Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Warspite Room, Council House

Contact: Jamie Sheldon  Email:


No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To sign and confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 17 September 2021.

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The minutes of the meeting that took place on 17 September 2021 were signed as a true and accurate record subject to the following change:


Councillor Hackett raised concerns in relation to dangerous driving on roads in Devon just outside of the DMP area which had caused fatalities in riders and horses.


Declarations of Interest

Members will be asked to make any declaration of interest in respect of items on this agenda.

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There were no declarations of interest.


Public Questions

To receive questions from (and provide answers to) members of the public that are relevant to the panel’s functions.


Questions should be no longer than 100 words and sent to Democratic Support, Plymouth City Council, Floor 3, Ballard House, West Hoe Road, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ or


Questions must be received at least 5 complete working days before the meeting.

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Q1 - In light of the murder of Sarah Everard, and subsequent conviction and sentencing of Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer, will the Chief Constable guarantee that all officers will undertake a psychological profile test to reduce the risk of rogue individuals presenting a risk to the public?


The Police and Crime Commissioner needed to be assured that the Chief Constable was delivering the highest moral and ethical standards. The Chief Constable was responsible for the employment of all police officers and police staff.


The Chief Constable applied the national vetting process in accordance with the national Authorised Professional Practice, issued by the College of Policing. Those processes were subject to a National thematic inspection by HMICFRS at the direction of the Home Secretary. There were no requirements for a psychological test.


All police officers worked in a position of trust and as such every recruit went through a thorough vetting stage as part of their application process. This had been a nationally prescribed process and all Forces followed the same guidance. This included disclosing any convictions, motoring offences, outstanding charges or court summons and details about their family and friends for example, to ensure that they aren’t vulnerable to extortion or blackmail. The vetting process also assesse all applicants against the College of Policing's Code of Ethics, which considered a wide range of factors.


For clarity there were 3 different types of vetting: Police Vetting, National Security Vetting and Non Police Personnel Vetting.


The police vetting processes were most relevant to the question. There were two levels of police vetting, a basic standard called Recruitment Vetting (RV) and an enhanced level called Management Vetting (MV).


RV - This was the standard level of vetting required by every member of the force whether they were a police officer, member of police staff, special constable or PCSO. No one could join the force until they had been vetted to that level. The checks conducted were comprehensive and included Force intelligence systems, address, I/D, finance, relatives and social network sites. The vetting unit conducted all necessary enquiries, conducted a vetting interview where necessary and the force vetting manager or Force Vetting officers decided whether clearance was granted or refused. Officers and members of staff required this level of vetting throughout their service with the force.


MV - MV is a misleading national term, it meant an enhanced level of police vetting and was nothing to do with management but was required for officers or staff in ‘designated posts’. These were posts judged by the Force Vetting Manager to be particularly sensitive or critical for a number of reasons e.g. members of Special Branch, firearm officers, officers and staff involved in major crime investigation or covert police work. The vetting unit conducted all MV vetting enquiries which were extensive and included family members, all relevant databases, financial checks and a compulsory vetting interview. Once granted a MV clearance was subject to annual reviews and aftercare procedures. Persons in those ‘designated posts’ who  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.


Commissioner's Update Report pdf icon PDF 262 KB

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Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner provided an update to the panel and highlighted the following key points:


The plan focuses on four priorities; serious violence; anti-social behaviour; road safety and drugs.


The Street Safe online tool allowed residents of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to go onto a map and pinpoint where they do not feel safe. It was requested to Councillors in attendance at the Panel to promote this with their residents to enable to a true and accurate picture of places where people do not feel safe.


81 ideas from the public had been submitted to help achieve Vision Zero and how the public could keep themselves safe on the roads. These ideas were being triaged and then put forward to the Vision Zero Board meeting. 


A member of the public submitted video footage of dangerous driving to the Police as part of Operation Snap. This submission was the first that involved dangerous driving around a horse. The Commissioner encouraged road users to submit footage where dangerous driving had occurred.


