Agenda and minutes
An apology for absence was received from Cllr Rosemary Leadley and Cllr Derek Shelbrooke. Cllrs Les Howes and David Hurley attended as their respective her substitutes.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 12 October 2011 were signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were made.
Oral update on Community Safety Partnership Priorities 2012/13
The Strategic Manager, Community Safety reminded the Committee of the key priorities of the Community Safety Partnership:-
· anti-social behaviour and environmental crime (including criminal damage);
· violent crime and domestic abuse;
· theft and handling stolen goods;
· substance misuse;
· youth offending and the safety of young people;
· reducing re-offending.
The Strategic Manager, Community Safety circulated the key findings of the Strategic Assessment, December 2011 and the Kent Police Recorded Crime Statistics for Gravesham.
Members noted the steady downward trend in recorded crime in Gravesham since 2005/06, with reductions being achieved each year during this period of time. Over the course of these six years, total crime has almost halved or fallen by 49.3 per cent in the Borough – the greatest reduction in any Kent district.
The Strategic Manager, Community Safety informed the Committee of the increase in 2011/12 in Burglary (‘burglary dwelling’ by 21.2 per cent and ‘burglary other’ by 28.8 per cent) compared to the previous financial year.
The Committee requested that the Strategic Manager, Community Safety circulate in-depth Burglary data for Gravesham in a report format that provides trend analysis and details on where Members can get regular information/data if they want it.
The Chair suggested that detailed analysis of burglaries could be discussed at the next meeting of the Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee in October 2012.
The Committee noted that Community Safety funding had reduced by 20 per cent in 2011/12 and faced a 60 per cent reduction in the new financial year. The Strategic Manager, Community Safety explained that they had managed well with the 20 per cent reduction due to the good partnerships/relations with other agencies, but it was too early to judge the impact of the 60 per cent reduction.
Following a request from Members, the Strategic Manager, Community Safety stated that she would circulate the Kent Police response times for rural and urban areas.
The Committee thanked the Strategic Manager, Community Safety for the informative update on Community Safety Partnership Priorities 2012/13.
The Committee considered the findings of the Crime & Disorder Scrutiny Committee Review into re-offending.
Members discussed each recommendation in detail and offered their thoughts:-
Recommendation 1. The Council should consider setting up a ‘pilot voluntary scheme’ in which Councillors become ‘community mentors’ for offenders seeking employment, housing and support to reduce potential for re-offending.
The Committee supported this recommendation and felt that the proposed scheme was groundbreaking and commendable. Members did note that any participating ex?offender would have to genuinely want to change to fully benefit from the scheme.
Recommendation 2: The Community Safety Partnership should engage with the management of ‘Bluewater’ Shopping centre to encourage offenders to be considered for permanent and seasonal employment.
The Committee received an enhanced proposal from Cllr Rob Halpin that included the following suggestions:-
Could the Community Safety Partnership link with Lend-Lease Bluewater & Learning Shop to set itself an objective of 5-10 per cent of seasonal recruitment being ring-fenced for the provision of employment and development of offenders, both ex or existing offenders?
Gravesham has a link with the Sheppey Cluster prison that could provide the offenders or could be linked to the ex-offenders of North West Kent, providing the labour resource for part-time or full-time paid employment, which can generate new found confidence, motivation and self-worth within this challenging group.
The Committee supported this recommendation but felt that a set objective/target for the seasonal recruitment would not be necessary at this stage. Members also felt that the scope should be broadened to include local businesses in Gravesham.
Recommendation 3: The Community Safety Partnership should actively encourage enhanced data sharing between agencies to ensure early intervention and prevention of re-offending e.g. Gravesham Borough Council Housing Service attend regular meetings with the CSU to better understand accommodation needs of offenders.
The Committee supported this recommendation and noted the importance of data sharing between agencies.
Recommendation 4: The Community Safety Partnership should consider asking Dartford and Gravesham Councils to make more use of the Community Payback Scheme to undertake voluntary work on ‘short lived’ specific projects which do NOT replace permanent employees.
Recommendation 5: The Community Safety Partnership engage with the voluntary sector to explore opportunities to extend the Community Payback Scheme to assist community groups.
The Committee considered Recommendation 4 & 5 together and concluded that both should be fully supported with the following addition to Recommendation 4:-
An agreement should be made with the relevant Unions to create a list of essential projects that are not going to be achieved due to resource issues. This list will form the work of the Community Payback Scheme.
Recommendation 6: The Community Safety Partnership considers proactively supporting new initiatives aimed at reducing re-offending, such as the ‘Prospect’ project which is targeted at female offenders.
Cllr Senja Compton outlined the successful work that ‘Prospect’ had completed in Chatham and Dartford. ‘Prospect’ help female offenders back into society through the provision of education and training. ‘Prospect’ intend to open a centre in Gravesham and Cllr Compton confirmed that she ... view the full minutes text for item 17.