Agenda and draft minutes

Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel - Monday 24th June 2024 10:00am

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Mandy Pattinson  Email: mandy.pattinson@staffordshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

48.

Appointment of Chairman

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Minutes:

Resolved:  That Councillor Bernard Peters be appointed Chairman of the Panel for the ensuring year.

49.

Appointment of Vice Chairman

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Minutes:

Resolved:  That Councillor Gillian Heesom be appointed Vice Chairman of the Panel for the ensuring year.

50.

Declarations of interest

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Minutes:

Councillor Robertson declared that he was a candidate in the General Election on 4 July 2024.

51.

Minutes of the meeting held on 5th and 12th February 2024 pdf icon PDF 167 KB

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Minutes:

 

Resolved:  That the minutes of the Panel meeting held on 5th and12th February 2024 be approved and signed by the Chairman.

52.

Questions to the PFCC from Members of the Public pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Questions to the Commissioner are invited from members of the public who live or work in Staffordshire. Notice of questions must be received by no later than three clear working days before the Panel meeting.  More information on where and how to submit a question can be found at https://bit.ly/34arVDw

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Minutes:

The Panel considered the questions ask by members of the public and the Commissioners written response. 

 

Three sets of questions from the public have been received alongside a written follow-up question; the PFCC confirmed that he had responded in writing to each one and a verbal response was provided on voter turnout. A follow up question on public surveys had been received and responded to in writing and attached to this agenda.

 

A supplementary question was asked during the meeting regarding speed camera enhancement sites and a desire for the relevant statistics to be raised at the next PFC Panel. The PFCC responded by recognising the questioner’s interest in both speed cameras and the wider use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). The PFCC stated that such technology played a pivotal role in identifying criminals on the road, especially in relation to drug/drink-driving related offences. Instead of enforcement, the PFCC wanted to see a greater emphasis on changing behaviour.

 

In response to the question on low voter turnout at the last PFCC election, and whether the PFCC can claim a mandate on a voter turnout of 19%. The PFCC responded, stating that more people voted for him than against him and cited low turnout for local elections as a comparative measure. Equally, the PFCC attributed low voter turnout to a national lack of enthusiasm in politics.

 

Resolved:  That the questions asked, and the Commissioners written and verbal response be noted.

 

53.

Decisions published by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC)

The following decisions have been published on the Commissioners web site since the last meeting of the Panel:

 

Police and Crime 006 – Adult sexual assault referral

 

Police and Crime 007 – Pan Staffordshire Domestic Abuse Victim and Perpetrator services

Police and Crime 008 – Precept 2024/25

Police and Crime 009 – Taser T10

Police and Crime 010 – Refurbishment of Longton Police station

Police and Crime 011 – Estates – NACF Refurbishment

 

Fire and Rescue 002 – Purchase of Fire Applications – Enhanced Rescue pumps and rescue ladders

 

Decisions - Staffordshire Commissioner (staffordshire-pfcc.gov.uk)

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Minutes:

Details were submitted via of decisions published by the Commissioner since the last Panel meeting.

 

 The Committee made the following comments and noted responses to questions:

-     The Commissioner agreed to review the proforma to tie the decision made back to the Strategic Plan or other relevant plan.

-     Police and Crime decisions 10 and 11 -The sufficiency of the consultation procedure surrounding the Estates NACF and Longton Police Station refurbishment decisions was queried, including the extent to which officers were involved. The PFCC assured the Panel that he would review the consultation procedure and provide a response before the next meeting.

-     In relation to Police and Crime decision 7 - the PFCC noted that communications had been circulated in the lead up to the current Euros 2024, encouraging people to be aware of the effect of drinking on self-control. In addition, communications also encouraged those under threat to reach out to Pan Staffordshire Domestic Abuse Victim and Perpetrator services. Rates of domestic abuse are tracked against current events (i.e. Euros), with increased rates during the holiday season and Christmas. An inability for victims to report incidents can skew the statistics, as evidenced by decreased rates of reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Resolved:  That the decisions be noted and additional information on the consultation prior to estates investment would be sent to the panel separately.

 

54.

Fire Misconduct and Complaints - annual report pdf icon PDF 131 KB

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Minutes:

The PFCC introduced the report which summarised the number, type and action taken to address complaints in the Fire Service.  The PFCC raised examples of high-profile cases nationally, before detailing cases in Staffordshire.

 

It was explained that there were regular meetings between the PFCC, the PFCC’s Chief Executive, the Chief Fire Officer and the Deputy Chief Fire Officer to discuss Fire Misconduct and Complaints. Efforts to engage independent HR advice remain ongoing with respect to misconduct and complaints procedures and line managers are receiving regular training. The overall level of complaints remains low.

There was currently a misconduct tracker in place and a Code of Ethics underpins “a foundation for good standards”.

