Agenda and minutes

Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel
Thursday, 12th July, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Mrs KM Howard  (01744) 676106

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor J Jackson and P Jackson.


The Chairman took the opportunity to apologise on behalf of the Panel to the Officers and Partners that had attended the previous meeting of the Panel held on 19 June 2018 that had been suspended due to the meeting being inquorate.



Minutes of the Meetings held on 17 April 2018 and 19 June 2018 pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Additional documents:


*           Resolved that the minutes of the meetings held on 17 April 2018 and 19 June 2018 be approved and signed.


Declarations of Interest


No Declarations of Interest from Members were made.


Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 47 KB


A report was submitted which detailed the Terms of Reference for the Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel as follows:

The Panel shall undertake the functions delegated by the Commission, and in particular:


     To be designated as the responsible Panel for review and scrutiny of crime and disorder issues, pursuant to the Police and Justice Act 2006, and in this context


i)    to review and scrutinise decisions made, or action taken by, the People’s Board and the responsible authorities which comprise it insofar as their activities relate to the partnership itself;


ii)  to make reports or recommendations to Council with respect to the discharge of crime and disorder functions;


iii)   to consider any local crime and disorder matter which is referred to it by any Member of the Council;


iv)              to operate in accordance with the powers contained in the Crime and Disorder (Overview and Scrutiny) Regulations 2009 with regard to co-opting of members, frequency of meetings, obtaining information, requiring attendance at meetings and making reports and recommendations.


     To review items relating to the operation of the functions outlined above and their performance, as selected by members of the Panel, or referred to them by the Overview and Scrutiny Commission or the Cabinet.


     In undertaking this role the Panel is able to question members of the Cabinet, and/or Chief Officers, and/or the Chair of the People’s Board regarding their decisions, performance in relation to service operations and targets.


     To exercise the right following call-in to review and, where appropriate, ask for re-consideration of decisions made by, but not yet implemented by, the Council.


     To receive and have regard for Councillor Calls for Action within the remit of the Panel.


     To provide regular updates on the Panel’s work plan to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.


     To produce final reports of all reviews undertaken and monitor and evaluate progress of recommendations as appropriate.


     To make representations to the Cabinet, and Council if necessary, on any issues or areas of concern arising from the overview and scrutiny process.


*           Resolved that the report be noted.



Tackling Domestic Abuse - St Helen Strategy 2018-2023 pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director - Children's Social Work Support presented the report on Tackling Domestic Abuse – St Helens Strategy 2018-2023, as approved at a meeting of the Cabinet held on 21 February 2018 and People’s Board held on 6 June 2018.


The Tackling Domestic Abuse St Helens Strategy 2018-2023 had been developed specifically for St Helens to reflect local needs and was intended to be the framework for all agencies to respond effectively to domestic abuse.


The Strategy was a partnership document and responsibility for its delivery required the Council and other agencies to take responsibility for specific priority areas. Four priority areas had been identified, together with the outcomes that we are looking to achieve with each of the priority areas.


The four priorities areas were identified as:


·         Prevention;

·         Partnership;

·         Provision; and

·         Protection.


To support the delivery of the Strategy it was proposed that new governance arrangements be implemented and a Domestic Abuse Strategy Group be established with overall strategic oversight for the strategy and to report regularly to the Board.

The Panel was informed that the Domestic Abuse Strategy Group would be supported by a Domestic Abuse Operational Group, which would lead on the delivery of the Action Plan, and a High Risk Steering Group which would monitor the performance of the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (DVDS).


The Tackling Domestic Abuse St Helens Strategy 2018-23 (February 2018) and Community Impact Assessment were attached to the report at Appendices 1 and 2 respectively.


The Panel discussed the strategy and raised questions which were answered at the meeting regarding the inclusion of the elderly and other vulnerable groups within the strategy, the roll out process for training staff particularly within the Primary Care setting, the support the Council has in place to support victims of domestic violence within its own workforce, and if newly released Government funding was being accessed to support the strategy and initiatives.

It was acknowledged that within families, children were often indirect victims of domestic violence and the important for supporting them and capturing this data element was emphasised by the Panel.

The Panel also raised the important to ensure that individuals knew how to report instances of domestic violence.

Inspector Drennan informed the Panel of some the various work undertaken by the Police to support children who may have witnessed or been subject to domestic violence within a home environment.


