Agenda item

Herefordshire Community Safety Partnership

In accordance with the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the Herefordshire Council Connected Communities Scrutiny Committee delivers the crime and disorder scrutiny function for Herefordshire Community Safety Partnership.


The purpose of this item was to undertake crime and disorder scrutiny function in relation to Herefordshire Community Safety Partnership (CSP).


The key participants were introduced and the Cabinet Member - Housing, Regulatory Services and Community (and Chairperson of the CSP Board) gave an introductory presentation covering: the role and membership of the CSP; the CSP strategy, ‘Our Plan to Keep You Safer’ (2021-2024), which included the strategic priorities ‘To prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’ and ‘To reduce the harm from Domestic Abuse’; the delivery of the strategy and funding arrangements; the structure of groups and sub-groups; data in relation to the strategic priorities; data on all crime trends and for comparative police force areas; positives and challenges in recent years; and an acknowledgement to all the partners, agencies and volunteers involved for their efforts. 


The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) made opening comments about: CSPs predated PCCs; the value of scrutiny activity to check the effectiveness of the CSP; current PCC initiatives; the need to address behaviours and to support communities to be safe and resilient to stop crime happening in the first place; and the need to be resolute in the commitment to the strategic priorities.


The principal topics of the debate included:


1.             The purpose of the ‘Channel Panel’, as part of the Prevent strategy, to support individuals at risk of radicalisation.


2.             The impact of healthy relationships education and initiatives in schools and how to evidence outcomes over the next twelve months, including comparative data from other CSPs and feedback from parents / guardians.


3.             The issue of elder abuse in the county.


4.             The influence of social networking and other media platforms in shaping relationships and behaviours.


5.             Challenges associated with funding to deliver programmes in schools were outlined but it was acknowledged that there were other opportunities to promote key messages across broader society.


6.             The PCC questioned whether the council was assured that it was deploying resources effectively to address the strategic priorities.


7.             The work being undertaken by the CSP with education professionals and practitioners to raise awareness about the damage caused by emotional abuse and controlling behaviours in relationships.  Reference was also made to the Drive campaign which aimed to deter perpetrator behaviour.


8.             The need to promote sources of help and support to enable people to recognise and respond appropriately to all forms of abuse.  The PCC emphasised that help and support was available, whether or not victims wished to report incidents to the police.  It was acknowledged that messages had to be communicated in ways that were relevant to young people and the voices of young people should be heard.


9.             The work of the police in terms of child exploitation and online protection.


10.         The training undertaken by West Mercia Police and Fire and Rescue Service personnel on domestic abuse matters.


11.         In response to a comment about improving pastoral support in educational settings, the Corporate Director – Children and Young People advised that the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee had considered an item on ‘Children and Young Peoples Mental Health’ which included a review of schools’ pastoral support (minute 31 of 2020/21 refers).  Later in the meeting, a committee member suggested that this topic should be revisited by that scrutiny committee.


12.         Two strategic priorities had been identified but the CSP was responsible for, and had sub-groups undertaking activity on, a range of other issues.  The Cabinet Member - Housing, Regulatory Services commented on the challenge for the CSP Board to manage its meeting time as effectively as possible.


13.         The Chairperson noted that ‘A Strategic Assessment will be undertaken every three years, while the HCSP Strategy will be reviewed annually by the HCSP Board to evaluate progress and ensure that the strategy adapts to changing needs.’ (agenda page 58) and invited participants to identify what was working well and what was not working well as a partnership.  In response:


·              The PCC commented on the need to respond and adapt to change, including the requirements and opportunities presented by the Serious Violence Duty.


·              The Assistant Director Prevention noted on the value of collaborative working but considered that there was more work to be undertaken on data sharing.


·              The Higher Partnership Analyst said that there was a need to understand what other relevant data was held by the partners and to ensure that there was robust evaluation of the initiatives being undertaken.


·              The Cabinet Member - Housing, Regulatory Services commented on the quality of the data from police but this could not be shared with communities.  A concern was expressed about the limited resources available to the Partnership Team to support the safeguarding boards and partnerships.


·            The Local Policing Commander commented on the importance of considering measures of effectiveness before delivering any sort of initiative.


·            The PCC also commented on the value of sharing needs assessments and other drivers for organisational activity.


The Chairperson invited the partners to consider whether they were doing enough to promote the work of the CSP.


14.        Further to point 10 above, further information was provided about the training of Fire and Rescue Service personnel and the roles of signposting and safeguarding officers and prevention champions.


15.        The use and synchronisation of different communication channels was explored further, including the involvement of Talk Community.


16.        The potential of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to detect and deter crime.


17.        The function of Operation SNAP in handling video and photographic evidence from members of the public in relation to cycling and driving offences.


18.        The PCC encouraged ward councillors to engage with local policing teams to identify opportunities to enhance visibility and accessibility.


19.        The expansion of the Safer Streets Programme into other areas of Herefordshire.


20.        The Corporate Director Community Wellbeing said that further consideration would be given to the contribution of the Talk Community hubs to the CSP strategic priorities.  The Cabinet Member - Housing, Regulatory Services and Community added that capital funding had been allocated to enhance the hubs.


21.        The Chief Transformation and Delivery Officer advised that the ICS intended to attend all CSP Board meetings but there had been some meeting clashes.


22.        The potential to support community groups and improve facilities in order to enhance community resilience.


23.        There was a discussion about the outreach to parish councils, particularly given the comment in Appendix A to the report that ‘Resources are not available to complete Partnership surveys and information gathering to gain the views of Herefordshire people on how safe they feel and what concerns them the most’ (agenda page 36).  The Assistant PCC noted that some parish councils did not appear to be aware of the CSP, indicating a need to improve dialogue.


With input from the Democratic Services Manager and other attendees, the committee discussed potential recommendations to the Community Safety Partnership and agreed the following resolution.




That the following recommendations be submitted to the Community Safety Partnership:


a)           Herefordshire Community Safety Partnership (CSP) to explore the current role of pastoral care within educational settings in enabling young people / their peers to recognise, record and report / refer abuse in all of its forms.


b)          CSP to utilise wider synchronization of social media and research commonly used channels used by differing cohorts of society to promote key messaging, sources of help and support.


c)           CSP to approach ‘Talk Community’ with a view to sharing data and to strengthen their network for communicating sources of support and help.


d)          CSP to respond to the committee request to broaden and strengthen its reach within the community, and particularly outreach to parish councils.


e)           CSP to explore how the Safer Streets funding can be channelled as effectively as possible in the county’s rural areas.


f)            CSP to explore how we cultivate / new funding sources to further the priorities of the CSP.


In addition to the recommendations above, the committee requested that the following actions be undertaken:


1.           CSP to present the evidence gathered on the healthy relationships education and its measurable impact on reducing domestic abuse / peer-on-peer / violence against women and girls in younger people.


2.           CSP to present the evidence of the ‘Drive Campaign’ in relation to prevention of controlling and coercive behaviours / mental abuse related crimes.


3.           CSP to explain how its priorities are changing as a result on new funding and interventions such as the serious violence duty and resulting strategy.


4.           CSP to explain where improvements to sharing of data is enabling clearer understanding of trends and measures and how they influence operational practice.


5.           CSP to explore innovative / smarter ways of working in relation to funding streams being deployed.

Supporting documents: