Agenda and minutes

Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel - Monday, 20th January, 2020 4.00 pm

Venue: Room 10

Contact: Mrs KM Howard  (01744) 676106


No. Item


Apology for Absence

Additional documents:


An Apology for absence was received from Councillor P Jackson.


Minutes of the Meeting held on 24 September 2019 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:


·         Minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2019 were approved and signed.


Declarations of Interest

Additional documents:


No Declarations of Interest from Members were made.


Domestic Abuse Strategy - Update Report pdf icon PDF 85 KB

·         Councillor Bell, Cabinet Member - Community Safety and the Sam Murray, Assistant Director, Community Safety have been invited to attend the meeting.

Additional documents:


At the previous meeting of the Panel held on 24 September 2019, the Panel requested a further update on the development of the new Domestic Abuse Strategy for the borough.

The Cabinet Member, Community Safety and the Assistant Director, Community Safety were present at the meeting to present an update on development of the Strategy and to advise on activities undertaken since October 2019.


The report advised that a Domestic Abuse Summit had been held on 1 October 2019 which had brought together organisations from across all sectors in the borough to discuss the issue of domestic abuse, the impact on families and the local community and identify future priorities for tackling the issue.


The Panel was advised that the workshop had generated a significant amount of feedback that had been used as the foundation in the development of the new Strategy and had enabled a Working Group led by the Director of Public Health, to build upon this and to expand these issues into wider priorities within the Strategy.


Member were advised that these emerging priorities had formed the basis of consultation with relevant agencies which had been undertaken during the period of October to December 2019; alongside sessions with Third Sector Partner Agencies, people with lived experience of domestic abuse via a Support Group delivered by Change, Grow, Live (CGL) and the Youth Justice Forum for young people. SafeLives had also offered to act as a ‘critical friend’ to provide feedback on the new Strategy.
As a result of the process, the following priorities had emerged and informed the new Strategy, these were detailed in the report as follows:-


·         Awareness Raising and Culture;

·         Coercive Control;

·         Support;

·         Perpetrators; and

·         Older People.


The Panel was advised that final amendments were currently being made to the Strategy with the aim for a final cycle of consultation with Summit attendees, the People’s Board and this Panel. The intention was then for the final strategy to be presented to Cabinet for consideration at its meeting scheduled for 25 March 2020.


It was reported that consultation with agencies had acted as a catalyst for early activity and developments. This included; all Children’s and Adult Social Care Social Workers attendance at the Domestic Abuse / Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) training to be mandatory, updates to the Youth Justice Service recording processes, commissioning of Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company to deliver the HELP programme for perpetrators from February 2020,  the strengthening of MARAC processes, the launch of the ‘16 Days of Action’ campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and coercive control during December 2019 and development and appointment of a number of posts to support the priority.


Members asked if the 10-week HELP programme for perpetrators had been piloted elsewhere and if so, what was its success rate. The Panel was advised that the programme currently runs in other areas of Merseyside and assurance was given, once the 10-week programme was complete, there would be an evaluation before further ongoing commissioning commitments to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Anti-Social Behaviour Initiatives by Safer St Helens Partnership during Halloween and Bonfire Night 2019 pdf icon PDF 230 KB

·         Stephen Tracey, Senior Assistant Director – Housing, Leisure and Libraries has been invited to attend the meeting.

Additional documents:


The Senior Assistant Director, Housing, Leisure and Libraries presented the report on Anti-Social Behaviour Initiatives with verbal inputs from both Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue (MFRS) Representatives.

The report
updated the Panel on the activities and outcomes of the Safer St Helens Community Safety Partnership to address anti-social behaviour during the Halloween and Bonfire Night period between 30 October and 5 November 2019.


Safer St Helens was a partnership of key agencies who had responsibility for community safety within St Helens. This partnership included; St Helens Council, Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS), the Probation Services and Health partners who work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

The Halloween and Bonfire Period is a key time of year when the Safer St Helens partners work particularly closely together to prevent anti-social behaviour and partner agencies, through experience of previous years, concentrate their resources and tailor their approaches in a joined up and coordinated way to in order to achieve this.


Prevention, early intervention and diversionary activities are key tools in tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB), violent crime and disorder. Partner activity during this period concentrated on both early intervention and targeted activities.


The report detailed the activity and interventions that had taken place during this period to tackle anti-social behaviour and serious violence. These activities included Operation Banger; targeting hot spots and micro beat locations and undertaking reassurance visits, Operation Good Guy diversionary work, deployment of a Trojan Fire Appliance, waste removal to remove combustible waste, Safe Space activities and ASB Outreach Team Late Night sessions.


