Agenda and minutes

Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel
Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Room 10 - Town Hall

Contact: Mrs KM Howard  (01744) 676106

Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

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


Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 July 2018 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

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*           Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 July 2018 be approved and signed.


Declarations of Interest

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No Declarations of Interest from Members were made.


St Helens Town Centre Joint Agency Group pdf icon PDF 3 MB

·         The Head of Place and Delivery, Roy Benyon has been invited to attend the meeting.

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The Head of Place and Delivery and Chair of the Joint Agency Group (JAG) was present at the meeting to give a presentation to the Panel on the St Helens Town Centre Joint Agency Group.


The presentation detailed the following:

·         Transforming our Town;

·         Ambition for our Town Centre;

·         Partnership;

·         Joint Agency Group JAG;

·         JAG Membership;

·         Current Key Issues;

·         Current JAG Case Load; and

·         Purple Flag Award.


The Panel raised questions which were answered at the meeting in relation to the following; progress on implementation of the planned Town Centre Skatepark, JAG’s engagement with St Helens College and the private sector, future town centre plans in relation to St Mary’s Market, involvement of veteran charities as part of the homelessness agenda and if the Purple Flag status would be rolled out to other parts of the borough such as Newton-le-Willows.


*           Resolved that:


(1)             the presentation be noted;

(2)          the Head of Place and Delivery be thanked for their attendance at the meeting; and

(3)          an update on progress regarding the implementation of the Town Centre Skatepark and future of St Mary’s Market be bought to a future meeting of the Panel.



Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Update

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


The Panel was informed that Phil Garrigan had been appointed as Chief Fire Officer and appointment of Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Assistant Chief Fire Officer were the next Management posts to be filled as part of the previously reported structural changes within Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.


It was reported that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service were due an inspection and assessment in October 2018 from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) the results of which should be publically available from December 2018.


With regards to performance, the Panel was informed that the prolonged hot dry weather spell would impact the yearly performance against Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) particularly secondary fires but, figures had reduced to an ‘acceptable’ tolerance in the last quarter.

The Panel was informed of the upcoming multi agency planned work around the bonfire period; district wide Operation Banger and local Operation Good Guy. This year there was seven identified key nights where additional resources would need to be deployed.


Operation Good Guy would be launched on 8 October 2018 with the aim of reducing the impact of Halloween and Bonfire period on communities and reduce the number of small fires attended through awareness campaigns with young people and the removing of combustible material, general rubbish and bonfire materials from all public spaces, parks and gardens alongside other multi-agency targeted activity. 


The Panel asked questions which were answered at the meeting in relation to; increased attacks on fire appliances and crews during this period and arrangements in place regarding collection of bonfire material in illegal areas.


*           Resolved that the verbal report be noted.



Merseyside Police Update

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A verbal report was given by Chief Inspector O’Rourke which updated Members on the current work of Merseyside Police.


The Panel was informed of recent local multi agency operations focused in the Town Centre and concentrating on rough sleeping, licenced premises including pawn shops, truancy, safer travelling and the cleaning-up of drug hot spot areas.


Members were informed that Operation Sceptre, the force wide operation which focused on reducing knife crime, had taken place on 17 September 2018. The outcomes from public engagement, land sweeps and test purchases had been positive with no failed test purchases and no offensive weapons recovered or seized.


Chief Inspector O’Rourke informed the Panel of an increase in burglary dwellings in Rainford, Haydock and Newton-le-Willows and on the work being undertaken to focus on the issue including; disruption by way of a greater police presence in key areas, distribution of crime prevention advice to local residents and information and intelligence gathering hot spot areas. A cross border operation, Operation Ward was also underway which focused on cross force border offenders and intelligence sharing.


The Police were also heavily involved in Operation Banger, as previously reported at item 5; which focused on reducing the negative impact of anti-social behaviour during the Halloween and Bonfire period on emergency services and the local communities.


Following a number of incidents of illegal traveller campsites being set up over the summer period, Members were also informed that improved processes were now in place to secure orders and support the swift and safe eviction of illegal traveller encampments.


The Panel was informed on the temporary closure of St Helens Police Station’s Enquiry Office due to essential repairs. It was requested by the Panel that consideration be given to placing a notice to direct the public to the nearest phone boxes in case of emergency.


*           Resolved that the verbal report be noted.


Update on Scrutiny Work Plan 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

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A report was submitted which detailed the proposed work programme topics for the Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel for 2018/19 as a result of consultation with Strategic Directors, Scrutiny Panel Members, Partners, Head Teachers, St Helens Healthwatch and the public.

The proposed programme of work for the Panel had been detailed at paragraph 4.4 of the report.


*           The proposed Work Programme for 2018/19 and timetable be agreed and adopted.