Agenda item

Gravesham CSP Draft Community Safety Strategy


The Committee were provided with the draft Community Safety Strategy 2021-24 that had been prepared by the Council’s Community Safety Unit (CSU) on behalf of the newly established Gravesham Community Safety Partnership (CSP). The Strategy provided the foundation for the direction of multi-agency community safety activity in the Borough over the next three years.


The Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) guided Members through the detailed report and highlighted key points from the Community Safety Strategy.


Members noted that the following had been identified as the five key priorities for the Strategy; a detailed rationale for each priority was listed in the report:


  • Violent crime including domestic abuse
  • Persistent anti-social behaviour and environmental crime
  • Preventing offending and reducing re-offending
  • Protecting vulnerable people and strengthening communities
  • Communication and engagement


The Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) advised Members that as it was no longer a joint Strategy and Gravesham’s partner representatives had total control, the fifth priority ‘Communication and Engagement’ was able to be added in. The Council felt strongly about the priority as it would improve communication between Gravesham’s partners and the public, improve communicating the effect on the Borough that the Partnership’ work has  achieved so far, further report Gravesham’s accomplishments and provide increased methods of listening to what the public wanted.


The Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) was waiting to hear final feedback from the other partners to see what they wanted included in the Strategy and following that the Community Safety web pages would be updated as they had expired since the end of the previous partnership.


The findings of the public consultation are also summarised in the Strategy and would be included in the new Community Safety web pages.


Following questions and comments from Members, the Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) explained that:


  • The Council had information readily available on the website informing the public where/how to report crime and ASB; if it was low level anti-social behaviour or a historical crime then the public are  encouraged to report it to 101. However, if it was a serious crime or an incident occurring presently with an immediate  risk of harm then the public are  encouraged to call 999. If a member of the public is concerned about reprisals, then they could contact Crime Stoppers and report the crime completely anonymously
  • At Gravesham Council events, there was usually a CSU stall and the safety shop usually runs for a week in December where information is provided to the public on how to report various different types of crimes and crime prevention advice is offered
  • The CSU team were very conscious of the fact that a  percentage of domestic abuse victims were men, and it was recognised that there was likely a lot of underreporting of domestic abuse especially from men due to the stigma around it. Much of the work being undertaken by the CSU team was around encouraging domestic abuse victims to come froward and seek help; the point was stressed to Members that the CSU did not differentiate based on gender, any and all victims would receive as much help as they needed to escape domestic abuse and receive due care. The CSU team would continue to raise awareness of domestic abuse so that not only could it be prevented but staff could also recognise the signs of someone being abused
  • Events purely for male victims had been run in the past but the Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) agreed to look into creating more promotional work to encourage men to come forward
  • The Operational Manager (Community Safety Unit) and the Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) recently met with Natalie Brown who was the lead officer for Safeguarding and discussed the rollout of the Safeguarding training programme for Members and staff. She was working on it and had completely reviewed and revised the previous Safeguarding Policy that was in place; the training programme is being amended to include training on how to spot the signs of safeguarding issues as well as possible cases of modern slavery. It was important that Members and staff were provided with the training as soon as possible and work was underway to get it into the Member training schedule for 2021-22
  • The Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) attended the first meeting of a new Domestic Abuse Partnership Board set up by KCC a few weeks ago and was also asked to attend a media group meeting as she raised the issues disabled people faced and the need for engagement and effective communication with the disabled population. As Cllr Harding had raised the points regarding disabled victims, the Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) agreed to send him the minutes of that Board meeting. The minutes would also reflect the discussions held on the pieces of work the Board wanted to do with local charities; the aim was to create a calendar of friendly events throughout the year in order to raise awareness. Events such as Disability Awareness week would also be opportunities for communities to be reached out to that found it more difficult to access services


The Acting CSU Inspector, Kent Police agreed with the points made regarding reporting crime and expanded further; the public should call 999 if there was imminent danger to themselves or someone else, call 101 for general crime reporting, report it online through the Police website or contact a force operator through the web live chat where they would provide assistance and transfer people to the correct department.


With regards to ensuring the safety of callers/witnesses to crimes, the Acting CSU Inspector, Kent Police advised that there were several different things the Police could do such as the most extreme like putting a witness into a witness protection programme. On the lower end of the scale, CCTV cameras could be installed on a property as well as alarms and patrols by uniformed officers. The Acting CSU Inspector, Kent Police advised that it was normal for there to be a level of fear of reporting crimes, but the public were encouraged to report anything they thought could be of interest even if they did it completely anonymously as the smallest bit of information could be crucial in some cases.


The Chair thanked the Strategic Manager (Community Safety Unit) for the comprehensive summary of the report and the hard work that had gone into making the Strategy.


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