Anti-Social Behaviour - Presentation
To receive a presentation from Ms Jane Kennedy, Police Commissioner for Merseyside on anti-social behaviour.
The Chair indicated that at the last meeting of the Committee, Mr Kinsella, Independent Consultant, was requested to provide information to the next meeting on the data surrounding Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) and the Council’s strategy to support this important issue (minute 28 refers).
A copy of the analysis undertaken by Mr Kinsella was circulated as part of supplementary papers.
The Chair indicated that the analysis highlighted that 1 in 10 people in Birkenhead were affected by crime and anti-social behaviour, and that the figures highlight that Birkenhead had a slower downward trend compared with other constituencies; with rowdy behaviour being highlighted as the biggest issue faced.
At this point in the meeting the Chair welcomed Ms Jane Kennedy, Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Police and Crime Commissioner introduced both Mr McAdam from the Office of Police and Crime Commission and Inspector Georgie Minnery, Neighbourhood Policing Team for Birkenhead and gave Members a brief outline of her role as the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Then with the permission of the Chair, circulated some data in relation to crime statistics and indicated that in relation to ASB this appeared to show a reduction but there was an evidential increase in overall crime. Ms Kennedy indicated that out of the 90,000 calls received only a small amount became reported crime.
In relation to the figures, Ms Kennedy indicated that these were reviewed at a regular ASB governance meeting and that she was reassured that those figures were reliable and regularly audited. Ms Kennedy explained that her perception of the concerns raised at the Committee and the figures reported was that there were fewer neighbourhoods policing teams therefore possibly less reporting, this may be why the figure were showing a reduction.
Ms Kennedy reiterated that her role was to hold the police to account and that she had no power to interfere with operational issues, but reassured the Committee that the first of her policies was to tackle ASB.
The Poverty Act Fund was available from the Police Authority; this was a smaller fund than what was given in previous years to community/voluntary organisations, to make Wirral a better place to live. Details of the fund were available on the website and deadline for applications was 10 June 2015.
Ms Kennedy further highlighted the Positive Futures initiative in particular a case study of a young person who had come through the scheme and had been very successful, with no further reports of ASB. Ms Kennedy stated that this was an excellent example of agencies working together.
In response to a question raised by Mr Haywood, Ms Kennedy explained that Police Officers and Police Community Support Officer had very different roles to perform within Merseyside Police. Police Officers who were on mobile patrol were generally responsible for answering grade 1 and 2 calls, these being emergency calls, requiring an immediate response or within an hour. To maximise resources a lot of the officers patrolled independently, a small number doubly crewed. They also had a team of officers who were responsible for taking crime reports and conducting investigations.
The role of the Community Support Officer was to be on foot visible within their community. They did not have the same equipment, training or legal powers as police officers as it was not anticipated that they would be routinely dealing with confrontational or violent incidents.
In relation to Special Constables these were volunteers who undertook the role of a police officer on a part time basis, primarily used to support police officers in their role and also provided a physical presence within the local communities. Anybody can apply to become a special constable; however, they were subject to a selection process. Most of the special constables had other jobs and as such are subject to the working time directive. As the role of the community support officer was a full time role, this would limit their ability to work as a special constable also. However the opportunity was available to them if they chose to take it.
Certain police officers’ conducted the role of a neighbourhood officer who was dedicated to a specific area, building community contacts and providing a consistent police presence. Community Support Officers and special constables would be seen with these officers.
Ms Kennedy indicated that the most successful route into the Police had been via the PCSO role.
In response to a request by the Chair, Inspector Georgie Minnery indicated that she would investigate the suggestions made by Mr Haywood but reiterated that although police officers and PCSO’s had in the past patrolled together, this was not standard practice.
In response to a question raised by Mr S Andrews regarding the closure of Laird Street Police Station, Birkenhead, Ms Kennedy indicated that this issue had been discussed at length by Members of the Police Authority where it was felt that the current building did not lend itself to modern policing but plans were being looked at to identify an improved neighbourhood station.
A member of the public working at St James Centre indicated that they were working alongside the Police to identify an alternative location that would be fit for purpose within the community.
In response to comments, Ms Kennedy indicated that an appropriate place was needed for officers to hold surgeries and for that to be a base for officers to be able to be on hand to assist people within the community without actually being required to staff the building. Ms Kennedy stressed the need for officers to be out and about within the community and not in buildings.
In response to a Member, Ms Kennedy indicated that the recruitment of voluntary community support officers could possibly be considered in the future.
In response to a request by the Chair for information as to how much of the Police budget was spent and allocated to counter ASB, Ms Kennedy indicated that collating that information as requested was proving difficult to narrow them down to specific areas, but she could circulate information on the overall spend throughout the force.
Ms Kennedy highlighted that early intervention and working with the whole families had proven to achieve better outcomes when it came to ASB and Crime and that the force was moving to a different way of delivering services and tackling anti-social behaviour.
Ms Kennedy reported that the County FA had arranged floodlit football events which allowed young people to play football when they want to play. Young people from across the county were also partaking in a ‘mash up’ football tournament at Goodison Park.
Mr Mike Withy, Sports Development team indicated that the team did undertake activities for young people based on ASB and based on intelligence received sought to tackle hotspots with activities; however, there was a lack of funding for such activities.
A Member indicated that they had along with other partners i.e. Magenta Living, fire, police and Liverpool FC dealt with reported race hate crime. To tackle this issue a group was formed and each partner had donated £2000 so that each Thursday young people could come and play football with LFC coaches at Ridgeway High School.
A Member further highlighted the work undertaken by the Wirral Youth Services in particular the Youth Zones which had proved successful elsewhere to alleviate ASB, a planning application had been submitted for a Youth Zone in Birkenhead and it was hoped that the build would start in the Autumn.
The Chair thanked Ms Kennedy for her informative presentation and then invited Councillor P Davies to highlight the conclusions outlined within the report (Anti-social behaviour – executive summary) within the Constituency Managers update report, to include establishing why ASB levels were reducing at a slower rate in Birkenhead in comparison to the other three constituencies and Wirral overall and quantifying the level of resources utilised by both Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service in preventing and tackling ASB. Councillor Davies concluded by reiterating the need for all initiatives undertaken to have clear evidence of what had been achieved by doing the interventions and funding those that worked.
(1) Ms Kennedy, Police and Crime Commissioner and Mr McAdam be thanked for their attendance and informative presentation;
(2) the next steps as detailed in appendix 3 (anti-social behaviour – executive summary) of the Constituency Managers Update report be approved and progressed accordingly; and
(3) the Constituency Manager be requested to invite officers from the Troubled Families Projects to give an update to a future meeting of the Committee.