Agenda and draft minutes

Surrey Police and Crime Panel - Thursday, 21 April 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Woodhatch Place, Reigate, Surrey

Contact: Scrutiny Officer: Benjamin Awkal / Democratic Services Assistant: Emily Beard 

Media

Items
No. Item

15/22

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

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    The Chairman to report apologies for absence.

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    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Councillor Bernie Spoor.

16/22

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 4 FEBRUARY 2022 pdf icon PDF 572 KB

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    To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2022 as a correct record.

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    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 4 February 2022 were agreed as a true record of the meeting.

17/22

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter

    (i)            Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

    (ii)           Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

    NOTES:

    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

18/22

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

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    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (12 April 2022).

     

    Note:

    A written response will be circulated to Panel Members and the questioner.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

19/22

POLICE AND CRIME PLAN 2021-2025 - PROGRESS pdf icon PDF 281 KB

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    This report sets out the progress made towards achieving the 2021-2025 Police and Crime Plan. 

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

    Ellie Vesey-Thompson, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

    Alison Bolton, Chief Executive – OPCC

    Nathan Rees, Communications Manager – OPCC

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) introduced the report, noting that the plan was still in its infancy and there was a meeting with Surrey Police next week regarding the plan. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and the Force were working to make the plan and the outcomes more accessible for the public. The Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner (DPCC) highlighted that the plan had been welcomed by the Force and it was considered a co-owned plan. It had been noted by the Force that the plan had been much more consulted than in previous years. It was also easier to understand, as each section was broken down into actions for each partner.

     

    1. A Panel Member noted that the report contained a lot of detail for the public to understand and asked what the PCC was doing to make it accessible. The PCC emphasised that the report provided to Panel Members was produced specifically for the Panel. The PCC agreed that communication with the public was vital and the OPCC worked closely with the Force on this. For example, in the context of reducing violence against women and girls (VAWG), it was essential for the public to understand reporting. A new Head of Performance was starting in May, and they had discussed creating an accessible dashboard on the website. It would include the headline statistics, with the option to delve into more detail if desired. The PCC acknowledged that there was a lot of work that the public were not aware of and that better campaigning on certain issues, such as fraud, was needed.

     

    1. A Panel Member asked what support was being provided for victims of crime, because their residents believed that there was little support. The Panel Member asked for baseline information on this. The PCC explained that in their conversations with the Chief Constable she highlighted things that were not happening and that she was unhappy with. Victims wanted to be communicated with and kept up to date. The Deputy Chief Constable was completing a review into three areas, one of which was supporting victims of crime. The PCC added that they could provide some further information on this area, but that she was unable to comment on individual cases.

     

    1. A Panel Member asked for further information on the recruitment of more specialist workers for children experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence. The PCC explained that this was a piece of OPCC commissioned work, in collaboration with a range of partners. This included providing domestic abuse refuges with the resources to recruit specialists and working with the charity RASAC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre). The Head of Policy and Commissioning (OPCC) could provide more detail. The Panel Member noted that their borough did not have sufficient refuge  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19/22

20/22

POLICE COMPLAINTS REFORM pdf icon PDF 244 KB

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    This report informs the panel of the review role of the Police & Crime Commissioner in the police complaints process.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

    Alison Bolton, Chief Executive – OPCC

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. A Panel Member queried when the right to review complaints switched to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The Chief Executive explained that the police complaints regulations were complex and clarified that the OPCC could only review complaints which fell under Schedule 3 (Otherwise by Investigation). The IPCC only reviewed the most serious of complaints. The Chairman asked who conducted the reviews and the PCC explained that Complaints Review Manager did, but both she and the Chief Executive had oversight of these.

     

    1. A Panel Member queried the rationale behind the proposed extension to the target timescale and asked if the figures up to March 2022 were available for Surrey. The PCC could share the figures after the meeting. The PCC explained that the OPCC operated independently to the Force, therefore, when a member of public submitted a complaint, this went to the Complaints Review Manager. There was no statutory deadline in which reviews needed to be completed. The Chief Executive added that there was only one individual doing this, and some of the complaints were complex. The Complaints Review Manager had increased his hours and Surrey OPCC still completed the process faster than any other OPCC in south-east. It was about providing the complainant with a reasonable expectation and if the workload decreased, then the timescale would be reviewed.

     

    Actions/requests for further information:

    1. R14/22 – The OPCC to provide the average time taken to progress complaints reviews in the first and second halves of FY2021/22.

     

    RESOLVED:

    The Panel noted the report.

