Venue: Committee Room 3 - Council House. View directions
Contact: Suzanne Bennett, Governance Services - Telephone: 024 7697 2299 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Declarations of Interest
The Committee noted that Councillor J Lepoidevin’s daughter and Councillor D Welsh’s partner both worked for West Midlands Police.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 14 March, 2023, were agreed and signed as a true record.
There were no matters arising.
Briefing Note of Head of Environmental Services
The Committee received a Briefing Note, together with a comprehensive presentation at the meeting, which provided an update on local policing in Coventry.
Chief Superintendent Peter Henrick and Superintendent Ronan Tyrer and Anant Patel, West Midlands Police (WMP), attended the meeting for consideration of this item.
The presentation outlined in detail:-
• The new Local Policing Model introduced by the Chief Constable of the West Midlands in March 2023 and the impact that this will have in Coventry, including early indicators of success in relation to responding to calls for service and violence
• A strategic oversight of the WMP
• The WMP Crime Plan 2021-2025
• Details of the Coventry Local Policing Area, including an organisational chart, operational teams and specialist capabilities
• Work being undertaken to make WMP an “Employer of Choice”
• An update of crime statistics in Coventry from a local policing perspective
• Priorities and pressure facing the Local Policing Unit (LPU) and WMP and how this affects Coventry
• Ambitions for Coventry Investigations 2023-24
• Coventry performance headlines
• Targeting Activity
• Areas highlighted for focus:-
o City Centre
o Ride Out
• Engagement with Community Groups
The Committee asked questions, made comments and sought assurances on a number of issues including:-
• The new policing model and synergy with the One Coventry Plan was noted and welcomed
• The recruitment process for WM Police, including the different levels of entry available to entrants
• Public perception of safety and action being taken to improve this
• Stability of the Coventry police workforce and how the new policing model will mean that WMP officers will be locality based, enabling them to build better understanding and connections with the city they are based in
• Existing excellent working relationships with community- based Police were noted and welcomed
• Work currently being undertaken nationally via the Police national database to vet and carry out checks on existing Police officers was noted and welcomed
• Clarification in relation to the data provided and availability of performance management data was noted
• Concerns regarding graffiti in the City was expressed by both Members and WMP and action being undertaken in this regard to apprehend the individual (s) was noted and welcomed
• Improvements to the 101 service in terms of response times were welcomed and supported
• A request for WMP support for the night-time economy in areas outside of the City Centre, particularly Whoberley, was made
• Work being undertaken in relation to identifying and closing down cannabis farms in the City was noted and welcomed
• Collaborative work being undertaken with the City Council in relation to
domestic violence was supported by the Committee and it was noted that an evaluation of work in this regard would be shred in the near future
• Information was sought in relation to traffic management work being carried out in the City
• Thanks were expressed by the Committee in relation to community policing activity and speed watches ... view the full minutes text for item 54.
Briefing Note of Head of Environmental Services and West Midlands Police
This item of business was deferred to a future meeting.
Briefing Note of Director of Streetscene and Regulatory Services
The Committee considered a Briefing Note, together with a comprehensive presentation at the meeting, which detailed the use and enforcement of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO’s) in the City. Councillors J O’Boyle and D Welsh, St Michael’s Ward Councillor attended the meeting at the invitation of the Chair.
The Briefing Note indicated that PSPO’s were created as part of the 2014 Anti Social Behaviour (ASB), Crime and Policing Act, and operate for spaces in the same way that injunctions work against people. When a PSPO is created it can define what behaviours or activities are permitted or prohibited within a defined area. There are currently 5 PSPO’s operational in the City, addressing issues such as public alcohol consumption and off road bikes, as well as localised issues that are deemed to affect specific areas such as Edgwick Park or the City.
PSPO’s can be enforced by Police and Council officers. These powers can be delegated to other agencies but that has not been done in Coventry. Under the legislation a simple breach of a PSPO leaves some liable to be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) that can cost £100 or £60 if paid within 14 days. In Coventry, “breach notices” are issued when someone doesn’t comply with a PSPO. This means there is not an obvious confrontation at the point of issuance and allows the offence and the individual to be triaged to decide on the appropriate course of action. The appropriate action may be the issuing of a FPN, a referral to a support agency or a summons to court, it will depend on the circumstances.
Where it is the Council that enforces the PSPO’s, it is carried out by Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers (NEO’s) These officers carry out a wide range of duties across the whole City including investigating fly tipping and other environmental issues, amongst other duties. The Council only have a finite number of NEO’s and as such, where they are allocated and on what duties they are tasked to carry out, will have an impact on PSPO enforcement. Recently NEO’s have been prioritising fly tipping in targeted areas.
The Briefing Note indicated that the idea that people’s behaviour always needs to be “enforced” needs to be challenged. Technically enforcement only occurs when you have to rely upon legislation to get someone to comply with your instructions. If someone modifies their behaviour as requested, then it’s usually not appropriate to enforce.
Police look to use what they refer to as “The 5 E’s” when they interact with the public. These are:
In light of the above, any review of enforcement statistics needs to be caveated so that people aren’t unduly concerned if figures are lower than they might expect. This could reflect that officers are good at encouraging people to act in a suitable manner without needing to formally use the PSPO powers.
The St Michaels PSPO was introduced a number of years ago ... view the full minutes text for item 56.
Briefing Note of Chief Legal Officer
The Committee received and noted their Work Programme for 2022/23.
Further to Minute 55 above, it was also noted that “ Coventry Community Safety Plan” would be included in the Work Programme for 2023/24.
Any Other Items of Urgent Public Business
Any other items of public business which the Chair decides to take as a matter of urgency because of the special circumstances involved.
There were no other items of urgent public business.