The Committee considered the report circulated with the agenda.
Mrs Dignum, the Community Safety Review Task and Finish Group (CSTFG) Chairman, presented the report. The CSTFG was fulfilling its annual statutory duty and had found that each year the issues were slightly different as the nature of society was constantly changing. The CSTFG received presentations from Mrs Bushby on crime from her viewpoint, and the following witnesses gave evidence Mrs Eileen Lintill (Council’s representative on the Police and Crime Panel), Mrs Emily King (Principal Manager Community Safety and Wellbeing, WSCC), and Chief Inspector Kris Ottery.
Mrs Dignum reported the following amendments:
· Page 29, third line of paragraph 3: ‘…running at 625,…’ should read ‘…running at 620,…’; and
· Page 26, Paragraph 5.14: ‘…experienced.’ Should read ‘…expected.’
Mrs Bushby was in attendance and thanked the CSTFG for its support concerning the Council’s community safety partnership (CSP) work. The Police Crime and Commissioner’s office had confirmed that the Council would receive funding again for community safety for a slightly reduced amount of £38,124. However, there had been plans for the Police Crime Commissioner to take a 20% cut on all the CSP funding to top slice and put into a separate fund, but it was decided not to do that this year, which showed how much the work all the CSPs were doing was appreciated.
The Committee made the following comments and received answers from Mrs Bushby to questions, including the following:
· Knife and drug problems in the District: Knife crime figures were relatively low compared to other districts. The office of the Police Crime Commissioner had successfully bid for early intervention project funding and the fact that this District had not been selected for receipt of this money indicated there were no significantissues in the District relating to County Lines and knife crime. Recreational drug use affected the night time economy anecdotally and was being dealt with by the night time economy providers, ChiBAC and Sussex Police working together. Whilst not such a significant issue as in Arun District, class A drugs did attract County Lines to the District and was being addressed by the Serious Crime Group.
· Attendance of Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner: It was not in the Task and Finish Group’s terms of reference to invite Katy Bourne to the meeting. Mrs Purnell, observing the meeting, added that it was the responsibility of the Sussex Police and Crime Panel to hold her to account;
· Crime in the North of the District: The Council’s Community Safety Officer was involved in a number of projects in the North of the District, but it was a case of prioritising. Cross border meetings had been re-introduced. The Communities Team was keen to raise the profile of the Country Watch Scheme, which had gone quiet recently. An issue concerning where to put resources was that crime in rural areas was often unreported. Mrs Dignum mentioned the Farm Watch and suggested that a question could be put forward at the next community safety review to see how well the scheme was working in the rural areas;
· Additional Police Officers: It was not known how many officers would be allocated to this District, but the remaining rollout of additional officers was likely to be PCSOs. Chichester would benefit additionally from being in a hub with Arun, as they had been allocated more officers.
· Sheep Theft National Increase: The Communities Team was not aware of any reports of large scale theft in the District. If it did become apparent, Sussex Police would investigate and warn farmers via the Country Watch scheme.
A proposal by Mr Potter to request a detailed account of how the Police Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, intended to spend the increase in precepts in the Chichester District was supported by the Committee.
The Committee thanked Mrs Bushby for her work and Mrs Dignum for her report.
1) That the required level of scrutiny of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) has been achieved;
2) That the performance of the CSP is good and that evidence of effective partnership working in the District had been demonstrated;
3) That next year’s review should focus on cybercrime, drugs and the impacts of any West Sussex County Council (WSCC) budget cuts on areas the Council may be responsible for (as outlined in paragraph 5.1(e) of the report); and
4) That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee asks the Police Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, for a detailed account of how her increase in precepts is being spent in the Chichester District.