Agenda and minutes

Staffordshire Police and Crime Panel - Monday 27th January 2014 10:00am

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Julie Plant  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

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There were no declarations of interests on this occasion


Minutes of the meeting held on 4 November 2013 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

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RESOLVED - that the minutes of the 4 November 2013 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman


Questions to the PCC

Members of the Public living or working within the constituent authorities have the opportunity to put questions to the PCC.


Questions must have been submitted three clear working days prior to the Panel meeting.  A questioner may submit up to two questions per Panel meeting.  (All questions should be submitted to or, alternatively you can contact either officer by telephone on 01785 276135 or 01785 277868)

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There were no questions from the public


Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire - Draft Revenue Budget and Precept 2014/15 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Report to follow


Procedure note attached

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Matthew Ellis, the Police and Crime Commissioner presented details of the proposed revenue and capital budgets for 2014/5. Members were advised of his intention to maintain Council Tax precept at 2013/14 levels, and his acceptance of the Council Tax Freeze Grant from central government. The Commissioner explained his wish to ensure that current levels of funding were used to maximum effect prior to seeking additional revenue. Members were advised of 35-40 projects ongoing intended to bring down costs and ensure value for money.


A member referred to a forecast underspend of £1.042 for 2014/5 to be added to Reserves and a contribution to be taken from Reserves to fund the new £2m Innovation Fund for 2014/15. A request was made for the presentation of such information in a clearer  format in future budget reports , whilst acknowledging that the current format satisfied the “Statutory Funding Requirements”


Referring to the money available from the underspend the Commissioner saw it as an opportunity to incentivise other agencies and partners to work differently to achieve greater impact.


The Commissioner was asked to explain the Capital Programme and in particular what the revenue from the sale of the old Police Headquarters would be used for. He informed the Panel that it would be a capital receipt and used to offset current deficit, adding that until the buildings had been demolished there had been a financial liability of £1m for security and maintenance per annum. As a result of the demolition it was anticipated that there would be savings of £0.5m to be returned to funds.


A member raised the issue of savings related to staff restructuring and asked what effect there would be on Police resources, in particular were redundancies anticipated and where there was risk how did he intend to mitigate it.


The Commissioner explained there was an ongoing review of warranted officers deployed in staff roles as part of the measures to address a reduction in overall police officer numbers. The deployment of these officers to front line policing would mitigate a reduction in numbers without significant negative   impact on frontline policing numbers. He added that in the long term through collaboration with other services redundancies could not be discounted but it was anticipated that natural wastage would take up the numbers; ultimately front line numbers would not be affected. In respect of mitigation of risk he advised members that there were arrangements in place, his senior team had a number of projects on going, and that he was comfortable with the arrangements.


In relation to the Strategic Property Partnership, the Commissioner was asked if there had been a reconciliation of the Police Property Portfolio, and if so was the Chief Constable confident that operational policing capability would not be adversely affected. The Panel were assured that operational policing would not be affected but that operational needs could not as a matter of course override financial considerations. The Commissioner added that the major investment in Information technology would change the way patrolling  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Questions to the PCC by Panel members

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Following the mixed reviews in the media in relation to the Christmas Drink Drive Campaign “Name and Shame” the Commissioner was asked for comment. He  responded that the process had been referred to the Information Commissioner and that there  would be no action.  He was of the view that it had been the right decision and explained that once a charge had been laid then it was public record and therefore no breach of confidentiality or improper disclosure had taken place, and as it was an operational issue it was the responsibility of the Chief Constable. A report on the campaign had been requested from the Chief Constable.  He concluded that overall the campaign  had the support of the public and in the future would feature in the Chief Constables strategy.


In relation to people with mental health issues coming into police custody, a member asked the Commissioner for a view on the level of information available to ensure the correct level of care, and was there a mechanism in place to identify vulnerable victims.


The Commissioner expressed concern at the numbers of people coming into police custody with mental health issues, creating a strain on officers who had neither the training or necessary skills.  In order to identify the extent of the issue and associated resource implication he had commissioned a report. He informed members of a pilot scheme involving police and mental health professionals in the north of the County intended to keep people with mental issues out of the criminal justice system. In respect of vulnerable persons he explained that the multi-agency service hub, (MASH) supported by “Crime Stoppers” other local campaigns and initiatives, would provide the frame work to assist in their identification.


In respect of the apparent increase in child sexual exploitation in certain areas a member asked what the implications for policing were. The Commissioner responded that it was an operational matter and therefore ultimately the responsibility of the Chief Constable, however it would feature at the next Force Performance Meeting. It was the view of the members that child sexual exploitation should feature on the agenda of the next meeting of the Police and Crime Panel.