The Panel was advised on joint activity between Merseyside Police and MFRS where two warrants were executed following community intelligence around the storage of a large number of fireworks, both of which lead to seizures and on the incident at ‘Spark at the Park’ held in Sherdley Park where a young person had been stabbed. It was noted that the police had subsequently arrested and secured convictions and custodial sentences for those involved in this incident.


A summary of performance by Merseyside Police during Operation Banger, MFRS performance in relation to secondary fires, firework related incidents and violence against MFRS staff were detailed in the report.


The Panel acknowledged the work that had been undertaken during this period and requested that the figures provided on deliberate secondary fires, which reported a 20.69% increase in incidents from 2018/19, and firework incidents, which saw an increase by one incident, be expanded to report on a longer period of 5 or 10 years and also detail incidents by per head population in order to capture a fairer assessment of any reportable incidents.


The Panel also requested for more information on the outcomes following the 44 test purchase visits or retailers visited with prevention letters that had been undertaken.


*           Resolved that:

(1)        the report be noted; and

(2)        the requested further data information on deliberate secondary fires and firework incidents and outcomes from the 44 test purchase visits or retailers visited with prevention letters  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Impact of the De-regulation Act in St Helens and the steps taken by the Licensing Authority to address this pdf icon PDF 82 KB

·         Lorraine Simpson, Licensing Manager has been invited to attend the meeting.

Additional documents:


The Licensing Manager presented the report on Impact of the Deregulation Act in
St Helens and the steps taken by the Licensing Authority to manage this.


The Deregulation Act 2015 was introduced in October 2015 and initially the

amendment to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1974 was not

considered to carry any significant risk. Paragraph 3.2 of the report contained an excerpt of Section 55a of the Act highlighting the changes to the Act.


These changes were intended to allow a Private Hire Operator the flexibility to ‘pass over’ a booking to an Operator in another district if they could not fulfil the booking, which prior to this amendment could not be undertaken legally. However, it had created a situation where by Private Hire Operators had taken out Operating Licences in other boroughs in order to become ‘another person’ and pass the job over.

This practice had been deemed to be perfectly legal, however, it had inadvertently created

potential safeguarding and safety issues for Licensing Authorities to manage. As although Licensing remains a ‘local’ responsibility, the authority which the driver is working in but not licensed to, has no power to take enforcement action or bring a prosecution against a driver, vehicle or operator as they have been licensed by a different authority.

The Panel was informed by the Licensing Manager this had led to some Private Hire Operators encouraging their drivers to ‘shop around’ different Licensing Authorities for the lowest priced licences or those with fewer / weaker check systems. These changes together with outdated taxi licensing law, had created a difficult situation for Taxi Licensing Authorities.


To offer assurance to the Panel, the report detailed the St Helens Standard which was a process undertaken by St Helens Licensing Unit for any applicant for a Hackney Carriage/ Private Hire Drivers Licence; regional work being undertaken through the Regional Licensing Managers network to consider how authorities could work more closely together and align their policies alongside the adoption of an information sharing agreement with the aim of preventing instances of drivers licenses being revoked in one authority then becoming licensed in another.


The Licensing Manager also advised on the impact the Deregulation Act had had on Local Businesses, particularly where a driver sought to be licensed with another authority and not the one they elect to work in.

It was noted although not a significant issue in St Helens, as the majority
of the local driving community had remained licensed by St Helens rather than seeking to be licensed with another authority, some small towns who have actively sought to licence drivers from outside their borough now have more licensed drivers subscribed to them than large city centres.


It was reported that the largest contingent of other licensed vehicles working in
St Helens were from Knowsley, Sefton and Wolverhampton and it was
noted that as Licensing was a local statutory responsibility this caused issues as the Council had no legal power to check or enforce standards on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Update

Additional documents:


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


The Panel was advised on the joint activity between Merseyside Police and MFRS that had taken place on 1 November 2019; following community intelligence around the storage of a large number of fireworks in the Parr Area. This has subsequently led to the seizure of four large boxes of fireworks with a value of approximately £2,000 at the first address alongside the recovery of 125 rockets and a box containing a 55 piece firework pack and £1,000 cash being seized from the second address.


The Station Manager advised on the firework related incident the St Helens MFRS had dealt with which had been due to a 31-year-old male who burnt his hand whilst trying to set off a firework in a pub car park.


The Panel was advised on a recent restructure which had seen the areas of Protection and Prevention, which had previously been the responsibility of the Area Manager, Guy Keen, being split into two separate strands. This had been due to increasing demand on the Protection aspect of the service following the Grenfell incident. These would now be managed by James Berry and Gary Oakford respectively.


Ian Mullen also advised the Panel on the outcomes of the inspection carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS). The inspection had considered how effective MFRS were, how efficient they are in keeping people safe from fires and other risks and how well they look after their people. It was reported that the service had been assessed as ‘good’ across all three themes with an ‘outstanding’ judgment in the sub themes for work to prevent fire and other risks and its ability to respond to national incidents.


