Agenda and minutes

Cheshire Police and Crime Panel
Friday, 20th September, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford CW7 1AH

Contact: Martin Smith  Registration and Civic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

20.

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 Councillor Robert Bisset, who was substituted by Councillor Tom Blackmore, Councillor Brian Maher and Mr Bob Fousert.

21.

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:

There were no declarations of interest.

22.

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:

Mr Robert Selby spoke to the meeting raising concerns over the way in which the Police and Crime Commissioner had managed a complaint of bullying that he had made.

23.

Minutes of Previous Meetings pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To approve the minutes of the meetings held on 14 June 2019 and 5 July 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered the minutes of the two previous meetings.

 

Councillor Paul Findlow sought clarification over the position in relation to the Complaints Sub Committee which had been established some months previously. Suzanne Antrobus briefed the meeting over the legal support that the Sub Committee would receive; noting that she was leaving the employment of Cheshire East Council shortly, but confirming that the host authority’s newly appointed Head of Legal was aware of the need to provide legal support to the Sub Committee.

 

The Panel noted the need to confirm arrangements for the diversity training that had been agreed at the meeting held on 5th July. An invitation to the training would be extended to the Panel’s Secretariat and to the Commissioner and his Office.

 

RESOLVED

         

That the minutes of the meetings held on 14th June 2019 and 5th July 2019 be approved as a correct record. 

24.

Powers of the Panel in relation to the suspension / removal of the Chief Constable pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To receive a report providing clarification on the Panel’s roles and responsibilities in relation to the suspension/removal of the Chief Constable.

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report, which has been request by Panel members at the meeting held on 14 June 2019.  Clarification was provided over the legal position in relation to the Panel’s powers in relation to the suspension / removal of the Chief Constable.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be received.

25.

Presentation of Scrutiny Agendas and Papers pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To consider how information relating to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Scrutiny Boards could be presented to Panel members.

Minutes:

At the meeting on 14th June 2019 the Panel had discussed how best it review the issues discussed at the Commissioner’s Scrutiny Meetings. The Secretariat was asked to develop a suggested way forward which would be employed at future meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Panel papers would in future include a copy of the agenda of the Commissioner’s Scrutiny Board meetings, together with a short summary of item or items discussed at the Scrutiny meeting and a link to the papers on the Commissioner’s website.

26.

Visit to Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel

To discuss visiting the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel.

Minutes:

The Chairman explaining that he had held discussions with the Chair of the National Association of Police and Crime Panels, who was a member of the Essex Panel. He had invited representatives from Cheshire to visit a future meeting of the Essex Panel. 

 

Councillor Andrew Dawson noted that Panels across the country worked in different ways and that the style that had been adopted in Cheshire was more adversarial than that of many Panels. Mrs Sally Hardwick noted that she had visited the Merseyside Panel, which operated in a relatively informal manner. Councillor Dave Thompson informed the Panel that reading the minutes of others Panels could be a helpful exercise.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That a representative of each political group, together with the Chair and a   representative of the Secretariat visit a future meeting of the Essex Police, Fire and Crime Panel.

27.

Police and Crime Commissioner Draft Annual Report pdf icon PDF 3 MB

The Commissioner to present his Annual Report for 2018-19.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Commissioner to the meeting.

 

The Commissioner introduced his draft annual report for the 2018/19 municipal year. He noted that the report could not include everything that he and his office had done during the year. In introducing the report, he noted that 80 percent of it covered the four main priorities that had been included in the Policing Plan and which had been subject to public consultation.

 

Councillor Andrew Dawson expressed surprise that issues such as the suspension of the former Chief Constable and the recruitment case that had resulted in an adverse ruling by an Employment Tribunal had not featured in the draft report. The Commissioner indicated that the issue with the previous Chief Constable had commenced during 2017/18 and had received a considerable amount of publicity and media attention. With reference to the Employment Tribunal case he noted that he would, very shortly be publishing the minutes of the Scrutiny meeting that had reviewed this issue in considerable detail. A number of Panel members had been at the meeting.

 

Councillor Paul Findlow asked the Commissioner about delays in response times when members of the public contacted the Constabulary using the 101 phone number. The Commissioner noted that the operation of the 101 system was an operational issue, but that he had raised this with the Chief Constable. He understood that in the summer of 2018 there had been a range of issues which had contributed to delays with the service. The situation had subsequently improved. He hoped that the introduction of “single, on-line home”, a new web based system,  would increase the number of ways in which the public could contact the Police, this was likely to decrease demand for contact via the 101 number. Mr Evan Morris asked the Commissioner whether there was a Performance Indicator relating to the answering of 101 calls. The Commissioner indicated that there was.

