Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions
Contact: Committee Section Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, 27 October 2023 were agreed and signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
Community Safety Partnership - Response to C&D Topic Reports PDF 404 KB
The Assistant Director (Communities) explained to Members that following the completion of both the Knife Crime and Serious Youth Violence and Town Centre Crime Topic Reviews, the Committee agreed a series of findings and recommendations to be reported to the Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) at its next meeting.
The report provided Members with the response of the CSP to the recommendations made and the steps that were already being and would be taken to progress them further information on the recommendations could be found on pages 12 to 14 of the report.
The Assistant Director (Communities) further informed Members that at the previous night’s Community & Leisure Committee meeting, a report was considered on the new Serious Violence Duty Policy Statement. Members of this Committee may find that report interesting and were encouraged to read it as it outlined the responsibilities of the Council as a specified authority following the enactment of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 to work collaboratively to tackle serious violent crime. The Council would work closely with its partners through the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) to manage the Council’s obligations under that duty to tackle serious violent crime. The Crime & Disorder Scrutiny Committee will have a role in scrutinising how the CSP addresses this duty.
The Committee were happy with the responses to the recommendations by the Community Safety Partnership and Members that were on the Committee following the election in May were implored to ensure that the actions were correctly implemented.
The Chair added that Members was able to revisit areas previously considered at the Committee and discuss the topic reviews again in the future to consider any further actions required as well as monitor the progress of any outstanding actions.
The Strategic Manager (CSU) advised that a report detailing the work that had been achieved so far could be submitted to the Crime & Disorder Scrutiny Committee in October 2023.
Members noted the response of the CSP to the recommendations made by the Committee’s Topic Reviews.
The Committee were given an oral update on Police work in the Borough by Inspector James Beautridge from Kent Police.
The Inspector, Kent Police further outlined the following key points on various areas of crime:
· The overall level of violent crime in Gravesham remained low in relation to the other Boroughs in Kent but the media tend to increase the public’s safety fears of Gravesend with stories that weren’t factually true.
· There was one specific recent example of a serious crime which Members may already be aware off; a serious incident occurred in Parrock Street in which a knife was used, and a vehicle was set alight. Six offenders were arrested within the hour of the incident and four of them are currently in remand in prison awaiting a court date for their trial. In light of that incident, foot patrols with officers in uniform were increased in the area over the following few days to reassure the public and section 60 powers were enacted which allowed officers to search suspicious people in the town for any weapons.
Town Centre Policing
· Car theft rates had risen in the Town Centre related to a spate of specific incidents; the offender’s modus operandi was breaking the windows of cars and stealing valuables from within the car. The Town Centre Police Team conducted extensive inquiries with victims, acquired ring doorbell footage, CCTV footage and investigated any stolen bank cards. Following a week of those extensive inquires, the offender was identified and revealed to be a person travelling from London to Gravesend to commit the crimes; the offender was charged, sentenced and was now in prison
· An armed robbery occurred in Valley Drive; a man entered a shop and robbed the shop while brandishing a knife. The Town Centre Policing Team was deployed and within half hour of the crime, the suspect was located and is now in prison
· The Town Centre Police Team, consisting of two PC’s and two PCSOS, had made 58 arrests in the six months which amounted to 114 charges for a range of offences
· Some concern was raised by the public regarding the Town Centre Policing Teams being disbanded under the new Neighbourhood Policing Plan however that was not the case; the new town centre wards would still have a certain number of PC’s assigned to each ward, but it would be different officers than assigned currently. It would be a mixture of experienced officers and new recruits
Southern Valley Golf Course
· The site was abandoned, and the Police had received daily reports form residents that off road bikes were causing a nuisance on the site. Reassurance foot patrols had been carried out and since the site had been secured, there had been no more reports of nuisance off road bikes
· Officers had given talks to local schools on the dangers of selling and taking drugs, county lines exploitation and criminals using young people’s bank accounts to launder money. The feedback received from the schools ... view the full minutes text for item 52.
Kent Fire & Rescue Service update PDF 2 MB
The Committee were given a presentation on the operational activity and prevention work of the Kent Fire & Rescue Service in Gravesham for 2022-23.