*           Resolved that:


(1)          the report be noted;

(2)          Assistant Director - Children's Social Work Support be thanked for their attendance at the meeting; and

(3)          the Panel to receive 6 monthly updates following implementation of the strategy.



Update on Scrutiny Work Plan 2018/19


The Scrutiny Manager gave a verbal update report on Scrutiny Work Plan 2018/19.


The Scrutiny Team had invited Members to suggest topics for inclusion on the Work

Programme for 2018/2019.

The following work areas had been proposed for this Panel to scrutinize:-


·         Prevent Strategy

·         Hate Crime and Hate Speech : Reporting Pathways

·         101 Police Call Handling

·         Security of Civilian Infrastructure

·         Settlement and Integration of Refugees

·         How the Police and other agencies look after their Personnel

·         Drug Trade: Social Housing Tenants and their Security


The Panel discussed the identified work areas and proposed consideration be given to the following additional work areas:


·         Road Safety (possible Joint scrutiny with Environment, Housing, Culture and Leisure);

·         Anti-Social Behaviour;

·         Alcoholism / Drug abuse Issues;

·         Town Centre Joint Agency Group (JAG) ; and

·         Knife Crime and work of the ‘Street Doctors’.


*           Resolved that the verbal update report be noted.


The following two items had not been notified five clear days in advance of the meeting.  However, the Chairman had agreed to the matter being considered as an item of urgent business in order to enable the matters to be progressed.


Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Update


A verbal report was given by Ian Mullen, Station Manager which updated Members on the current work of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services.


The Panel was informed of the management structural changes within Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services, including the appointment of an Assistant Chief Fire Officer and six Station Managers to build greater resilience into the service and reported on the current staffing arrangements for St Helens three fire stations; Parr Stocks, Eccleston and Newton-le-Willows.


With regards to performance, the Panel was informed that the service was performing well against Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) including; accidental dwelling fires, vehicle fires, non-domestic fires and secondary fires. It was noted that there was likely to be an increase in the KPI figures for secondary fires (e.g. Skips, Grassfires) due to the long spell of hot, dry weather.


The Panel was informed of the support work being undertaken by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service regarding the wildfires at Winter Hill and Saddleworth Moors; including providing additional support staff and appliances at Leigh and Wigan and the supply of a High Volume pump at Winter Hill.

The Panel raised questions which were answered at the meeting, regarding the impact major wildfires were having on response times and staffing within the borough and the composition of external building cladding on high rises in St Helens.

*           Resolved that:


(1)      the verbal report be noted;

(2)       the wider Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service be thanked for their  ongoing efforts and dedication against the background of ongoing austerity; and

(3)      arrangements be made for the Panel to undertake a visit to the   
Merseyside’s Police and Fire and Rescue Authorities Joint
    Command Centre (JCC) in Bootle.



Merseyside Police Update


A verbal report was given by Inspector Drennan which updated Members on the current work of Merseyside Police.


A Community Policing Poll had been undertaken and Burglary had been identified as a public priority with 34% of the vote, this was believed in part due a spike of activity regarding high value targeting of homes particularly in Billinge and Rainford, which had since been addressed with the prolific offenders currently in prison awaiting sentencing


The Panel was informed of other recent Police success stories and Operations including; Operations Safe Space, Greenall and Brookdale to combat the expected increases in problem issues such as off-road vehicles, anti-social behaviour and neighbor nuisance, as people enjoy the warmer weather and take advantage of the later evenings and Operation Castle which focused on burglary in an attempt to reduce the number of offences, raise community confidence, reassure residents, and reduce the number of outstanding named suspects for burglary.


Alongside these Operations, it was reported the Police had also been able to remain involved in the policing of community activities and events such as; the St Helens Parade, the Food and Drink Festival, Ride for Violent, the Grind and various walking days across the borough


It was reported summer was likely to continue to be challenging time for the Police with the dry weather, longer summer nights and imminent school summer holidays alongside the policing of major events such as the World Cup and music events such as Haydock Races and Clonefest at Sherdley Park which would place an additional demand alongside regular calls for service.


The Panel was informed of the continual Preventative work the Police undertook. Promotional material regarding this work was circulated for the Panels information.

*           Resolved that the verbal report be noted.



Times of Overview and Scrutiny Panel Meetings


A verbal report was made to the Panel by the Chair on the times of the Safer Communities Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel meetings 2018/2019, which had been raised at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission held on 4 June 2018.


The Panel discussed if the time of commencement of the Panel should be amended.


*           Resolved that future meetings of the Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel commence at 10.00am.