The Commissioner commented on internet crime and advised of a recent meeting with the National Crime Agency. The national consensus was that internet crime was the greatest threat across the country as a whole and it was his view that business crime presented similar levels of criminality and could not be overlooked. Members were advised that in recognition of the threat from internet crime a strategic agreement with three universities and a number of other police forces was being entered into.


In respect of the cuts in “Youth Services” across the County, the Commissioner was asked if it would have an effect on crime and in turn police performance. He responded that it would depend on the type of reform intended, and commented on the role of others including parents in delivering outcomes for young people.


RESOLVED  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Community Funding update pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Update by the Police and Crime Commissioner

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The Commissioner provided an update on the Community Safety Funding available for 2014/15. He explained that funds available through his office totalled £1.3 million with a planned increase to £2.5 million. The current figure was arrived at via the amalgamation of the inherited Community Safety Fund and £250,000 from the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).


The Commissioner reported that funds for the year were allocated in six month tranches in line with the Community Safety Funding allocated during 2013/14. He explained that this was intended to provide continuity for those in receipt of funding, and that there was an expectation that  organisations in receipt of funding would provide a monitoring report outlining the use of  funds against delivery of the priorities and effectiveness of solutions at community level.


The Commissioner, as part of his commitment to communities informed the Panel of the launch of a new £250,000 Local Policing Fund in September 2013 in support of local projects in conjunction with Local Policing Teams and Local Authorities.


A member referred to the drug and alcohol abuse facilities at Burton and Newcastle and asked if the same could be introduced in Stafford. The Commissioner advised that they were a County Council facility and not in his gift but were essential to the overall process of rehabilitation, reduction of crime and subsequent decrease in demand.


The issue of accessing funding from the Local Policing Fund was discussed and the need for increased guidance and support for applicants was noted. The Commissioner explained that the process would be brokered by District and Borough Councils supported by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). He took confidence from the response in local press, media, parish and town councils that expenditure was appropriately allocated. He assured members that good historical work would not be overlooked and reported that a formula had been devised based on need and long term outcomes.


RESOLVED:- that the Staffordshire Police Crime Panel accept and note the Community Funding update.





Force Performance 1 April -31 December 2013 pdf icon PDF 736 KB

ATTACHED – Copy papers considered at PCC’s Quarterly Governance Meeting (16 January 2014)

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The Police and Crime Commissioner updated the Panel in relation to the Force Performance against its objectives. He advised that the report had been considered at his Quarterly Governance Meeting 16 January 2014.


The Commissioner explained that generally performance was good but that there was no room for complacency. He expressed concern at the incidence of violent crime and informed members of his view that categories in use were old and could distort the figures in relation to the actual level of violence present in the crime. He appraised members of ongoing work to sub categorise reported violent crime to enable the impact on the individual to be assessed  and to identify vulnerable victims.


Members were advised of the removal of the target culture from within the police service and the intention to demonstrate force performance year on year. He explained the reasons for the removal and the drive to look beyond a culture of statistics to identify emerging crime trends and causes. It was his view that the new way of working provided stronger assessment and measurement of performance with improved outcomes. He commented that police officers were now able to exercise discretion during day to day policing and had embraced the new way of working. There was a reduction in sickness levels which the Commissioner believed to be attributable to the new approach.


In relation to accuracy of crime recording the Commissioner advised that there were now resources in place to implement his policies.  He expressed concern in relation to the HMIC policy of applying the same criteria across all forces and a failure to recognise that individual force areas may have issues exclusive to them. He informed members of a drive towards a culture that re-enforced honesty and accuracy in Staffordshire and a determination to prevent areas of the county from becoming places where crime was not reported, citing areas of Stoke-on-Trent as an example.


Discussion took place in respect of definitions of crime and the value of the separation of reported crime into categories. This would be advantageous in respect of adult and youth as it would assist with profiling and the identification of emerging trends in specific parts of the county. The Commissioner advised of ongoing work intended to provide categories that reflected more accurately crime and the effects of crime in the community.


A member referred to the effect of seasonal trends on analysis and in particular was there a correlation between anti-social behaviour, youth crime and holiday periods. The Commissioner advised of the importance of identifying the underlying reasons for an increase or decrease in recorded crime when determining strategy. 


RESOLVED:-that the report on Police Performance be noted by the Panel.



Dates of Future Meetings and Work Programme pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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RESOLVED – That the meeting of the 29 April 2014 be cancelled and a new date be arranged

as soon as possible