Funding had been secured in the relation to the Plymouth Recovery from the tragic events in Keyham. Funding would be received from government, however the Police had already been spending the money to avoid delay.  £514,092 would be received for Community Policing; £308,360 received for Safer Places which would build on the Safer Streets scheme; £182,721 would be received for support for victims.


A passing out parade for tri-service officers had taken place. This had been the first time in which the posts were open to the public for recruitment.


A volunteer event had taken place in November at St Mellion. Councillor advocates, independent custody visitors, lived experienced volunteers, community speedwatch and neighbourhood watch had all been invited to the event which had been attended by the Deputy Chief Constable. The Commissioner thanked all volunteers for their continued service to the communities of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 


Nicola Allen, Treasurer and Chief Finance Officer advised Panel of some budget announcements and made the following points:


The Spending Review had been announced on 27 October 2021, Devon and Cornwall had been given indication of three years of funding. 


The review showed a commitment for the final recruitment of 8,000 officers as part of the national uplift. Money had been allocated for programmes to reduce crime and economic crime. 


Further money had been allocated from the Ministry of Justice to deal with the backlog within Crown Courts and Civil Courts as a result of already having a backlog and then the subsequent pressures on this due to the pandemic.  More money would be allocated to Victims Support and specific reference had been made to sexual violence and domestic abuse funding for victims.


Within the Law Office department, more money would be allocated to the Crown Prosecution Service


Members discussed:


Over the last four years Police and Crime Commissioners had been given additional flexibilities over and above those given to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.


Serious Violence Prevention Partnership: Creating Safer Futures in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly pdf icon PDF 189 KB

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Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner provided an update to the panel and highlighted the following key points:


The Government funds violence reduction units, however Devon and Cornwall were not part of this funding due to not meeting the threshold which focussed on the number of incidences at A&E with a bladed weapon. The outcome had resulted in the force using money from the uplift in Council Tax a few years ago to fund its own serious violence prevention programme.


The first 12 months of the programme was to understand the scale and range of violence across the peninsula. Data had been collated from various partners, not just the Police force, this resulted in a strategic needs assessment which had been the basis going forward. The Commissioner advised Panel that Local Authority partners were happy that the Police force were able to carry out this research with them and for them, to enable them to deliver on their serious violence duty.


The main aim for the programme had been to break the cycle of violence; it was recognised that if a child had been brought up in a violent household they were more likely to also become a violent person. Operation Encompass had been set up to advise schools before 9am, where a child had been a witness to or been in a household that had a domestic incident the night before.


The Programme had 9 areas of focus to tackle serious violence and the Commissioner advised that herself and the Chief Constable had visited the Dracaena Centre, a community hub in Falmouth. The programme had been funding a six week programme which would work with young people referred from secondary schools in Cornwall to provide them with a range of preventative and aspirational experiences and support.


The Serious Violence Prevention programme had provided funding to Plymouth’s Youth Offending service to increase Speech and Language Therapy provision. It was recognised that the average youth offender had a reading age of a nine year old and would find it difficult to express themselves in order to turn their lives around.  


Plymouth Street Games provided free or low cost sports sessions across the city to young people aged 11 to 25. The Project would place particular emphasis on youth leadership to enable participants to thrive in an environment focussed on fun, enjoyment and social interaction. 


Local Authority’s would be invited to a large event in January 2022 with the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner; to launch how they would work together to deliver the serious violence duty.


Members discussed:


A few schemes had been funded by the programme with the aim of scaling this up across the peninsula. If the Street Games initiative in Plymouth proved to be a success this would be rolled out across the peninsula.


The Panel noted the report.  



End to End Rape Review and Support for Victims of Sexual Violence pdf icon PDF 223 KB

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Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner provided an update to the panel and highlighted the following key points:


The Government had apologised for poor performance with regards to rape convictions and more must be done.


The report showed £2.1 million commissioning for sexual violence support services this year through a combination of local funding, Ministry of Justice funding and money from the government. When combined through the OPCC’s investments on domestic abuse services and government funding on Safer Streets a total of £3.9 million a year had been invested to tackle sexual violence and domestic abuse as well as supporting victims of those crimes. 


