Agenda and minutes

Cheshire Police and Crime Panel
Friday, 28th September, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Hough Village Hall, Cobbs Lane, Hough, Crewe, Cheshire, CW2 5JN

Contact: Julie North  Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

18.

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 Brian Maher, Councillor Jan Davidson and Councillor Dave Thompson.

 

19.

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.

 

20.

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:

Two members of the public spoke at the meeting. Mr and Mrs Bracey spoke raising concerns over the way in which both the Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner had managed a number of serious allegations made by their daughter and her husband. They also expressed concern at the way in which their complaint had been handled by Cheshire East Council. They sought assurance that the Panel would both review the complaint and the way in which it had been managed. The Chairman assured Mr and Mrs Bracey that the Panel would review the matter.

 

 

21.

Minutes of Previous meetings pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To approve the minutes of the meetings held on 20 June and16 July 2018.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meetings held on 20th June and 16th July 2018 were approved as a correct record.

22.

Seventh Annual National Conference for PCPs and PFCPs

To consider attendance at Frontline Consulting’s seventh annual national conference for PCPs and PFCPs, Monday 12 November 2018, Scarman House, Warwick Conference Centre.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman asked those Panel members who wished to attend the Conference being held on Monday 12th November to inform the Secretariat.

 

 

 

23.

Cheshire Youth Commission Group Meeting - Update

Sally Hardwick to provide a brief verbal update on her attendance at the Cheshire Youth Commission Group Meeting held on Saturday 8th September 2018.

Minutes:

Mrs Sally Hardwick briefed the Panel on her recent attendance at a meeting of the Cheshire Youth Commissioning Group, highlighting concerns at the cost of the Group and how representative it was of young people across the county. Panel members, including Mrs Hardwick, recognised the difficulty in creating a truly representative body and there was agreement this this was an issue which should be discussed with the Commissioner, in detail, at an informal meeting.

24.

Update on complaints pdf icon PDF 157 KB

To consider a report updating the Panel on how conduct matters and complaints against relevant office holders (the Police and Crime Commissioner and his Deputy) falling within the Panel’s remit are handled.

 

 

Minutes:

This item was introduced by Brian Reed, Cheshire East Council’s Head of Democratic Services and Governance. He summarised the process that was followed by the Monitoring Officer when a complaint was received and provided a statistical summary of complaints received from 1 January 2017 to 31 August 2018. 

 

Councillor Findlow sought clarification over how other Police and Crime Panels managed the complaints process and asked that research be undertaken on this issue. Councillor Dawson, making reference to the complaint raised earlier in the meeting by Mr and Mrs Bracey, expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of clarity and transparency surrounding the process. There was agreement that a special meeting of the Panel should be convened to discuss the Panel’s approach to the handling of complaints and to enable them to gain a better understand of the legal background. The Secretariat was asked to canvass for dates.

 

25.

Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner's Annual Report for 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

The Commissioner to present his Annual Report for 2017/18.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Commissioner to the meetings.

 

The Commissioner introduced a draft of his Annual Report, highlighting a number of areas including a reduced level of expenditure on his expenses and savings in running costs for his office, allowing more money to be spent on front line policing. He commented on the fact that crime was on the increase and was also becoming ever more complex. He also made reference to reduced levels of budget available to him at a time of austerity.

 

The Commissioner highlighted success in the rollout of his approach to community policing, including the provision of a PCSOs to each community. He also noted the success in the rollout of handheld technology to Officers. He thanked the Panel for the support he had received from them, making particular reference to issue of crime data integrity, which had been discussed with Panel members on a number of occasions over the previous year.

 

Councillor Andrew Dawson sought clarification from the Commissioner over how he should view the document; asking if it was a political document. The Commissioner responded by saying that it was a factual document, but one that was underpinned by his values. Councillor Dawson highlighted a section of the report which focused on savings in office expenditure, contrasting this to the fact that no reference was made in the Annual Report to the cost of the suspension of the Chief Constable and the associated costs related to the subsequent disciplinary hearing.

