Agenda item

Crime and Disorder Overview Report

To discuss the report.


The committee discussed the presentation and report and noted the details. They suggested that it could be reviewed as part of a joint Scrutiny Committee with Communities.


The committee received a presentation from Clare Stuart, Health Promotion Manager, Violence Reduction Unit, of the Crime and Disorder Overview report, which covered the approach to community safety, the public health approach to violence, and an overview of statistics and activities around violent and serious crime.


The committee asked a number of questions, many of which were responded to at the meeting, as follows:


·       How do youth groups interact with other agencies, including police and public health? There is an early intervention team and a dedicated role in each area to liaise with youth at risk of violence.

·       The number of organisations involved are often complex and difficult to know who to speak to, there is a lack of relationship building and local geographical knowledge. They will take that feedback back as an opportunity to reestablish links with the voluntary sector. Regional mapping is a work in progress.

·       Is the data broken down to geographic areas and are there areas of concentration that resources are focused on? There is more detailed data as part of a needs assessment that can be made available to the councillors.

·       Statistics are alarming, given impending cuts to police services are we looking at things getting worse? Resources are limited and it is a challenge, but they are focusing resources in the right place and have bespoke services for victims of certain crimes like sexual violence.

·       The statistics look bad when compared with other councils. The comparison is demographic based, so we are being compared with councils that also have a relatively lower crime rates. There needs to be further analysis on what we can learn from other areas.

·       There are many committees and subcommittees on the Safer Somerset Partnership, and some of them are marked statutory or non-statutory. Is there duplication, and given the financial emergency, are these groups likely to be reduced? Where we have limited resources, we are focusing on understanding who is at risk and working tactically, cluster by cluster, to keep the risk from growing with partnership multi-agency working. We will be looking at where there is crossover and how we can be more efficient and looking at the governance structure overall.

·       Is there still a plan for a review and upgrade of CCTV? CCTV is an operational function and it would be a question for the officer responsible for it.

·       What do ‘recorded crimes’ denote specifically? Once matters are reported to the police, how many crimes are identified. Some things that are reported are not always crimes, and sometimes there will be multiple reports and only one crime, or one report and multiple crimes. The number refers to actual crimes recorded rather than reports.

·       Is it possible to see which crimes are prosecuted, comparatively to recorded? For example, sexual crimes in particularly have a low prosecution rate. We do track that data, in areas, regions, and crime type. We know that it is very low for sexual offences, but we do acknowledge that and we are improving.

·       Grants on page 40: Is the grant for this year continuing and are there other grants available? That grant refers to external funding from the Home Office for reducing serious violence which has been set for 3 years and due to end in 2025. That figure doesn’t include other external funding, and we can share more detailed information after the meeting. The Home Office has set a mandate to ‘Clear. Hold. Build’ but not provided funding to ensure we can meet those objectives. This is an additional pressure but also an opportunity to collaborate.

It was suggested that while this is a public health issue, it might be an issue in future to be looked at as a joint scrutiny committee with Communities.


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