Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Suite. View directions
An apology for absence was received from Cllr Lesley Boycott.
Minute 17. Crime & Disorder Scrutiny Committee review of re-offending
Cllr Brian Sangha advised that he had received a letter from the Chair of the Community Safety Partnership, Cllr Jeremy Kite, which thanked the Committee for their recommendations and assured the Committee that many of the recommendations are being taken forward.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised that Recommendation 5 had been addressed through the voluntary sector making use of the Community Payback scheme. Community work is being developed in the Northfleet North area.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised that Recommendation 2 and 6 would be dealt with in the report from Susan Moyse (Item 5. Reducing Re-offending Report).
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised the Committee that recommendation 1 had been addressed through an existing mentoring scheme delivered by the Probation Service and which Members would be able to join. The Strategic Manager, Community Safety stated that she would be happy to provide contact details to any Councillors who would like to get involved in the scheme.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised the Committee that Recommendation 1 had been addressed through the creation of a mentoring scheme by the probation service. The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) stated that she would be happy to provide contact details to any Councillors who would like to get involved in the scheme.
Cllr Senja Compton advised that she was in the process of joining the scheme and advised Members about how to get involved.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 26 April 2012 were signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were made.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) presented the Committee with a progress report on reducing re-offending on behalf of Susan Moyse (Kent Probation) which included the following:-
· Community Payback team continue to identify and implement projects to be undertaken by offenders who have unpaid work hours imposed by the Courts and Kent Probation continue to receive thanks and praise for work completed;
· ‘Prospects’, is a project run by Gravesend Probation to provide female offenders a safe and secure environment to address their offending behaviour away from a traditional Probation office setting;
· The Reducing Re-offending Sub-Group. The group has examined some of the pathways to re-offending and it was agreed that the two key priorities appear to be accommodation and employment. The sub-group agreed to focus attention on trying to tackle the issues linked to these two key priority pathways. It was agreed the Gravesham Business Breakfast Forum could be useful for gaining training/education contacts for this group.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised that the next meeting of the Reducing Re-offending Sub-Group was on 1 February 2013 and, if Members would find it beneficial, the Minutes of the meeting could be shared.
Cllr Senja Compton updated the Committee on her involvement in the ‘Prospects’ project.
Following questions from the Committee, the Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised that employment for ex-offenders at Bluewater was not currently being pursued but could be looked into. The current focus is on voluntary placements; however, the Strategic Manager (Community Safety) would investigate if the Probation Service is aware of any ex-offender that has secured employment in the Gravesham area.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised that the situation could get worse due to prison closures and increased competition for employment.
Chief Inspector Phil Painter advised that Gravesham Community Leisure Limited do employ ex-offenders and the new development at Swanscombe Peninsula will also involve the employment of people not in education, employment, or training (NEETS).
Following a question from a Member, The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised that the huge upcoming changes in the Probation Service would be managed through the robust relationship Gravesham currently has with the Probation Service.
Following a suggestion from a Member of the Committee, the Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised that local churches have had some involvement in their work but this could be pursued more proactively
Following a suggestion from a Member of the Committee, the Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised that she would liaise with the Probation Service to discuss the potential of providing references for those individuals involved in Community Payback activities.
The Chair passed on his thanks to the Strategic Manager (Community Safety) and her team for an excellent report.
The Chair added that it was good to see that the recommendations of the Committee have been addressed in a constructive and focussed way.
The Chair advised that it would be good to actively progress recommendation two:-
“The Community Safety Partnership should engage with the management of ‘Bluewater’ Shopping centre to encourage offenders to be considered for ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
Appendix 1: Evaluation Report
Appendix 2: Gravesham Street Champions Leaflet
Appendix 3a and 3b: Street Champions Welcome Pack
Appendix 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d: Primary Schools Newsletter Project (winning designs)
Appendix 5a, 5b, 5c: Secondary Schools Street Sign Project (winning designs)
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) introduced Members to Moira Frazer (Street Champion) and Sarah Hunt (Enforcement/Safer Place Officer) before presenting the Committee with an evaluation of the “My Place Matters Project” that came to its formal conclusion in October 2012.
In February 2011, Gravesham’s Community Safety Unit (CSU) submitted a bid for external funding from Clean Kent and Kent Fire and Rescue Service to support a project that aimed to tackle a number of environmental crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) issues that had been particularly prevalent in a geographical area within Riverside Ward for some time. Our bid was successful and the CSU was awarded a total of £9,612.96 to deliver the project in its entirety.
The project had four distinct strands: enforcement; visible improvements to the physical environment; community development and the piloting of the Gravesham Street Champions Scheme and wider education, awareness raising and promotion of social responsibility.
The key outcomes of the project include:-
• a reduction in recorded ASB incidents of 26.4% from 481 incidents recorded in April-September 2011 to 354 incidents in the same period in 2012;
• considerable efforts have been made to encourage local residents to report incidents such as vandalism and criminal damage and not to tolerate these issues. Whilst Gravesham has seen an average reduction of recorded criminal damage offences of 8.8%, Riverside Ward has seen an increase on 18.2% from 88 to 104 offences. It is possible that community development work and encouraging the reporting of even minor incidents, has contributed to this increase and therefore, it should not necessarily be viewed as negative;
• the Street Champions pilot has been very successful and at the time of writing there were 22 Street Champions recruited who take an active role in looking after their local community;
• educational work with local schools was fully embraced by those schools that took part. Newsletters and street signs created by both primary and secondary school children have been used as tools to raise awareness locally and to remind local people of the importance of taking pride in the area in which they live;
• both the Street Champions limb of this project and the schools work is being replicated in Northfleet North Ward as part of the Big Local Project;
• work with local schools is continuing with visits to schools planned throughout January and February 2013 by the CSU Safer Place Officer and the KCC Community Warden to educate on littering/litter enforcement alongside stranger danger awareness-raising;
• Street Champions now routinely organise litter-picking events themselves involving young people from the project area and also assist Community Payback Teams when they are carrying out work in this location;
• the joint working of a number of agencies and the diversity of members of the public who have been involved in the project led it to be nominated for the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI) Celebrating Success Award and whilst it did not win the award, ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
Presentation of the new 'PredPol' (Predictive Policing) software tool by Chief Inspector Painter
The Committee received a presentation from Chief Inspector Painter on the new ‘PredPol’ (Predictive Policing) software tool which is being piloted in Kent.
‘PredPol’ calculates its forecasts based on times and locations of previous crimes, combined with sociological information about criminal behavior and patterns. The technology was created at Santa Cruz University and has been tested in the Santa Cruz, California Police Department with promising results.
A map of an area (Gravesham in this case) is marked up with small red squares, each indicating a 500-by-500-foot zone where crimes are likely to take place. Police Officers spend at least ten minutes in each zone and deal with any matters that arise.
The Santa Cruz, California Police Department found that 15 minutes spent in a 500-by-500-foot zone held true for up to two hours.
Chief Inspector Painter advised that ‘PredPol’ is not a replacement for knowledge, skills and experience but is an accurate prediction of crime location and time. ‘PredPol’ is a focal point for effective local policing.
The Committee discussed the potential advantages and disadvantages of ‘PredPol’.
Some Members of the Committee expressed concern that the software would hinder the public’s connection with the police by only focussing on small areas. Some Members felt that the software was innovative and provided a tool for more effective use of resources.
The Chair thanked Chief Inspector Painter and Inspector Chris Carter for providing the Committee with an informative presentation.