Your Councillors

Communities, Housing & Environment Committee

12 February 2019

Is the final decision on the recommendations in this report to be made at this meeting?

No

 

2019-20 Strategic Assessment

 

Final Decision-Maker

Council

Lead Director or Head of Service

John Littlemore, Head of Housing and Community Services

Lead Officer and Report Author

James Walker, Community Safety Partnerships Officer

Classification

Public

Wards affected

All wards

 

 

Executive Summary

 

The purpose of the report is to update the Committee on the crime and disorder data over the past year and update the Committee on the performance of the Safer Maidstone Partnership.

 

 

 

This report makes the following recommendations to the final decision-maker:

 

1.    That the priorities recommended by the 2019 Strategic Assessment be endorsed for adoption by the Safer Maidstone Partnership for inclusion within the Community Safety Plan for 2019-20.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Safer Maidstone Partnership

January 14th 2019

CHE acting as the Crime and Disorder Overview and Scrutiny Panel

February 12th 2019



2019-20 Strategic Assessment

 

 

 

1.                       INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

1.1 The Safer Maidstone Partnership’s (SMP) Strategic Assessment is a report published each year as a statutory process under Section 17 Crime and Disorder Act (Formulation and Implementation of Strategy) Regulations (2007). This requires Local Authorities in conjunction with key partners to produce a detailed crime and disorder audit.  This identifies community safety issues, emerging trends and future priorities for the Partnership to focus on.

 

1.2 Under the Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Regulations 2009, every local authority is required to have in place a Crime and Disorder Committee with power to review and scrutinise, and make reports and recommendations, regarding the discharge by the responsible authorities of their crime and disorder functions; the Committee must also ensure:

 

·         Crime and Disorder Committees must meet at least once a year;

·         Responsible authorities or co-operating bodies (non-statutory CSP members) must provide such information requested by the Crime and Disorder Committee within the timescales identified in the request;

·         Crime and Disorder Committees can request the attendance of a representative of a responsible authority or co-operating body in order to answer questions;

·         Responsible authorities or co-operating bodies must respond to any recommendations made by the Crime and Disorder Committee within 28 days.

 

1.3 The strategic assessment takes information from a range of data sources from a range of partners, including: Kent Police; Maidstone Council; Kent County Council; Kent Fire & Rescue Service; National Probation Service; Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company; Maidstone Residents Survey; Crime Survey of England and Wales; Youth Offending Team; Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner; and other non-statutory partner agencies.

 

1.4 The current Community Safety Plan 2013-18 was a five year rolling document, which highlights how the SMP plans to tackle local community safety issues that are of the highest threat, risk and harm to the local community. We now need to develop a new plan which can be revised annually through reviewing information set out in the Strategic Assessment to ensure that current issues can be taken into account and used to direct the SMP’s strategy.

1.5 Last year’s Strategic Assessment raised the following priorities:

  • Domestic Abuse
  • Organised Crime Groups (including modern slavery)
  • Gangs & Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Substance Misuse
  • Mental Health

1.6 Following analysis of data from key partners and continuing to offer a joined focus with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Challenge; based on the information in the Strategic Assessment, it is recommended that the Committee confirm the following:

  • Domestic Abuse
  • Organised Crime Groups (including modern slavery)
  • Gangs & Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Substance Misuse
  • Mental Health

 

1.7 It is further advised that Substance Misuse be challenged and explored through other priorities due to the wide-reaching nature of the associated issues, focus should be offered through Gangs & Child Sexual Exploitation due to the prevalence of drug use in young people. In conjunction with this early intervention and education will continue in order that proactive work targets those at risk of gang affiliation so as to reduce the risk of engagement in gang behaviour.

1.8 Mental Health as a priority is a cross cutting theme that can be seen to affect and bear influence on the other identified priorities. Throughout the year the Community Safety and Vulnerability Group will be used to monitor and action aspects of this priority.

1.9 Throughout the year Domestic Abuse priority will offer to intervene earlier and focus in conjunction with the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Challenge, in order that victims are supported earlier and as such avoid moving into the high-risk category. As a result of this the need to convene interventions a such as MARACs and disruptive victim placements will reduce.

 

 

2.                       AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

2.1 Option one: Do nothing (not recommended).  This is not a recommended option as the data sourced from the Kent Safer Communities portal shows that some community safety trends have changed. Other emerging issues need to be tackled within the partnership and if not picked up by the SMP, this will potentially result in more victims of crime, especially amongst the most vulnerable of society.

 

2.2 Option two: Support the identified priorities for 2019-20 so they can be implemented and developed by the SMP (recommended). These priorities have been clearly evidenced and some also raised by other Community Safety Partnerships around the county. This assists with cross borough interventions and valuable information sharing around similar issues.

