Agenda item

Creation of a Task Group to review Knife Crime

The Children, Adults, Health and Wellbeing Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel is invited to establish a task and finish group to learn about work taking place to tackle and prevent knife crime in Bath and North East Somerset and to explore opportunities to further develop these approaches.


The Chair of the Panel introduced this item and explained that the proposal to form a Task Group had been agreed at a meeting of full Council on 20th July 2023. The Chair stated that work agreed by the Task Group would need to fit in with the work of the Serious Violence Partnership.


The Policy Development & Scrutiny Officer addressed the Panel and said that the benefits of working within a Task Group format was that it can be flexible and dynamic in its approach. He added that the meetings would not be held in public and would therefore be able to deal more appropriately with any sensitive information that may need discussing.


He explained that the Group does not have to be configured politically and that it would elect its own Chair at its first meeting. He added that on conclusion of their work they would report back their findings to a public meeting of the Panel before passing on any recommendations to the Cabinet Member.


Councillor Alex Beaumont asked if the Task Group was only to be formed of members of this Panel or could Councillors from wards that have been affected by these recent incidents be involved.


The Policy Development & Scrutiny Officer replied that membership was not constrained to Panel members, but stated that no member of the Cabinet would be able to take part.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if Council would be involved in any further stage of the process.


The Policy Development & Scrutiny Officer replied that any recommendations would be made to the Cabinet Member or the Cabinet as a whole. He added that if there were to be any policy changes as a result then they would come before Council.


Councillor Paul Crossley commented that he thought that this was an excellent proposal. He questioned whether the timing of the report back to the Panel would have an impact on the budget setting process if further resources were decided to be required.


The Policy Development & Scrutiny Officer replied that the feedback timeline of 6 months within the report was a guide in order to try to keep momentum in place and was not set in stone. He added that during the evidence gathering process they could advise the Cabinet Member of any potential budget discussions.


The Chair added that Lead Officers would also be advised to take any early findings into account. She asked if the evidence that the Task Group receives can be broad and include local external partnership groups as well as from within the Council.


The Policy Development & Scrutiny Officer replied that they could and that is what he would advise.


The Head of Young People's Prevention Services reminded the Panel that there was a legislative deadline of 31st January 2024 for submitting the Strategic Needs Assessment and publishing a supporting strategy and that they should have that in mind when commencing this work.


The Chair commented that the Task Group would take into account the work of the Strategic Needs Assessment. She also wished to thank the Head of Young People's Prevention Services for all the work she has done for the Council and wished her well in her retirement.


The Panel RESOLVED to;


i) Agree to establish a Knife Crime Task Group;

ii) Endorse the proposed terms of reference, as detailed in para 3.8;

iii) Delegate authority to the Panel Chair and Vice Chair to finalise the task group membership;

iv) Request that the task group’s findings and recommendations are reported

back to the Panel for endorsement within six months of its first meeting.



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