Agenda item

Joint Community Safety Plan 2022 - 2025

This report sets out the current position on the Council’s draft Joint Community Safety Plan to the Panel for consideration and feedback.


The Inclusive Communities Manager introduced the report to the Panel and highlighted the following areas.


The Joint Community Safety Plan sets out how all partners will work together to protect vulnerable people, prevent crime and build strong, resilient communities.


It focuses on collective priorities with a shared vision, and actions. The Joint

Community Safety Plan serves as both the Community Safety Plan and the local Police & Crime Plan for Bath & North East Somerset.


It sets out the PCC and Council’s community safety objectives and planned activities for the next three years, identifying the key issues upon which we will focus to tackle crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in Bath & North East Somerset. The plan utilises the data we hold on crime in Bath and North East Somerset and reflects priorities and concerns raised by local people.


She stated that a decision to approve the Plan was required by Council at their meeting in March.


She offered to provide the Panel with a specific Community Safety Update at a future meeting.


Councillor Liz Hardman commented that she knows teams are working hard to keep us safe, but said there has been a rise in violent offences over the past year. She asked would it be possible to compare this year’s offences with last year’s so that we are able to make a comparison as to how successful strategies have been in some areas.


Inspector Ruth Gawler, Avon & Somerset Police replied that although violent crime incidents had gone up in the past 12 months, these numbers were now similar to pre-Pandemic times. She added that they were working on issues relating to the night time economy and violence against women and girls.


Councillor Hardman referred to the Voice Box service and said that the Panel have been supplied four charts with answers to questions asked. She said that they have been given percentages but asked if they could have information about the actual numbers involved. She also asked if only the four questions with related answers were put forward.


The Inclusive Communities Manager acknowledged that the relevant figures need to be inputted into the charts before submitting the report to Council and that they could include their Action Plans as an appendix to the report. She added only four community safety questions were contained within the Voice Box survey. She informed the Panel that the survey was circulated to 3,000 people and an average of 1,083 people responded to those four questions.


The Chair asked how the circulation of the survey was decided.


The Inclusive Communities Manager replied that it was sent randomly and that there was no obligation to reply.


Councillor Hardman said that it is worrying to see that 39% of adults felt not very safe or not safe at all at night in BANES and similarly for children, 37% of children felt not very safe or not safe at all outside the home at night. She asked if there were strategies in place to deal with this.


Inspector Ruth Gawler replied that they were working with pub and club door staff, Youth Connect, Project 28, the City Marshalls, British Transport Police and Bath Rugby on these matters to make B&NES a safer place.


Councillor Hardman asked how confident they were in recognising the signs of child exploitation.


Inspector Ruth Gawler replied that there is a Joint Violence Reduction Team that works alongside the Council which has Operation Topaz in place to specifically look at this area of work. She added that in the past 3 months they have taken out four County Lines and are supporting the children that were involved in these incidents.


She added that she would be willing to provide further information to future Panel meetings. She informed the Panel that where possible the Police were looking to enhance their on street presence,


Councillor Hardman commented that the key performance indicators on page 43 were just headings. She asked if it would be possible to have more detail on these figures with targets or measurable outcomes in the next 6 monthly report.


The Inclusive Communities Manager replied that she was willing to come back to the Panel at a future meeting with the Community Safety Action Plans to provide this further data.


Councillor Paul May commented that he would have liked to have seen more information within the report relating to the training and development of Council staff in this work area. He added that the Council also works well with the voluntary sector, including organisations such as DHI (Developing Health & Independence) who do a lot of preventative work.


He said that he would welcome an update on the changes to safeguarding rules in any future reports to the Panel.


Inspector Ruth Gawler replied that when operations are carried out they do involve groups such as DHI alongside the Council in terms of safeguarding as the safety of children is paramount.


Councillor Andy Wait said that he welcomed the closer links being made between the Council and the Police. He referred to page 31 where it states that ‘The number of people identified as vulnerable in Avon & Somerset is significant and placing increasing demand upon public sector services’. He said that some actual figures would be relevant here to understand how much of an issue this actually is.


He added that he was surprised to find that there was no mention within the report relating to clear up rates and said that this information would also be a welcome addition.


Councillor Joanna Wright said that she felt that the Voice Box information should contain information relating to respondents age, location and nationality to make it more meaningful.


She suggested whether some street lights in certain areas of B&NES could be made brighter at particular times of night to make people feel safer. She said that she felt residents would also welcome more visibility of on street police.


Councillor Eleanor Jackson questioned whether the report should reflect the distinction between rural and urban areas and the types of crime that were committed.


She added that she was worried about the future of the police station in Westfield.


Inspector Ruth Gawler replied that she was not aware of any plans to close the station.


Councillor Gerry Curran commented that he did not think that the level of detail mentioned by Councillor Wright with regard to the Voice Box survey was relevant. He added that he felt that the team that work on street lighting would be willing to discuss any issues directly if raised by Councillors.


He said that his ward of Combe Down has a current problem with regard to graffiti and asked if any comment could be given on how that is responded to.


The Inclusive Communities Manager replied that the Council’s Graffiti Removal Team become involved mainly if it is offensive or inciteful to hate.


Inspector Ruth Gawler added that any incidents of reported graffiti will be investigated.


Kevin Burnett asked for clarification if the dashboard for Key Performance Indicators referred to in a previous report of the Community Safety Partnership were the same as the ones now listed in this report.


The Inclusive Communities Manager replied that they were.


Councillor May asked if changes to the report would now be made prior to its submission to Council.


The Inclusive Communities Manager replied that the report would now be amended following the comments from the Panel before it is submitted to the Council for their meeting in March.


The Chair thanked the Inclusive Communities Manager and Inspector Ruth Gawler  for their attendance and looked forward to receiving an update on their work in six months’ time.


The Panel having identified areas of feedback during their debate RESOLVED to note the next steps for the Joint Community Safety Plan.

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