The following questions were presented on behalf of members of other local authorities and the Commissioner responded as indicated:
1 From Councillor T Clements (Tamworth)
Q - We get told on a regular basis that crime is down in Tamworth, however having been the victim of crime and using the 101 Service I believe that people get fed up of waiting to be answered. In my experience it can take over 20 mins for the call to be answered. So my questions are:
1. do people actually bother reporting anymore;
2. is the fear of crime actually greater than the crime itself?
A - Sorry to hear you have been a victim of crime. It is important that 101 is only used as a non-emergency number and, as such, at times there can be delays but there is also a call back facility which can be used to avoid waiting. It is not clear when you experienced the 20min wait but 101 is generally performing the best it has for three years. The 999 service is performing well, being answered 93% of the time in under 10 seconds.
341,000 calls to 101 have been made over the last 12 months, an average of 934 a day and it is estimated over 30% are actually calls that should be dealt with by other agencies, not policing. This has remained at broadly the same level compared to the previous year. The proportion of calls abandoned has also reduced to 8% which again is below the average for the past 3 years.
Independent satisfaction surveys with victims of crime show that 93% were satisfied with how easy it was to contact the police. The same survey for victims of anti-social behaviour show that 83% were satisfied. The level of incidents and crimes reported to Staffordshire Police relating to the Tamworth area have slightly reduced over the past 3 years indicating that people remain willing and able to report crime.
My view is that levels of crime in some parts of the UK that is reported through TV and media is highly likely to increase the fear of crime beyond the level of actual crime in most, but not all, areas. The reassurance and community engagement that police are doing more of, I hope, will help address that where it is an issue.
2.From Councillor J Garner (Stoke –on-Trent) (Referring to the report to Stoke-on-Trent City Council on the proceedings of the Panel meeting on 29 October 2018)
Q Looking at the reference made in the report to the budget and medium term financial strategy, the bottom paragraph was interesting in that it showed an estimated funding gap of c£15million, which is interesting in that the PCC’s offices for policing are now costing c£15m, West Midlands is only costing about £5m. Different forces have different costs, but West Midlands is a much bigger force with a lot more to do and say than Staffordshire, Staffordshire is one of the smaller forces. If only £10m of that came back to the City, as I understand it that might bring in an extra 500 police officers on the beat, keep Burton Custody Suite open so they aren’t chasing across the whole County, it just doesn’t seem feasible that that is the right figure. Can you double check for me please, I have been told categorically that it is just shy of £15m for the running of his office, and that when he stood in election in 2012 he said his office would cost less than the then Police Authority, around about then it was costing about £1.5million, I appreciate costs rise and there is more to do, but £15m is one of the most expensive PCC offices across the country for one of the smallest forces. We’ve gone down from about 2400 police officers in the county to about 1600, it’s a massive drop and if we can get more police officers for that money that would go a long way in helping us with a lot of other issues, including nationally today a massive rise in violent crime has been announced.
A – This question mirrors representations from the Police Federation, copies of which are understood to have been received by Panel members. I have written to Panel members individually responding to the points made, particularly correcting references to the cost of the OPCC as the quoted figure includes funds allocated to the commissioning of services by the OPCC on behalf of the Force. . It is regrettable that all Panel members do not appear to have received my response. This question is politically motivated.
3, From Councillor Robinson (Stoke-on-Trent City Council):
Q - A few months ago we asked about Matthew Ellis attending an Adults and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, is there an update?
A – Willing to attend an Committee meetings on a mutually convenient date.