The presentation had been published and could be accessed through the below link:
· Kent Fire & Rescue Service Presentation
Following the presentation, the Kent Fire & Rescue Service Managers answered Members’ questions:
· The Kent Fire & Rescue Service educated young people at schools and that included education on fire safety, misuse of flammables, the danger of fires and seasonal activity related to fires such as Halloween and bonfire night etc. The Area Manager for Dartford and Gravesham, KFRS was happy to look into the education schedule and see if schools were approached before Halloween/Fireworks Night to specially discuss the dangers of fireworks in order to deter ASB behaviour. Future education sessions at schools could also utilise Kent Police messaging around the dangerous use of flammable products
· The Building Safety Team were responsible for looking into premises where flammable products were being sold and were able to give advice to shop owners or warnings about the selling of age-related products to underage children. Members were encouraged to report any shops that they were concerned about selling age related products to underage children to the Building Safety Team. The contact information for the team was available through the Kent Fire & Rescue Service website
· The Building Safety Team carried out some work investigating problem premises last year with the Council
· Following the fire at the New Inn on Queen Street, the KFRS would have only been involved in the emergency phase, the building was then handed over to the responsible person during the recovery phase. Due to the building being Listed it required additional steps to be taken by the property owner which delayed any additional work being undertaken following the KFRS making the building safe. The building remains had to be preserved and experts were brought in to decide the best way forward without further damaging or destroying the building; options such as pushing in the walls and flattening the building were not allowed due to it being Listed. Preserving Listed Buildings was a very complicated process and would have been a reason for the delays in continuing any work to the building after the fire
· The Building Safety Team were aware of all the stacked-up tyres at the Canal Basin, and they had already visited the site and tested all of the hydrants. Staff from the Northfleet Station had revisited the site a week ago and taken further pictures of the stacked tyres and forwarded them to the Building Safety Team again so that they could continue to look into and determine what action could be taken
· Information sharing between organisations was essential in the long term and the Kent Fire & Rescue Service had a great relationship with the Council and the Community Safety Partnership
· The Kent Fire & Rescue Service would not refer to an injured party as a customer, they would be referred to as a casualty or a patient ... view the full minutes text for item 53.
Minutes of the latest published Kent & Medway Police and Crime Panel (and link to Full Agenda to be provided). PDF 302 KB
That the below link takes you to the agenda and minutes of the most recent meeting on 6 December 2022:
Agenda for Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel on Tuesday, 6th December, 2022, 10.00 am
The Committee were presented with the minutes of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel meeting held on Tuesday, 06 December 2022.
The Chair advised that the minutes of the most recent meeting held on 01 February 2023 were available on the KCC website. Cllr Mochrie-Cox was the Council representative on the Panel, and he was happy to take questions from Members to the Panel meetings.
The Committee noted the minutes.
To move, if required, that pursuant to Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 that the public be excluded from any items included in Part B of the agenda because it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted that if members of the public are present during those items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act. Part B Items likely to be considered in private.
Items likely to be considered in private
Resolved pursuant to Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 that the public be excluded during the following item of business because it was likely in view of the nature of business to be transacted that, if members of the public were present during this item, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.
Community Safety Partnership - Strategic Assessment
The Committee was reminded that the report was a confidential document, and no information was to be shared with anyone outside the Committee.
The Committee was provided with a Summary of Key Findings of the annual Strategic Assessment prepared on behalf of the Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP). The Assessment primarily considered levels of crime, anti-social behaviour (ASB) and other issues pertinent to community safety for the 12-month period ending 30 September 2022 and drew comparisons with levels recorded in both the years of the pandemic as well as the pre-pandemic year ending 30 September 2019. Gravesham’s position was considered against that of other Kent Districts and Medway and where possible, data had been provided by Council Ward to enable a better understanding of issues that may be more prevalent at a local level.
The Strategic Manager (CSU) advised that the data was six months out of date and provided Members with more recent figures.
The Committee held a robust discussion on the figures, the perception of Gravesend Town Centre and the need to promote the good work of the Police and the Council in order to make people feel safer about coming to the Town.
The Chai thanked the Strategic Manager (CSU) for a comprehensive report.