The Panel was also advised that the development of the new community fire station at Watson Streetoff Milverny Way was progressing well and was on target to become operational in October 2020.

At a previous meeting, the Panel had been advised that the new site would house the two Fire Appliances currently stationed at Parr Stocks Road and Eccleston Fire stations with a view to applying to house a third Appliance to be crewed by whole time retained fire fighters. It was reported that this Appliance increase had now been agreed at a strategic level.


*           Resolved that:

(1)        the verbal report be noted; and

(2)        Ian Mullen, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service be thanked
            for his report and his attendance at the meeting.

Councillor Pearl here left the meeting.



Merseyside Police Update

Additional documents:


A verbal report was given by temporary Superintendent Tami Garvey-Jones which updated Members on the current work and performance of Merseyside Police.


The Panel was advised on the following Operations which had taken place or were currently ongoing. These included;

·         Operation Shepherd which had run over the festive period of December to January and had focused on Robbery, Domestic Violence, Drink Driving and Burglary which often saw a seasonal increase over this period;

·         Operation Target which aimed to tackle serious and violent crime by focusing on knife crime, violence in night time economy areas, county lines and drug use. The operation utilised monies from the Home Office’s Serious Violence Fund to increase the number of high visibility patrols and mobile police stations and increase disruption activities such as stop searches, roadside checks, open land searches, test purchasing and execution of warrants;


·         Operation Banger, which focused on tackling anti-social behaviour and serious violence during the Halloween and Bonfire night period, saw the deployment of 46 staff to target specific hot spot and micro beat locations, reassurance visits to people and premises who had been identified as being vulnerable and visiting retailers to encourage them not to sell fireworks, flour and eggs to young people during this period; and


·         Operation Parkland had been established following the incident at Spark in the Park reported earlier in the meeting and secured additional resources to target identified individuals. Partnership walkabouts and open land searches to recover weapons had also been conducted in both Sutton and Sherdley Park and door to door calls were undertaken to reassure and obtain information.


T/Superintendent Tami Garvey-Jones advised that more ‘days of action’ were planned for February/March to focus on Serious and Violent crimes particularly knife crime. Ongoing work would also be undertaken with the Danny Fox Foundation to continue to raise awareness in schools.


The Panel was also advised that funding for the Violence Reduction Unit had been secured, on the back of the Prime Minister’s Pledge, a bid had been placed to increase Police numbers locally, with regards to Local Policing a Local Engagement Model was being developed and a Governance Framework was being developed for the Community Safety Partnership in light of it changing its scope.


The Panel welcomed the additional funding for an increase in Police Officer numbers but, noted that this recruitment drive would still fail to get Police Officer numbers back up to 2010 levels. Questions were raised regarding the length of time it takes for the Police to respond to an incident and if this figure had increased since 2010 following the cuts to Police Officer numbers.

T/Superintendent Tami Garvey-Jones advised the Panel on the grading system in place which was used to assign a response time to incidents. It was agreed that response time figures from 2010 onwards would be provided to the Panel.


Comments were made regarding the length of time being taken to complete the ongoing review of Merseyside Police Authority Estates and development of a Police Estate Strategy which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Update on Scrutiny Work Plan 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Additional documents:


A report was provided to outline the new Work Programme to the Panel for review and to prioritise items for future consideration.

A Work Programme document was attached and designed to record and monitor the

activity and plans for the Panel to effectively manage its workload and plan for future


The Panel was encouraged to review its work programme on a regular basis to ensure it remained relevant and achieved its outcomes. This report requested that the Panel reviewed the Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel Work Programme attached to the report and
set priorities for future Panel meetings and agree any review work to be commenced in the near future or scheduled for a later date.


The Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme Prioritisation Aid and Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel Work Programme listing each of the items that fall within the remit of the Panel currently under consideration was appended to the report.


It was noted that the County Lines Task and Finish Group to investigate the issues of County Lines and local strategies to deal with it was due to commence on 24 January 2020. It was proposed that consideration should be given at the first meeting of the group to agree the elements the group would be focusing on; acknowledging that as it crossed a broad area of a number of issues such as drugs, child exploitation, burglary and car theft that it may be necessary to form two groups to break down the review further.


With regards to Domestic Abuse, it was noted that the Panel had received an extensive input today regarding the draft Domestic Abuse Strategy and would continue to support the consultation process on this. The Chair also advised that she would be meeting the Cabinet Member, Community Safety on Tuesday, 28 January 2020.


*           Resolved that:


(1)          the Work Programme be noted; and

(2)          the agreed priorities of Country Lines and Domestic Abuse as initial work streams be endorsed.