The government’s own review showed a sharp decrease in prosecutions nationally since 2016/17. The national estimate was that 1.8% of the population aged 16 to 74 were victims of rape or sexual assault in 2019-20. The peninsula’s strategic needs assessment equated this to 23,400 victims within Devon and Cornwall; 18,000 women and 4,600 men. Reported rapes in Devon and Cornwall had increased, although the Office for National Statistics considered this to be an increase in reporting rather than an increase in prevalence.


The Commissioner advised that she was committed to ensuring the right actions were taking place in Devon and Cornwall and to work on preventing future offences occurring.


The South West Forensics team had been given a new mobile unit which would enable the team to travel to victims to inspect digital devices.


The Commissioner highlighted that the Panel are able to scrutinise her in respect of the strategic direction, influence of partners, robustly holding the Chief Constable to account for Police performance and the commissioning of high quality of support for victims.


The Commissioner highlighted to Panel members that Devon and Cornwall is the only Police force outside of the force in London that has a 10 year contract for victim support. This would provide stability and clarity for victims in Devon and Cornwall. 


Members discussed:


The figure of 23,400 victims is not wholly correct and that at least 50% of cases go unreported. The Panel would want an update every six months following on from the government’s commitment to publishing their update every six months on their review.


The need for more perpetrator programmes to tackle prevention of further incidents occurring;


The requirement to bring down the median wait time of 114 days for victims waiting for therapy as a result of rape and sexual abuse. The Chair, Councillor Croad requested a KPI on this in order to monitor the progress of reducing the wait time;


Victims can refer themselves online to Sexual assault referral centres and would be forensically examined right away without having to report the incident to Police. Victims would have access to independent sexual advisors through the process. If a victim was an historic reporter they would be able to go to a SARC and receive support from the independent sexual advisors. 


It was recognised that due to the critical importance of this area that services  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


Monitoring the Progress of the Police and Crime Plan 2021-25 pdf icon PDF 238 KB

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Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner provided an update to the panel and members discussed:


The need to monitor and reduce the wait times for the 101 and 999 telephone numbers. It was recognised that continuous failure to reduce the time could impact people reporting crime to the Police. The Chief Constable is aware that this is an area of focus during this term of office. Some Councillors had the opportunity to take part in a scrutiny of the 101 and 999 service with issues such as technical, staffing and the increase in 999 calls having had an impact on the service.


There had been an increase in staffing of 22 people as part of the Council Tax uplift for the control room however the impact had not been effective in reducing call times. The Commissioner encouraged members of the public to report crimes via the online web portal or through the online web chat, if their preferred method of calling 101 for non-urgent crimes had been delayed. 


The Councillor Advocate scheme had been set up to provide access to local policing. If a resident had a local issue this could be raised through their Councillor who had privileged access to their local inspector. 


Local Police stations would be opened to the public and have a Police Enquiry Officer. The opening times would not include a 24 hours a day 7 days a week service but could be flexible for the Force to achieve. It was highlighted by the Commissioner that the opening times would need to be highly advertised to the public to enable a success in the implementation of the project. 


Devon and Cornwall Police service had signed up to the single online home national police website. The implementation of the website would be shared to Councillors and would provide users a better experience to deal with their enquiries. 


Panel noted the report.



Complaints Against the Police and Crime Commissioner Received Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act pdf icon PDF 146 KB

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Frances Hughes, Chief Executive for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner provided an update to members which advised:


One complaint had been received in the last reporting period and the Office had been completing background work in relation to the complaint. The complaint had been delegated to Frances Hughes from the Chair and Frances would be in consultation with the Chair with regards to the outcome. 



Work Programme - to follow

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Members discussed the work programme and agreed to:


·         Replace the wording from PCSO teams to Neighbourhood teams

·         Merge Public Contact, 101 and re-opening of front desks

·         Add ‘County Lines’

·         Merge Councillor Advocate and Youth Projects

·         Change ‘Culture of Policing’ to ‘Police Legitimacy’

·         Remove Public Health Commissioning from the work programme