A regular theme emerging from HMI was a “drive for more consistency” alongside a nationally standardised approach towards misconduct and complaints handling- this is reflected in the Fire Reform White Paper. 

 

The Committee noted the following comments and responses to questions:

 

-     The vital role of high-quality leadership, in establishing a standardised approach to misconduct and complaint management.

-     Whistleblowing policy and measures to prevent the prejudicing of whistleblowers. The PFCC stated that whistleblowing is addressed seriously but recommended the employment of independent advice when ascertaining the motivation and potential interests behind whistleblowing claims; this approach would also apply to complaints and feedback more broadly.

-     When querying the reasons behind the current complaint rate, further clarification was sought regarding whether the current rate was due to people not complaining or due to a high standard of service- this context will feature in next annual report.

 

Resolved: That the Panel note the contents and agree to receive a full update, covering both Police and Fire for scrutiny at their meeting in February 2025.

 

55.

Commissioners Annual report- verbal update

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Minutes:

The PFCC provided a verbal update on the Commissioner’s annual report, at the request of the Chair. A formal report would be available for the Panel at their next meeting.

 

The PFCC gave a brief update on his thought on priorities which should remain from his previous Plans and those which should change.  A formal report would be available for the Panel at their next meeting.

 

It was confirmed that areas raised by the HMI Inspection would remain in the Commissioner and Chief Constables performance discussions.  The PFCC evidenced improvements, in citing the fact that the speed of 999 responses was within the top 10% nationally. Equally, 101 responses have also improved. Despite these improvements, the PFCC was minded to retain these concerns as priorities.

 

Full inspections by HMI for both Police and Fire had been completed; the reports should be published prior to the next PFCP meeting.

 

Prevent harm and protect people: 100 police officers now served in the Public Protection Unit; this represented a balance struck between the demands of high-risk policing (i.e. Public Protection Unit) and the public desire for proactive response and visible policing.

 

Road safety: Speed cameras, ANPR, expanding the road policing team and 24-hour operation are still key measures.

 

Violence reduction: The Serious Violence Duty had been introduced. Bleed kits were also now available in every operational police vehicle.

 

Prevention and early intervention: It was reported that funding was allocated to Community Safety Partnerships each year. There had also been an increased focus on safeguarding children from exploitation.

 

The PFCC praised the Staffordshire Space. The Commissioner also supported the continuation of Right Care, Right Person, citing benefits including an emphasis on local expertise and mental health support.

 

The Committee made the following comments and noted the responses to questions:

 

-     public sentiment regarding ASB rates vs. statistics reported.  A concern was raised that, in only reflecting ASB reported, the data could be potentially misleading.

-     Diversity in recruitment of police officers. Currently, female representation of Staffordshire police officers was one of the highest nationally. In respect to ethnic minority representation, the numbers are approximately in line with the population, but more can be done.

-     The consistency of PCSOs/police officers attending parish council meetings was raised. 

-     Rehabilitation support for those leaving custody, as a planned release was felt to be key in ending repeat offending.

-     Retail crime and its impact on smaller/community businesses and shop workers was raised as an issue. Until recently, retail crime in Staffordshire had been low compared to national trends, although it had now increased by 12% over the past 6 months. Unlike national trends, there is no evidence of “organised” shoplifting.

-    The PFCC saw community engagement, especially in rural communities and the Local Police Engagement Plan as important in helping local community partnerships.

 

Resolved:  The verbal update was received, and the full Annual report would be considered at the next meeting of the Panel.

 

56.

Home Officer Grant 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

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Minutes:

The report of the Panel secretary summarised the details of the Home Office Grant and how it was allocated. The unchanged rate of allowance for expenses was queried; it was clarified that the maximum amount allocated by the Home Office was paid to Panel members. The PFCC voiced support for a Home Office review into allowances for both the Panel and Commissioners.

 

Resolved:  The report was received.

 

57.

Annual Report on the Management of Complaints and Conduct Matters against the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner and Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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Minutes:

The report of the Panel Secretary listed the complaints received during the 2023/24 municipal year against the personal conduct of the Commissioner and/or his Deputy.  Of the two received, it was found not neither related to personal conduct.

 

Resolved:  The report was received.

 

58.

Questions to the PFCC by Panel Members

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Minutes:

The following information was gained from asking questions of the Commissioner:

 

-     There were no immediate plans to extend traffic enforcement to 20mph zones.  There was a focus instead on education over enforcement (e.g. Staffordshire Safe Roads Partnership, 20’s Plenty for Us etc).

-     When 20mph speed limits are ignored, improving Community Speedwatch’s communications was recommended.

-     There was a discrepancy between the number of ASB incidents and public perception.  It was acknowledged that feeding back positive information was more difficult sometimes but should be encouraged.

 

 

59.

Dates of Future Meetings and Work Programme pdf icon PDF 104 KB

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Minutes:

The next scheduled meeting day was due to be held on 23rd September 2024 at 10:00.