Agenda and minutes
Apologies of absence were received from Cllr Samir Jassal, Chief Inspector Tracey Quiller (Kent Police) and Melanie Norris.
The minutes of the meeting held on 16 February 2016 were signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interests
Cllr John Knight declared an “Other Interest “as he is a volunteer for the victim support service.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) presented a report to the Committee that informed Members of work that is taking place locally to raise awareness and encourage the reporting of hate crime as part of a wider programme contributing to community cohesion. It also ensured that Members were fully apprised of Central Government’s new Action Plan for tackling hate crime as a national priority and how the Council is operating proactively to fulfil its community safety responsibilities by supporting GBC’s diverse population.
At the last Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Committee held in February 2016, Members considered the proposed priorities that had been identified by the Dartford and
Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) for inclusion in its new three-year Community Safety Strategy. The Committee agreed that hate crime should be included in the Strategy; officers reported the Committee’s recommendation to the CSP and tackling hate crime was subsequently incorporated into the Strategy within its key objective, ‘Protecting and Strengthening Communities’.
The Strategic Member (Community Safety) highlighted the following key points to the Committee:
· Page nine of the report sets out the National position on Hate Crime and the range of actions to be delivered between now and 2020
· One of the biggest issues is that Hate Crime is severely underreported with only about 25% of these crimes being reported in the whole country
· Page 11 showcases the different forms of Hate Crime which include much more than just racial discrimination:
- Race or ethnicity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Transgender identity
- Mate crime is also on the increase where offenders specifically target vulnerable elderly people or people with disabilities to ‘befriend’ them in order to win their trust and confidence only to exploit them or their property
· The government has recently released new guidance on strengthening the sentencing of an individual carrying out a hate crime to make people understand the seriousness of what they are doing and what potential criminal charges they should expect to receive
· Since the previous Committee, proposed work and strategies have been taken to the Community Cohesion Group that consists of representatives from Kent Police, Kent Equality Cohesion Council and other community groups
External funding was received from the Home Office
which allowed GBC to give three days of Home Office accredited
training to approximately 45 staff from different departments and
other local agencies on Ideologies (Violent and Non-Violent
Extremism) and Far Right Extremism that was incredibly
well-received; due to this an extra two days of training later this
month (October 2016) has been funded from money given by the Police
& Crime Commissioner’s allocation 2016-17
· There are very clear polices in place for staff members if they felt they had been targeted by a hate crime but less for the Public; they are only advised in the first instance to contact the Police but many simply will not due to reasons including lack of confidence or nervousness with authority
· The intention is to improve the signposting of victims visiting the Civic ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) presented the Committee with a report that provided a brief overview and details of new or planned legislation that may be of interest to the Committee’s Members in view of areas of community safety activity that have been considered by the Committee at previous meetings or in respect of which details have been specifically requested by Committee Members.
The Strategic Manager (Community Safety) advised Members the report outlined the increased sentencing for drivers caught texting and a summary of key points of psychoactive substance misuse.
Following Members questions the Strategic Manager (Community Safety) and Inspector Chris Carter, Kent Police clarified that:
· As of yet there is not a strategy for a crackdown on catching texting drivers but one may be being formulated in line with next year’s new legislation
· In 2015, 43 tickets were issued; 46 tickets have been issued this year by officers in the Gravesham area with a further 6 being caught by cameras, presumably static cameras
· When the government announces new regulations there will be a THINK! Campaign to deter people from texting and driving; materials will be released closer to the time and signs will be put on roads around Gravesend
· The License to Kill event is supported by GBC which talks about the dangers of driving to the last year of sixth forms in schools around Gravesham
· Trading Standards are aware of the shops in Gravesend that are selling illegal tobacco and are working closely with the Kent Police Drug Liaison Officer
· Kent Police have had no additional reporting of crack cocaine use in Lord Street car park however Members are encouraged to report anything they hear to the Police
· Kent Police are fully aware of the illegal activities around the Clocktower and they are being monitored
Members noted the information contained in the report
Members were shown the minutes of a meeting of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel held in the Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone on Tuesday, 14 June 2016.
Members noted the information contained in the report, that the council is represented on the Panel and that the minutes of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel meeting would be brought to future meetings of the Committee.