 

The Commissioner responding that indicating that overall expenditure on his Office had decreased by approximately £300,000 a year; this had included savings resulting from the removal of the provision of lease cars. He indicated that he would be publishing the full cost of the Chief Constable’s disciplinary  hearing, noting that due process had been followed at all times.

 

Turning to a separate issue, Councillor Dawson sought clarification over the issue of Police numbers. The Commissioner highlighted the work that had been undertaken in relation to the allocation of PCSOs and the changes that he had introduced. He noted the decrease in resources available nationally in the period since 2010.

 

Mr Evan Morris sought clarification over the status of the report; asking if the document being considered was a draft. He suggested that the report should make reference to the work of the Police and Crime Panel. The Commissioner indicated that the document was a draft and that he thought that it would be a good idea for reference to the made in the Annual Report to the work of the Panel.

 

Mr Bob Fousert asked the Commissioner if he thought that some of the work he and his Office were involved strayed a little outside of the remit of policing. The Commissioner indicated that one of the impacts of austerity over the last eight years had been changes in the resources available to many partner organisations. This had impacted on policing. He was of the view that modest investment from his Office in a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Overview and Scrutiny of the Police and Crime Commissioner - Questions for the Police and Crime Commissioner

Minutes:

Mrs Sally Hardwick, noting that the issue had been discussed earlier in the meeting (Item 6 discussed before the Commissioner was in attendance) asked the Commissioner for the cost of supporting the Youth Commission. The Commissioner indicated that the cost was about £20,000 a year. He noted that he had never appointed a Youth Ambassador, as his predecessor had, but that the cost of the Youth Commission was about two thirds the cost of the former Youth Ambassador. Those serving on the Youth Commission did so as volunteers and their work had directly led to policy changes. He indicated that the cost, effectiveness and membership of the Youth Commission was reviewed on an annual basis. The Commissioner thanked Mrs Hardwck for attending a meeting of the Commission.

 

Mr Bob Fousert referring to problems with the provision of forensic services, asked the Commissioner a number of questions, including where the money to support Key Forensic Services (KFS) had come from and how much this has cost the Cheshire Constabulary.

The Commissioner indicated that there had been considerable discussion on these issues at a national level. He informed the Panel that he had signed off expenditure where a specific service has been commissioned by the Police in Cheshire. He indicted that he was not prepared to use public money to support a failing private sector company. He noted that in his view the national policy that had led to the abolition of the Forensic Science Service had been misguided. He had no issue with the competency of the staff who had been providing the service, the majority of whom appeared to have transferred to a new company who would provide a service in future. He was confident that a good quality service would be provided and that the previous failures had resulted from poor management and strategic leadership.

Mr Evan Morris asked if the Commissioner was considering reviewing the provision of a helicopter for the Police in Cheshire. The Commissioner responded by saying that Cheshire was part of the National Police Air Service, and paid for the service received based on the number of hours the aircraft was used. The Police service in Cheshire did not own its own aircraft. He had been keen to take part in a pilot exercise with the Fire and rescue Service over the use of a drone, but felt that such a machine could not replace access to an aircraft, although work was ongoing to see if more use could be made of drones.

Councillor Andrew Dawson sought clarification over the appointment of Miss Clare Hodgson to the post of Head of Finance. He noted that the Panel had conducted a Confirmation Hearing earlier in the year where they had recommend her appointment,  but indicated that as she had no background working for a Police and Crime Commissioner, training and induction should be provided.   The Commissioner responded by indicating that the appointment had been confirmed, she had yet to take up appointment, but would do so  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Scrutiny Items pdf icon PDF 132 KB

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

 

 Scrutiny Board Notes - 9 May 2018

Minutes:

No issues were raised.

 

28.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To consider the Work Programme.

Minutes:

The Panel’s work programme was reviewed. 

 

29.

Date of the next meeting

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was confirmed as being on 14 December 2018.