Agenda and draft minutes
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Apologies for Absence
An apology for absence was received from Cllr Elizabeth Mulheran; Cllr Lyn Milner acted as her substitute.
An apology for absence was also received from Cllr Leslie Pearton.
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, 7 October 2021were agreed and signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest.
Rachel Westlake, a member of the KCC Commissioning Team provided the Committee with an informative presentation on how Kent & Medway Commissioned Services were tackling the issue of domestic abuse, the figures of domestic abuse for Gravesham and the Services in place to help the victims
The presentation has been published and be accessed through the below link:
Following the presentation, Members had their questions answered:
· The team were seeking to strengthen the voice of survivors of domestic abuse including the voices of survivors who may not have access to the support services available or weren’t aware of them. Those people abused that had disabilities were especially vulnerable and often were not capable of seeking support; in many cases the team would work with social care teams as they were best placed to report cases of abuse of disabled people in their care as well as being able to refer their patients to the relevant support services
· Within the presentation, there was a link to the Access Needs Assessment; that Assessment gave a full breakdown of the domestic abuse data including the types of domestic abuse reported and the percentage of domestic abuse cases reported in each ethic group
· There was further information on domestic abuse in Asian groups in the Access needs Assessment; in addition, the team were also looking to run a professional campaign and work with local community figures/professionals to raise awareness of domestic abuse in different groups. Rachel Westlake thanked Cllr Rana, Cllr Hayre and Cllr Aslam for their offer of assistance with contacting Gravesham Asian groups
· Prior to Covid, successful events were organised by the Council and covered a range of issues such as forced marriage and modern slavery. The event was usually held in conjunction with Kent Police and support services and was usually attended by around 350 women and girls from all ages in the local Asian population. A similar event was planned to be held in March 2022 and translators and interpreters would be in attendance to make the event more accessible and allow for potential victims who couldn’t speak English to be engaged with. Kent Police and the KCC Commissioning Team would also be part of the event
· There was a link between poverty/lower income bracket and higher amounts of reported domestic abuse however domestic abuse affected all types of people and often more affluent areas had hidden victims of abuse
· Current figures for domestic abuse victims coming forward was not available but Rachel Westlake agreed to contact PCSO’s in order to get further details
· The Strategic Manager attended the Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) meeting this morning; the partners were notified of the domestic abuse work undertaken over the last twelve months. It was noted that the Council had worked more closely with male victims that were reluctant to come forward and had tried to break the cycle
· Two-year funding for ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
The Committee were provided with an up-to-date picture of recorded domestic abuse occurring in the Borough together with the likely impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The report also considered how Gravesham’s experience compared to that seen in other parts of Kent and joint work being carried out by the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) to support victims and their families.
The Strategic Manager went through the report in detail and outlined key points for Members to note.
The Strategic Manager and Rachel Westlake fielded questions from the Committee and explained that:
· The KCC officer who led on media had been in touch with Southeastern and they agreed to display the service posters for domestic abuse on Southeastern property all over the County. This builds upon the securing of space by GBC officer Dorota Trapl at Gravesend Railway Station during the 16 Days of Action in 2021.
· The next iteration of KCCs communication plan was being drawn up and Rachel Westlake agreed to raise Cllr Milner’s suggestion of putting up domestic abuse posters on Gravesham’s new Bus Hub and bus stops around the Borough
· It was known by the Council and KCC that summertime and football events in conjunction with alcohol consumption were key times when domestic abuse was at a higher level; some events were planned around important events such as the World Cup and work would be undertaken to support victims during the summer months
· The Council had not created any literature for parents advising them what not to do in front of their children i.e., no swearing or abusive behaviour; the Strategic Manager liked the idea though and advised that it could be looked into as part of the preventative work for people that were at risk of committing domestic abuse or who had already committed domestic abuse. The leaflets would challenge behaviour that could be detrimental to children and influence behaviour in later life
· The team still needed to conduct an assessment of the successfulness of the 16 Days of Action project, what impact it had, how many people sought support for domestic abuse and several other questions. During and following the project there were no inquiries from members of staff suffering from domestic abuse but different colleagues had remarked on the effectiveness of the material circulated
· Rachel Westlake advised that her quarter three reports would include information on who came forward to seek support following the 16 Days of Action project; once the information was analysed it could be fed back to Committee Members
Observations by a Member were noted by the Committee:
The Chair thanked the Strategic Manager for a comprehensive report.