 

Councillor Dave Thompson complimented the Commissioner on the draft report, but asked if it would be possible to have more information relating to individual Council areas. The Commissioner indicated that he would review how information was presented in documents such as the Annual Report, but stressed that his whole ethos for Policing was that it should be about localities and local communities.

 

Mr Evan Morris highlighted an issue in relation to priorities contained within the Police and Crime Plan and the need for the Plan to be intelligence based and produced in cooperation with the Police and Crime Panel. Referring specifically to the pan Cheshire Community Safety Strategic Needs Assessment, last published in 2015/16, he stressed the need for an updated plan to be commissioned and available for any incoming Police Crime Commissioner in May 2020. The Commissioner stressed that he was always listening and learning and that he always welcomed the views of others, but added that there were limits to what could be produced using collaboration and coproduction. Mr Morris referred to the way in which other Panels operated and the Cheshire  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Overview and Scrutiny of the Police and Crime Commissioner

Minutes:

Councillor Dave Thompson asked the Commissioner for any information he had on the extra staffing resources that Cheshire could expect following the Prime Minister’s recent announcement.  The Commissioner noted that work was being co-ordinated nationally through the College of Policing, but there was not yet firm information as to how many additional Officers Cheshire might expect.  He indicated that at a national level the number of additional officers that the Prime Minister had announced would not take the overall police establishment to the level it had been in 2010. He did express concern that the additional funding announced did not include issues such as police cars, pensions and equipment.

 

Councillor Paul Findlow warmly welcomed the announcement of additional Police Officers, but also raised the issue of Police productivity, asking what steps the Commissioner was taking in this area. The Commissioner stressed his concerns that there was no national plan for the introduction of additional Officers. In his view the Prime Minister’s proposals were inadequately funded, ill thought through and incomplete.

 

Councillor Dave Thompson sought clarification from the Commissioner on the approach that the Chief Constable was taking in relation to the use of “Section 60 stop and search powers” (Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994). The Commissioner indicated that he had spoken to the Chief Constable in some detail on this important issue, where Government policy, at least in the short term, had changed. The Commissioner indicated that the Chief Constable had assured him that the new powers would be used sparingly. They had recently been employed in Crewe following an incident involving knife crime. In that case he was satisfied that the application of the new powers had been proportionate and part of a wider strategy. Councillor Thompson referred to research undertaken by the College of Policing which questioned the benefit of additional stop and search powers.

 

Councillor Norman Plumpton Walsh referred to the allocation across Cheshire of additional funding for youth work targeting county lines crime.  This funding had resulted from a successful sub regional bid made by the four Cheshire local authorities. The allocation of the grant was based on population rather than need, which had, in his view, disadvantaged Halton. The Commissioner noted that his resources were normally allocated on need. He criticised the approach which required organisations to bid for funding, whilst core funding had been very significantly reduced. Councillor Dave Thompson noted that allocation of resources should be based on need, rather than population.

 

Councillor Andrew Dawson asked the Commissioner how much discretion he had over redressing unfair allocations of resources. The Commissioner responded by saying that the situation varied from case to case, but that as a general principle resources were allocated on need.  

 

Councillor Jan Davidson expressed concern at media reports over the number of sex offenders who could not be traced. The Commissioner asked her to provide him with further information, when this was available he indicated that he would take the issue up with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Scrutiny Items

To receive, note and inform any future scrutiny or work programme items.

 

The papers for the Scrutiny Meeting held on 4 September 2019 can be found at:

https://cheshire-pcc.gov.uk/what-im-doing/holding-the-chief-constable-to-account/scrutiny-board/scrutiny-board-documents-2019-20/

Minutes:

The Panel noted the agenda of the Commissioner’s Scrutiny meeting held on 4th September 2019.

30.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To consider the Work Programme.

Minutes:

The work programme was noted.

31.

Date of Next Meeting

Friday 22 November 2019 at 2.00 pm at Warrington Town Hall.

Minutes:

The next regular meeting of the Cheshire Police and Crime Panel was confirmed as being held on Friday 22 November at 2 pm at Warrington Town Hall.