The PCC published a refreshed Police and Crime Plan in May 2018 for the period 2018 to 2020. This built on the previous plan issued in 2016. The refresh was informed by emerging crime trends, consultation, scrutiny of current force performance and meetings and visits with Surrey Police, public and partners. This report provides an update on how the plan has been met to date, noting that the current plan has been extended to May 2021.
David Munro - Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner
Key points raised in the discussion:
1. The PCC noted that he was pleased with the Police and Crime Plan’s progress, despite the disruption caused by Covid-19.
2. Panel members raised concerns on the Plan’s performance measures:
- A Panel member disagreed with the PCC’s optimism as he highlighted that each of the Plan’s performance measures for 2020/21 to date were worse than the baseline 2015/16 figures. For example, the ‘Positive Outcome Rate for crimes against vulnerable people’ had dropped by 50%. He queried why every single performance measure had worsened.
- In response, the PCC noted that the statement that the performance measures had worsened was inaccurate, as for example the following performance measures: ‘%of public from survey believing that the police deal with antisocial behaviour and crimes that matter in their area’, ‘% of victims of crime surveyed satisfied with police service’ and ‘% people who feel confident in neighbourhood police’ had all improved in 2020/21 to date compared to 2019/20 figures.
- Regarding the 2015/16 baseline figures, the PCC noted that it had taken forces a long time to recover from successive budget cuts by the government and was pleased that since the baseline, increased government funding would hopefully lead to an increase in the performance measures.
- A Panel member noted concern with the 50% drop regarding the ‘Positive Outcome Rate for crimes against vulnerable people’, particularly as Covid-19 had exacerbated crimes against vulnerable people and sought an explanation for the decrease. In response, the PCC stressed that he was unsatisfied with the positive outcome rate and efforts were being made to address that, for example through the Prevention and Problem Solving Team. He added that the country had been in turmoil as a result of Covid-19 and so to be cautious when drawing conclusions from the 2020/21 figures.
- As a result of the decrease in percentages of the performance measures since the 2015/16 baseline, Panel members noted that they struggled with the recommendation to note the progress made against the Plan particularly as the ‘Positive Outcome Rate for crimes against vulnerable people’ had halved. In response to the recommendation, Panel members suggested that the Panel should express its concern on the lack of progress and ask the PCC to report back in more detail on the improvements and the Chief Constable’s new plan to address the matter.
- In response, the PCC agreed that the low ‘Positive Outcome Rate for crimes against vulnerable people’ was a concern and that the rate for all crimes needed improving. He explained that there had been steady progress on the performance measures since the restructuring of Surrey Police five years ago with the introduction of the Policing in Your Neighbourhood (PiYN) model.
3. A Panel member asked ifthere were examples of reviews being undertaken on the use of the Surrey Community Trigger by individuals who were not happy with the outcome, as well as the cause for that unhappiness. In response, thePCC noted that out of approximately thirty cases of the Community Trigger, only a few were referred to the OPCC. He added that he was pleased with the increased uptake since April 2019, as it had been under-utilised and under-publicised. He noted that even if cases did not meet the legal threshold for consideration, it was a useful mechanism to raise concerns.
4. Discussing Joint Enforcement Teams (JETs), a Panel member explained that after liaising with officers in Waverley Borough Council he noted that Waverley did in fact have a JET although no activity had happened in the last few years and he queried if other boroughs and districts were in the same position in that a JET had been established, then without further activity. In response, the PCC noted that initially Waverley was keen on establishing its JET and it had £50,000 as start-up costs but for some reason the JET did not proceed further.
- The PCC added that following the Panel’s informal meeting with the Chief Constable where JETs had been discussed, he had instigated a review of JETs and the powers granted through the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS). The PCC had drafted a letter to the Chief Constable asking for Surrey Police to clarify and update its policy on JETs. The PCC noted that although he could not force councils to establish JETs, there would be a publicity drive to raise awareness of JETs.