 

 

 

3.       PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

3.1 Option two is recommended. Move forward with the acceptance and implementation of the listed priorities. These will be delivered under the umbrella of the Safer Maidstone Partnership.  The annual Strategic Assessment and subsequent refresh of the Partnership Plan demonstrate that issues do change and even emerge between assessments.  Often this is as a result of partnership working targeting specific issues or crime types. It also shows that keeping up to date with current issues allows partners to be at the forefront of innovation and try to keep within one step of the perpetrators of crime.

 

 

 

 

4     RISK

 

4.1 The Strategic Assessment and Community Safety Partnership Plan set out our priorities and how they will be delivered, informing the Council’s risk registers and risk appetite. The Council has a corporate risk register which will highlight any actions from the documents.

 

 

 

5.    CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

5.1 The Strategic Assessment has been sent out to members of the SMP for consultation.  These comments have been carefully considered and the reports updated accordingly in line with the desired direction of the majority of the partnership. The comments mainly related to specific wording within the documents and changes made to avoid confusion or misrepresentation of data. No further feedback was received in the two weeks following the SMP meeting.

 

 

6.    NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

6.1 Following final approval from Council and implementation of the decision, the Strategic Assessment will be disseminated to all partners for their information.  The Partnership Plan which will be completed by the SMP and its actions will be fed through the priority subgroups.  This year’s Police & Crime Commissioner’s community grant has to date not been announced.  However, as and when this is done; it will then be advertised externally. Part of the criteria for bids is their alignment with the SMP and PCC’s priorities and applications will normally need to submitted, sifted and a report sent to the PCC’s office for invoicing around March.       

 

 

 

7.    CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

The Community Safety Partnership Plan will contribute to the delivery of the Strategic Plan priorities: Keeping Maidstone Borough an attractive place for all – Providing a clean and safe environment and Encouraging good health and wellbeing.

Head of Housing and Community Services

Risk Management

Already covered in the risk Section.

Head of Housing and Community Services

Financial

All Community Safety Grant funding is allocated directly to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) who uses this money to target his identified priorities and support the ongoing delivery of the Crime Plans. Details for the 2019-20 funding has yet to be realised, last year the allocation was £40,814 (a 10% increase in the last two year’s allocations). 

However, the plans and strategies detailed within the plan will cover a wide range of services provided by the Council and partner agencies with the majority of activity being either mainstream funded or funded via other grants or allocations not directly allocated to community safety.

Section 151 Officer & Finance Team

Staffing

The priorities within the Plan cross cut the agencies that make up the Safer Maidstone Partnership. Delivery against the priorities will be via mainstream activity and any grant funding that the

borough is able to secure, including this year’s Community Safety Grant allocation.

Head of HR Shared Service

Legal

Sections 5 to 7 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (the 1998 Act), headed “Crime and Disorder Strategies”, require “responsible authorities” to comply with section 6 of the 1998 Act which states that “responsible authorities” shall formulate and implement;

a) A strategy for the reduction of crime and disorder in the area; and b) A strategy for combating the misuse of drugs, alcohol and other substances in the area; and c) A strategy for the reduction of reoffending in the area.

By virtue of section 5(1)(a) of the 1998 Act, the Council is the “responsible authority”. By completing an annual refresh of the Community Safety Plan based on the findings of a comprehensive Strategic Assessment, Maidstone is fulfilling its statutory requirement.

There are reputational, environmental, economic and legal risks to the Council for not proactively pursuing an improvement in crime and disorder levels. The recommendations in this report recognise the importance of constructive dialogue with the partner organisations comprising the Community Safety Partnership and also the importance of coordinated and collaborative working.

Head of Legal Partnership

Privacy & GDPR

None.

Legal Team

Equalities

The benefits of delivery against the plan will apply across the Maidstone borough, although by adopting an evidence based approach more benefit should be felt in areas where identified problems are greatest.

Policy & Information Manager

Environmental/Sustainable Development

None.

Head of Housing and Community Services

Community Safety

The Community Safety team is under the reporting line of the Community Partnerships and Resilience Manager. The focus is strongly on preventative

work while continuing to be co-located and working closely in partnership with the police and other community safety related partners.

Head of Housing and Community Services

Human Rights Act

None.

Head of Housing and Community Services

Procurement

None.

Head of Finance and Resources

Asset Management

None.

Head of Housing and Community Services

 

 

 

 

8.      REPORT APPENDICES

 

The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

·               Appendix 1: SMP Strategic Assessment 2019 - 20