     

21/22

SURREY POLICE RECRUITMENT AND WORKFORCE PLANNING pdf icon PDF 154 KB

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    An update report detailing the Force’s recruitment and retention strategy including the allocation of officers by district, borough, county-wide and other teams; the allocation of newly recruited officers as a result of the national uplift programme to recruit 20,000 officers; details of how many officers are in training and how many are on patrol.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

    Ellie Vesey-Thompson, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

    Alison Bolton, Chief Executive – OPCC

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. The PCC referenced her letter to the Chairman (Annex 1) regarding some Panel Members who had shared information regarding the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and expressed that this was unhelpful for members of the Force concerned about redundancies. The PCC explained that the misrepresentation could lead the public to believe that their community would be less safe. The Chairman confirmed that the letter had been shared with all Panel Members and queried the distinction between front-line police officers and PCSOs. The PCC confirmed that the current Borough set up of both police officers and PCSOs in each area was being maintained. The Force had taken the opportunity to replace 22 PSCOs with fully warranted officers, as these positions had become vacant, in order to improve operational effectiveness in neighbourhood teams. The PCC expressed her concern that the replacement of PCSOs was being incorrectly linked to the budget of the OPCC in tweets by Panel Members.

     

    1. A Panel Member noted the difference between establishment numbers and actual numbers of PCSOs, as well as the associated savings related to staffing included at the previous meeting. The Panel Member also queried the reduction in PCSOs compared with previous figures provided. The PCC explained that there was difference due to the number of Full Time Equivalents (FTEs). The Chief Executive added that the Force was over establishment at one stage, with the current number of FTE PCSOs being 118.42. The report requested was about the allocation of police officers, in future, information could be provided on police staff.

     

    1. A Panel Member queried the routes into the Force, especially with regards to obtaining a university degree during the probation period. The PCC explained that there were a number of routes, and each Force took a different view from the guidance provided by the College of Policing. A degree was not required to enter policing; however, a degree would need to be obtained during training in order to become fully qualified. The DPCC explained that there would be some who would leave during their probation because they would not pass it. The DPCC noted that quality candidates were entering policing through this route, however, she shared concerns about whether this route could discourage some candidates to apply. This was a relatively new route, and it would continue to be monitored.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    The Panel noted the report.

22/22

FORCE CULTURE AND CONDUCT pdf icon PDF 446 KB

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    This report updates the Panel on the steps taken by the Commissioner to hold the Chief Constable to account regarding Surrey Police’s culture and conduct and the steps taken by the Force to address cultural and conduct issues.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

    Alison Bolton, Chief Executive – OPCC

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. A Panel Member noted that statistically there was over one case per officer and some officers would have several cases against them. The PCC explained that there was a low threshold to record a complaint against an officer, which meant that the case numbers were higher. It was better to have a lower threshold for making a complaint.

     

    1. A Panel Member questioned whether there were a large number of complaints reported by a small number of the population. The PCC explained that the OPCC did not have access to that information, however, the Professional Standards Department (PSD) had been doing work on repeat complainants who took up a disproportionate amount of time. The Chief Executive added that the PCC had regular meetings with the PSD and could probe any outliers and look at general trends.

     

    1. A Panel Member asked about the support provided to those who reported inappropriate behaviour of their colleagues. The PCC agreed that this was an important issue which had been raised with the Chief Constable. There had been a lot of work around VAWG, domestic abuse and misogyny within the Force. It was crucial to stop these behaviours before they turned into a conduct issue. The PCC explained that there has been a cultural campaign around ‘call it out’, whereby colleagues were encouraged to call out behaviour, and if they did not feel comfortable, there was a system to anonymously raise an issue. There was a real effort in policing to break the cycle seen by a small number of officers in the country. The OPCC and the Force had discussed introducing external oversight in this area.

     

    1. A Panel Member asked about whether staff surveys on culture could be introduced. The PCC explained that surveys were done frequently by the Force, however, not all employees would feel comfortable answering a survey issued by the same organisation. The Panel Member queried whether there was a significant difference in the distribution for complaints upheld and asked about the time taken to investigate complaints. The PCC explained that she met with the Police Federation and UNISON to discuss those issues. There had been recent issues with delays which had been addressed. Some complaints had been escalated when they arguably should not have been, but it was also important to be robust when investigating complaints. The PCC did not have the figures to hand regarding the distribution and suggested that this could be raised at the informal meeting with the Chief Constable.

     

    1. A Panel Member queried the timing of retirement for those facing a misconduct case. The PCC responded that the organisation could not stop someone from leaving. Where it was a serious and criminal allegation, this would be pursued. It was also possible to write to the Home Office regarding forfeiture of some of an officer’s pension, in some circumstances.

     

    1. A Panel Member expressed concern over a lack  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/22

23/22

POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER'S SUCCESSION PLAN pdf icon PDF 302 KB

24/22

PANEL UPDATE ON FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF ERP SYSTEM pdf icon PDF 221 KB

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    This report updates the Panel on the work being undertaken to determine the next steps in the development of an ERP solution for both Surrey and Sussex Police.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

    Kelvin Menon, Chief Finance Officer and Treasurer – OPCC

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. A Panel Member asked whether any of the £1.5 million spent so far on the ERP project could be recovered. The Chief Finance Officer explained that some assets were acquired as part of the termination and that these were still being assessed to see if they could be used. A proportion of the money would be recovered through use on new systems; however, a proportion would be written off.