The Committee were provided with the findings of the Knife and Serious Youth Topic Review
and recommendations for future Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP) activity in its multi-agency approach to addressing this issue.
The Assistant Director (Communities) introduced the report and highlighted a typo in the group membership in the report; it should read Cllr Elizabeth Mulheran not Ashenden in the group membership. The Assistant Director (Communities) agreed to amend the typo.
Cllr Rana, as Chair of the Review Group, guided members through the report and explained the reasons for the recommendations made by the Review Group:
Cllr Rana added that he was disappointed that a PCSO attended the PACT meetings as he felt that a working Police Officer would have given better weight to the meeting and been able to provide answers to questions asked by attendees.
Cllr Rana asked that another sub-group meeting be scheduled for the future and attended by the group members, Police officers and youth leaders in the community. The aim of the meeting would be for the Police and youth leaders to report to the group what was happening with knife crime, what was the cause of knife crime and what active measures the Council could take to prevent further knife crime. Those areas needed to be discussed before the way forward was discussed.
The Assistant Director (Communities) advised that a further meeting would be scheduled with a multi-agency approach; the outcome of that meeting will be reported to the Crime & Disorder Scrutiny Committee and once recommendations were agreed they could be fed back to the CSP.
The Assistant Director (Communities) further added that the Town Centre Review sub-group would also be underway soon and a report would now have to be brought on the findings of that group to the October meeting of Crime & Disorder Scrutiny Committee.
In response to a Member’s concern, the Assistant Director (Communities) advised that the Strategic Manager had been looking at knife crime reports in local media and creating a comparison of incidents.
The Chair advised that he was happy with the proposed dates for the review.
Kent Police Update
The Committee were given an oral update by Inspector James Beautridge from Kent Police.
· Knife crime was not a serious problem in Gravesend; there had been a few isolated incidents, but they weren’t any random attacks, and it should not be a serious concern for residents. In July/August last year there were three or four isolated incidents within a week of each other which caused the concern, reported by local media, but they weren’t linked and following that week there weren’t any knife crime incidents
· The issue was looked at with Chief Inspector Dann and CROKUS was instigated in the Pelham and Central wards. Police were highly visible in those wards providing reassurance to the local residents
· Section 60 search powers were enacted on weekends in the relevant wards which deterred people form carrying weapons and the feedback from social media was that local residents were happy and felt safer seeing Police officers walking around Town. The search powers were reviewed and found to be proportionate; the effect was immediate, and the search powers were scaled back over summer 2021 as there were no further incidents. Night-time patrols were still carried out
· Police conducted licence checks with violence against women at the forefront of checks and work was carried out around drinks spiking
· Knife arches that detected metal and needles were taken into Town and given to door staff; door staff could refuse entry to people who did not walk through the arches or submit to a search prior to entering a premises. Knife wands that detected metal and needles were also handed to door staff
· Police spoke to door staff about drink spiking concerns and general violence in the Town Centre which was well responded too. The night-time patrols made use of extras funding and there were more resources deployed to the Town Centre on Friday and Saturday nights. Officers looked for possible troublemakers early on in the weekend to mitigate the chances of them causing more trouble in the evening and early hours
· Weapon offences were down by 29.5%; the drop showed that the forces tactics were working effectively
· Youth Engagement Officers and the Violence Unit had been attending local schools to give talks and deter gang culture. The Police had been working with Charlton Football Club to bring sports to deprived areas
· A Sergeant on North Kent Police was a qualified boxing coach, and he was planning on creating a boxing club for local youths run by the Police
· Gravesend was not a dangerous Town and more information needed to be pushed out on all social media platforms to show the work the Police had been doing and that Gravesend was safe Town to visit
· The Town team consisted of three PC’s and one PCSO; from January to September 2021, they arrested a significant number of offenders with the majority being charged and sentenced. The team targeted offenders that had been released from prison, visiting their address and welcoming them back to the ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
Minutes of the latest published Kent & Medway Police and Crime Panel
Below is the link to the latest published set of minutes for the Kent & Medway Police and Crime Panel:
The Committee were presented with the minutes of the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel meeting held on 17 June 2021.
The Committee noted the minutes.