Agenda and minutes

Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 17th April, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Room 10

Contact: Mrs KM Howard  (01744) 676106

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Minutes of the Meeting held on 13 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 73 KB


*           Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 13 March 2018, be approved and signed.


Declarations of Interest


No Declarations of Interest from Members were made.


'No More Knives' Campaign

·         Members of Danny Fox's Family have been invited to attend the meeting.


Family Members of Danny Fox, who died after suffering a fatal stab wound in September 2016 were present at the Panel to present the ‘No More Knives’ campaign.


The Panel was informed of the work being undertaken in Danny’s memory by his family with the support of the local community, Council and its partners. This included the launch of the ‘No More Knives’ campaign and the future establishment of the Danny Fox Foundation.


The campaign’s current main focus was on the education of young people and young adults on the dangers and impact knife crime had on families, friends and the wider community. The wider reaching aspirations of the foundation were to make communities and the Town Centre feel a safer place to be. 


To help directly tackle the safety of the night time economy, and with the support of donations to the foundation, 70 hand held metal detecting devices termed ‘knife wands’ had been purchased. With the support of 27 clubs and bars in St Helens Town Centre and across the borough, these were being utilising by door staff before allowing entry into their venues in order to detect knives/bladed weapons.


The Assistant Director, Community Services informed the Panel that a presentation had been devised and circulated via the Chief Executive to all Secondary Schools in the Borough highlighting the dangers and consequences of carry and using a knife.


The Chair reported that the draft report from the Knives Working Groupwould be circulated to the Panel for comments prior to being presented to the Cabinet.


*           Resolved that:


(1)           the verbal report be noted;


(2)          the family of Danny Fox be thanked for their attendance at the meeting and be invited to report back to a future Panel on the progress of the ‘No More Knives’ campaign; and


(3)          the Knives Working Group to remain on the Work Programme for the next municipal year 2018/19.



Custody Suite Closure

·         Representatives from Merseyside Police have been invited to attend the meeting.


Superintendant Wilson and Chief Superintendant Harrison gave a verbal report on the Custody Suite Closure.


The Panel was given a brief overview on the work undertaken which had informed the closure of the custody suite in St Helens Police Station.


It was reported that force wide there were 110 cells spread over four custody suites located at; Copy Lane, St Helens, Wirral and St Ann’s Street. The St Helens custody suite provided 21 of the 110 cells within Merseyside.


It was noted that against a background of a continuing reduction in Police Funding from Central Government and a reduction in arrests figures due to legislative changes allowing for alternatives for dealing with criminal activity rather than requiring custody processing such as; voluntary attendance, out of court disposals and Restorative Justice, a pilot had been undertaken to reduce to three custody suites and 89 cells.


St Helens custody suite had been the elected station to be discounted from the pilot due to a cell system failure that had occurred which would have been a substantial sum to repair and futile if the pilot had been successful. In addition an inspection report from the Home Office had identified that the St Helens suite was in need of renovation to meeting Home Office Standards.


Following the pilot, analysis of arrest rates and cell occupation supported a permanent reduction in the number of custody suites. It was reported that on average 43 cells had been occupied at any one time and on average the additional travel time for a St Helens Police Officer to the next nearest custody suite at Copy Lane had been two minutes. Assurance was given that key stake holders had been consulted on the decision.


The Panel was assured that there was ongoing monitoring of the impact on young and vulnerable people, St Helen’s Police Officer travel times and detention locations.

Members raised questions which were answered at the meeting with regards to the influencing cost factors that St Helens custody suite presented, St Helens Police Officer travel time and abstraction impact on local area, future provision plans for St Helens police station, correlation of reduction in arrest rates and reduction in serving Police Officers and average time of Police Officer abstraction following arrest before they were again available for deployment.


The Assistant Director, Community Services confirmed with the Panel that consultation had taken place with the Council and the Panel was informed of the concerned raised including: increased detention time of vulnerable persons due to Officer travel time, complexity of transporting vulnerable people and increased costs in travel claims to the Council. It was noted that full analysis on the impact had not been undertaken.


The Panel was informed that the PCC Full Business Case for the Closure of the Custody Suites was available publically.


The Panel expressed that although they understood the reasoning behind the closure, they were disappointed that the facility in St Helens had been lost and hoped that this could be addressed in the future.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.


Town Centre Task Group

·         The Assistant Director, Community Services has been invited to attend the meeting.


The Assistant Director, Community Services gave the Panel a verbal update on the work undertaken by the Town Centre Task Group.

Following a multi-agency workshop held on 14 March 2018 and subsequent endorsement by the People’s Board, it had been agreed a Joint Agency Group (JAG) for the Town Centre be set up to reflect the communities that were affected by various types of offending in this area.


The following four priorities had been identified for focus initially in the Town Centre: Drug Paraphernalia and Commercial Waste, Youth Disorder, Homelessness/ Professional Begging and Night-Time Economy (Knife Crime).


It was reported that the first meeting of the JAG would be held on 19 April 2018


Members raised questions which were answered at the meeting with regards to tackling cycling within the Town Centre and if the JAG pilot would focus solely on the Town Centre.


*           Resolved that the verbal report be noted.


Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Update


A verbal report was given to the Panel which updated them on the current work of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.


Station Manager, Ben Ryder presented the end of year statistics which included a reduction of 40 reported fires on the previous year, the lowest number of accidental dwelling fires historically, a reduction in non-domestic fires and near target for deliberate fire (546 against target of 544).


The Panel was informed of work undertaken as part of the Arson Prevention Scheme and that the Chief Fire Officer, Dan Stephens would be leaving Merseyside Fire and Rescue to take up the post of Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade in Victoria, Australia.


Members asked questions which were answered at the meeting in relation to the number of home deaths, impact of the part time hours at Eccleston Fire Station and the number of appliances routinely deployed to domestic fires.


The Panel expressed their thanks to Chief Fire Officer, Dan Stephens and wished him the best for in the future.


*           Resolved that the verbal report be noted.



Merseyside Police Service Update


A verbal report was given to the Panel which updated them on the current work of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service by Chief Superintendant Harrison.


Members were given a brief overview of current crime trends and informed that there had been two incidents involving knives in March and six in April, burglary continued to be a focus and as a result reported incidents continued to decrease. The Panel was also informed that a prolific offender had been arrested and charged with seven counts of burglary. 


Reported vehicle crime and violent injury were on a downward trend locally, however Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) had seen a slight increase which was in line with the school’s breaking for the Easter holidays.


It was reported that there had been a firearm discharged in Haydock, the Panel was informed that it was considered to be a targeted attack and an unusual incident.


Members raised questions which were answered at the meeting with regards to the use of Section 30 Orders within the borough.


*           Resolved that the verbal report be noted.




Update on Scrutiny Work Programme 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 104 KB


The Chair presented the report on safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel Work Programme Update 2017/18.


The report detailed the work undertaken by the Task and Finished Group looking at the Effectiveness of Multi-Agency Partnership Working and the Formal Scrutiny Panel Work undertaken which included; Sharps Waste and Safe Disposal, Knife Crime, Effective use of Community triggers, Use of Dispersal Zones, External Building Cladding and the Youth Diversionary Programme


*           Resolved that the report be noted.