     

    1. A Panel Member asked which option would be chosen. The PCC explained that they were waiting for a recommendation from the Force.

     

    RESOLVED:

    The Panel noted the report.

25/22

PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY MEETINGS pdf icon PDF 217 KB

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    This report provides an update on the performance meetings between the PCC and the Chief Constable that have been held and what has been discussed in order to demonstrate that arrangements for good governance and scrutiny are in place.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witness:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. A Panel Member asked about the CCTV projects. The PCC clarified that one was the Force’s own plan, and one was a piece of work with Surrey Leaders Group regarding joined up working between the district and borough councils. These projects were running in parallel.

     

    1. A Panel Member asked what the current budget was for CCTV and whether there was an opportunity to review the CCTV plan. The PCC explained that she did not know what the current budget was and suspected that it was not confirmed at this stage. The PCC noted that the budget setting for the Force was a matter for the Chief Constable. The Panel Member suggested that the Force should work with the modern and effective CCTV that already existed in the county and invest appropriately. The PCC responded that this was an issue that was spoken about at Community Safety Partnership meetings and noted the importance of Surrey Leaders engaging. The PCC agreed that CCTV did need to be modern, and some systems were outdated A Panel Member added that at the previous meeting the Panel were informed that there was £800,000 in the revenue budget for the whole of the county for CCTV and none in the capital budget for CCTV.

     

    1. The Chairman stated that the statistics did not show any improvement in performance, in terms of better outcomes or reduced offences. The Chairman asked if there was any information that came out of the PCC’s meeting with the Chief Constable on 7 April 2022 that could be shared with the Panel. The PCC explained that the issues raised were around 101 and burglary. There had been an increase in solve rates, particularly in two divisions, and best practice was being shared.

     

    RESOLVED:

    The Panel noted the report.

26/22

PCC FORWARD PLAN AND KEY DECISIONS pdf icon PDF 301 KB

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    This report provides information on the key decisions taken by the PCC from February 2022 to present and sets out details of the Office’s ongoing Forward Plan for 2022/2023.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

    Nathan Rees, Communications Manager – OPCC

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. The PCC noted that the forward plan needed to be updated, as this version was out of date, and the Chairman asked for the new version to be shared with the Panel when it was.

     

    1. A Panel Member asked whether the Panel could receive a written briefing on the Community Safety Fund and asked how the annual report would be published for residents. The Communications Manager explained that it would be published on their website and hard copies would be available.

     

    Actions/requests for further information:

    1. R15/22 – The OPCC to share the updated version of the forward work plan once available.

     

    1. R16/22 – The OPCC to provide a written briefing on the Community Safety Fund once available.

     

    RESOLVED:

    The Panel noted the report.

     

     

27/22

COMMISSIONER'S QUESTION TIME pdf icon PDF 255 KB

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    For the Panel to raise any issues or queries concerning crime and policing in Surrey with the Commissioner.

     

    Note:

    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (13 April 2022).

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witness:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. A Panel Member asked a question about the College of Policing’s advice regarding non-criminal hate incidents (NCHIs). The PCC declared that she had been reported for at least one NCHI herself. It was important that they were very clear with their judgement. The PCC explained that they were awaiting new guidance from the College of Policing. The PCC had raised this issue with Ministers at the Home Office. The PCC stated that as they were non-crimes, the Force should not be involved.

     

    Actions/requests for further information:

    1. R17/22 – The OPCC to provide a full written response to the question submitted by Mr Philip Walker.

     

28/22

COMPLAINTS RECEIVED SINCE THE LAST MEETING pdf icon PDF 122 KB

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    To note complaints against the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner received since the last meeting of the Police and Crime Panel.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witness:

    Lisa Townsend, Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

     

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. The Chairman asked the PCC if she had written to the three complainants with a letter of explanation as recommended by the Complaints Sub-Committee. The PCC responded that she had not written the letter and did not intend to. The PCC asked for the Panel to publish her response to the initial complaints on their website. The Chairman understood that it was only a recommendation and noted that the last PCC did, on one occasion, choose not follow the Panel’s recommendation either. The Chairman suggested that the PCC published her response on the OPCC website, as it would not be published on the Panel’s website.

     

    RESOLVED:

    The Panel noted the report.

     

     

29/22

RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 114 KB

30/22

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

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    The next public meeting of the Police and Crime Panel will be held on 30 June 2022.

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    Minutes:

    The Panel noted that its next public meeting would be held on Thursday, 30 June 2022.