissioner outlined the process that that was followed in such cases. By way of example he indicated that in 40 per cent of cases where there was a named suspect, the victim did not wish a case to go any further. A further 30 per cent went no further because there were evidential issues. The Chairman noted that there were parallels to Domestic Violence cases, where victims were frequently unwilling to give evidence against the offender.

 

Councillor Laura Jeuda, highlighting innovative work being undertaken in relation to Domestic Violence in Cheshire East, asked the Commissioner what capacity he had in his budget to extend work in this area. The Commissioner reaffirmed his commitment to combatting Domestic Violence across Cheshire, noting that Women’s Centres would soon be established in Cheshire West, Halton and Warrington, with joint funding from his budget, the Probation Service and local authorities.  

 

The Chairman asked the Commissioner for clarification over whether Cheshire had applied for funding from the recently announced Safe Streets Fund. The Commissioner indicated that Cheshire would be making a bid for funding, following receipt of guidance that Cheshire could qualify under the scheme. However, he did have concerns that at £24m nationally the overall amount of funding available was very low.

 

Mr Fousert asked what controls were in place in Cheshire in relation to facial recognition software. The Commissioner indicated that he had some concerns over the use of such systems. He had asked the Chief Constable to draft a briefing note on this issue.

 

On behalf of the Deputy Chair who was not able to be at the meeting, the Chairman asked the Commissioner about the increase in abuse and attacks against NHS staff. He asked what steps the Police were taking to combat this. The Commissioner provided some background information on the range of incidents at hospitals, not all of which involved crimes. He recognised that not all incidents were reported. Discussions were ongoing with the Chief Constable over how best the Police could address these issues, consideration was being given to having a permanent Police presence at hospitals. Such an approach was commended by the Panel.

51.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To consider the Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Panel’s Work programme was noted.

 

A number of Panel members indicated an interest in attending the Ninth National Conference for Chairs, Members and Support Officers of Police (Fire) and Crime Panels to be held from Monday 23 to Tuesday 24 November 2020 at Scarman House, Warwick Conference Centre.

52.

Date of Next Meeting

Friday 3 April 2020 – 10.00 am Venue TBC

Minutes:

resolved:

 

That the next meeting of the Police and Crime Panel be held on Friday 27th March at 10.00am. The meeting would be held at Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford.