Commissioner's Update Report
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
Over the last four years Police and Crime Commissioners had been given additional flexibilities over and above those given to others. For the three years of the CSR, Police and Crime Commissioners had been given the ability to go up to £10 per Band D equivalent property before the requirement to go to a referendum. The impact for Devon and Cornwall meant that £10 on a Band D property was 4.23% additional on their Band D equivalent. This would come back to the Panel in January for consideration and recommendations from the Commissioner.
Councillor Croad welcomed the announcement and implementation of the Domestic Abuse Act and the funding given.
The OPCC were awaiting the findings of the Police and Crime Commissioners review which would determine whether the role extends to Police, Crime and Fire. It was acknowledged that this would present additional difficulties for the South West due to differing County makeups.
Councillor Hackett queried whether the residents given dashcams from the OPCC understood what they were for in being pro-active in submitting evidence of dangerous drivers, or were the dashcams provided for their own personal use should they be involved in a collision. The dashcams provided an opportunity for those given the devices to supply video evidence of dangerous driving on the roads.
The ‘No Excuse’ campaign led by the Police on a weekend in Devon had led to 84 tickets being issued with cars seized that shouldn’t have been on the road.
The Vision Zero Partnership was an ambitious target that Government has not signed up to. The Commissioner had been delighted with the comments raised by Councillor Hackett in relation to Mike Joyce and the Councillor Advocate Scheme.
The additional Police Officers as part of the National uplift would be allocated to areas based on threat, risk and harm. The Commissioner would be scrutinising the allocation of Neighbourhood Beat Managers as part of the visibility side of policing.
The Commissioner had taken personal oversight of the Police resourcing challenges in Torbay and South Devon command unit. The Chief Constable had visited Torquay and met with the Leader of the Council in order to meet with residents and business owners to understand the impact that Crime had been having in the area. The Police and Crime Commissioner advised Panel that it was offered to the Chief Constable funding for overtime on crime centre policing in the interim before the uplift of officers. The Chief Constable had committed to visiting Paignton and Brixham before Christmas, for a walk through to understand the issues affecting Torbay.
It was acknowledged that there had been an issue with the Police force in relation to interim posts, which had been affected by promotions from within the force. The Commissioner had discussions with the Chief Constable with the possibility of using recently retired officers in a mentoring and buddying scheme for those staff in temporary posts.
Hate crime reporting would be published as a critical indicator. The Commissioner would look to include this information within the performance reports and would have a rolling three month update as opposed to an annual report which would not provide clear context.
The Government had changed statutory guidance to include evidence from a medical practitioner in relation to firearms licences. There had been concerns raised in relation to the pressures that this would place on the National Health Service and in particular General Practitioners. The Commissioner clarified that this would be for the government to negotiate at a national level.
It was acknowledged that there had been challenges with maintaining a number of police officers on the streets when someone had required custody in North Devon areas. The Commissioner also raised that there had been a bigger challenge in respect of places of safety.
Concerns were expressed in relation to the problems of housing for domestic abuse survivors in terms of the quality and location of the housing. The Commissioner highlighted a scheme that had been trialled in that prison inmates would construct a house under Probation and at the end of the construction, the accommodation would be provided to a vulnerable person. Local Authorities could take up this scheme if they identified some land and put the proposals forward to the Commissioner. The scheme would see a vulnerable person housed and purposeful work undertaken by a prison inmate.
At the Vision Zero Board meeting, Cornwall County Council brought forward their 20mph policy which allowed residents to put forward a request for a 20mph speed limit on their roads. Cornwall Council would endeavour to fulfil their request. This Policy had been put to the other authorities to identify if this could be a Policy that could be implemented across the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly region.
The Panel noted the report.