5. A Panel member noted that although the Panel had not been in receipt of the number of 101 calls made to the Contact Centre which were not on matters for the police, he noted the importance of educating the public further on when to call the police as opposed to other agencies such as borough or district councils as that would streamline the 101 system. In response the PCC noted that although there were many calls which were not on police matters, that residents who made a call on 101 or online had genuine concerns and as a major public service, Surrey Police had a duty to respond and sign-post residents to the correct organisations. He noted that Surrey Police did run campaigns to publicise the use of 101 for police matters.
6. A Panel member asked if there was a breakdown of antisocial behaviour (ASB) offences during lockdown which distinguished between ASB offences as violations of the national Covid-19 restrictions as opposed to ASB offences as a result of increased community tensions during lockdown. In response, the PCC explained that distinguishing between Covid and non-Covid ASB offences was complicated, noting that there was an artificial spike at the beginning of lockdown relating to neighbourly disputes and the breaking of social-distancing rules. He emphasised that Surrey Police had been successful in policing Covid-19 through the ‘four Es’: Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce - enforcement had been the last resort as many in Surrey were compliant with the Covid-19 restrictions.
7. A Panel member asked what sort of initiatives had come from the newly created Prevention and Problem Solving Team and what the outcomes were. In response, the PCC noted that the new Team was a positive initiative which focussed on solving pre-crimes. The Team undertook statistical analysis on hotspots for ASB as one example which helped support local policing teams; he noted that it was difficult to judge the success of the Team as it had been newly created but had received good feedback.
8. A Panel member agreed with the earlier comments from Panel members that the performance measures were not satisfactory. He was concerned with the decrease in the ‘% force budget spent on frontline policing’ from the 2015/16 baseline of 71% to 65.8% in 2019/20 and requested that the latest figure for 2020/21 be provided - particularly as residents did not feel that Surrey Police was visible.
- In response, the PCC explained that the reason for the decreasing percentage was that Surrey Police was a young force, pay increments increase the percentage.
9. The Panel member noted concern on the ‘number of police officers on front-line’ which had fluctuated since the 2015/16 baseline and had decreased in 2020/21 to date. He asked if that number could be broken up into mobile, beat and back office police officers. He also queried whether the data source which was taken from the Home Office Police Workforce statistics and Home Office definition of front-line reflected Surrey Police’s position.
- In response, the PCC explained that both performance measures noted above by the Panel member were national statistics and he agreed that they did not represent policing well; especially as it was difficult to categorise frontline policing. He contrasted the positive increase in police officers through the national uplift, with the possible issue of ‘reverse civilianisation’ which had affected other forces whereby less funding for support staff meant that police officers were asked to do support staff’s jobs and so less police officers were on the frontline.
Councillor Christine Elmer joined at 11.20 am
The Police and Crime Panel noted the report and expressed its concern on the reduction in the Plan’s performance measures since the 2015/16 baseline, particularly on the halving of the ‘Positive Outcome Rate for crimes against vulnerable people’performance measure.
The Panel requested that the PCCprovide more detail on the improvements made concerning the Plan’s performance measures and will provide the Chief Constable’s new plan to address the matter.
Actions/further information to be provided:
1. R38/20 - The PCC will report back in more detail on the improvements made concerning the Plan’s performance measures and will provide the Chief Constable’s new plan to address the matter - including the nature of the restructuring in investigation structure that the Chief Constable had put in place to address the 7% decline in the reduction of positive outcomes (see item 11 - key point 3).
2. R39/20 - The PCC will provide examples of reviews being undertaken on the use of the Surrey Community Trigger by individuals who were not happy with the outcome, as well as the cause for that unhappiness.
3. R40/20 - The Panel will be kept informed on the review of JETs and the powers granted through the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS).
4. R41/20 - The Panel will be provided with latest 2020/21 figure for the following performance measure: ‘% force budget spent on frontline policing’.
5. R42/20 - The Panel will be provided with the breakdown of the following performance measure: ‘number of police officers on front-line’, into mobile, beat and back office police officers.
6. R43/20 - The PCC will review whether the national data sources for the following performance measures: ‘% of force budget spent on frontline policing’ and ‘Number of police officers on front-line’ reflected Surrey Police’s position.