Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities
Thursday, 25th October, 2018 3.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Council House. View directions

Contact: Michelle Rose  Tel: 024 7683 3111; Email: michelle.rose@coventry.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

21.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no disclosable pecuniary interests.

22.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 68 KB

(a)  To agree the minutes of the additional Cabinet Member (Policing and Equalities) meeting held on 8th October, 2018.

 

(b)  Matters arising

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 8th October, 2018 were agreed as a true record.

23.

Petition - Tarmac area of grass adjacent to Sledmere Close, Coventry pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition bearing 14 signatures, sponsored by Councillor Harvard, a Longford Ward Councillor, which had been submitted to the City Council on 17th April, 2018. The petition requested that the Council tarmac a strip of land adjacent to Sledmere Close, which forms part of Longford Park. The petitioners commented that the grass verge was currently a major health and safety concern and also a complete eyesore as the grass was constantly churned up by the traffic that drives upon it. An aerial image, plan of the area and photographs were appended to the report. The petition spokesperson and Councillor Harvard were invited to the meeting but were unable to attend.

 

The report noted that the petition related to a strip of land which was set to grass which formed part of Longford Park and runs adjacent to Sledmere Close.  A low post and rail fence was erected many years ago within the park approximately 3 metres from the edge of the Sledmere Close road leaving a strip of grassed land, which has the appearance of a verge but forms part of the park.  The Councils Streetpride Service maintain the park which encompasses the grassed strip adjacent to Sledmere Close on behalf of the Greenspace Service.  Maintenance included grass cutting, litter collection and turf reinstatement when resources allowed.  The report noted that as Sledmere Close was a relatively narrow road, 4 metres wide, vehicles were unable to pass without encroaching on the grassed strip of park land. This caused considerable damage to the grass which became muddy, unsightly and difficult to maintain.

 

The grassed strip of land does not form part of the adopted highway but falls within the management remit of the Councils Greenspace Service.  The cost to remove the grass strip in order to widen the road would cost in the region of £20,000-£40,000 and was beyond their existing resources. The Council’s Highway Service would consider adopting the grassed strip of land as part of the highway however, they did not have the budgetary resources which would enable them to undertake the construction works. There were four lighting columns and a telegraph pole on the grass strip which made the proposal to widen the road more difficult therein more costly than usual. There would also be a loss of 400 square metres of Parkland to consider, the strip of grass was currently part of Longford Park, which was a Green Flag Park.

 

The report also noted that the Councils adopted Verge Policy stated that on roads of this type, until prioritised for works, there was the presumption that verge parking would be tolerated unless there were safety concerns and that repairs would be carried out to grass areas in accordance with normal procedures. Priority was given to main roads in and out of the city followed by important secondary routes.

 

RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities:

 

1.   Consider the content of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Petition - Refurbishment of the Tick Tock Play Area, Stoke Green. pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition bearing 22 signatures, sponsored by Councillor McNicholas, a Lower Stoke Ward Councillor, which had been submitted to the City Council on, 18th July, 2018.  The petition requested that the Council refurbish the Tick Tock children’s play area located within Stoke Green Park.  Appended to the report were the following: an areal photo, a boundary photo, the original design, the post installation report and asset photos.  The petition spokesperson was invited to the meeting but was unable to attend, Councillor McNicholas spoke on behalf of the petitioners. 

 

The report noted that the play site was located within Stoke Green in the South of the City just off the Binley Road and included a number of items of play equipment designed to cater for the younger age group.  There were also a number of infrastructural elements associated with the play area including fencing, tarmac paths and safer surfacing.  The park was under the control of the Councils Greenspace Service within the Place Directorate.

 

In 2012 the Gosford Residents Association (GRA) submitted a successful application to the Jubilee People’s Millions Big Lottery and were awarded £56,000.00 to construct a play area.  The original idea to provide timber equipment on site was not supported by Parks Service and the plans were revised to incorporate more durable metal equipment.  The Greenspace Service also stated that their preference was for Dura Sports’ Impact Play Grass safety surfacing as this was proven to be long lasting and durable, however the group confirmed that they had decided to use “Matta” grass reinforcing rubber matting as it was cheaper and they could provide an additional item of equipment if that was used.

 

As part of the funding agreement the City Council had to agree to inspect and maintain the play area for a minimum of 5 years following opening, which was agreed.  New seats, waste bins and a new notice board were provided by Parks Service, along with an illustrated name sign. The play area opened in 2012 and was independently inspected by The Play Inspection Company included in Appendix 2 to the report.

 

Shortly after the play area opened the GRA confirmed that they wanted to provide an additional item of equipment, the large Multi-play Tube slide, however they did not have enough funds.  Parks Service provided funds of around £17k towards its provision and installation including Dura Sports’ Impact Play Grass safety surfacing.  Parks Service also funded the refurbishment of the paved crescent within the play area at a cost of around £13k including improvements to a macadam footpath.

 

Since the play area opened two of the original items have had to be removed due to on-going maintenance issues and vandalism.  The “Glow worm see-saw” was removed and replaced by a Play Train which was purchased by the GRA.  The Greenspace Service funded its installation and provision of the Impact Play Grass safety surfacing at a cost  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Petition - Radford Common Park Play Area pdf icon PDF 4 MB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition bearing 10 signatures, which had been submitted to the City Council on 8th July, 2017.  The petition requested that that the Council update the children’s play area located within Radford Common.  Items of existing equipment were shown in an appendix to the report.  The petition spokesperson was invited to the meeting but was unable to attend.

 

The report noted that Radford Common was a small site located close to the busy Radford Road in the North East area of the City.  The play area contained a number of items of equipment designed to be appropriate for both the younger age group aged 4 to 7 years and the senior age group 8 to 13 years.  In addition, the play site also included items for informal sports play, this included a basketball area and football.  Infrastructural elements associated with the play site included fencing, seating, bins, tarmac footpaths and safer surfacing.

 

There used to be a paddling pool on the site which was closed and filled in sometime in the 1990’s as it was continually being subject to vandalism and the cost of repair had become unsustainable.  The existing play area was installed in 2009 in response to requests from local residents and from external income including section 106 funding.  During its construction the play area suffered from considerable antisocial behaviour (ASB) including arson.  This ASB continued for 6-8 months afterwards.  As a result of the high levels ASB a CCTV camera was installed which overlooked the main play area which was controlled and monitored by the police.  Although the site still experienced ASB, particularly in the evenings it was now considerably less than that experienced some years ago.

 

The play area was divided into 3 areas with the teenage area set away from the main play facility to avoid any potential conflicts between differing age groups.  Overall the site had a generous provision of varying equipment as detailed in the report.

 

During 2015/16 the Parks Service operational budget was reduced by £1m from 2016.  As part of its financial strategy the service now reviewed the replacement of play equipment as and when its practicable life ends.  When external or internal inspections were undertaken, recommendations were made as to what items should be considered for replacement or improvement and the works were then included in the play area maintenance programme.  Inspections had indicated that all the equipment was in good condition and sound practicable use.

 

A full refurbishment of this play area had been considered however this would cost a minimum of approximately £150,000 to complete and the Parks Service did not have the existing resources to undertake this proposal.  The option to remove and not replace items of equipment deemed to have reached the end of their practicable life was considered however, this would result in the gradual further and overall reduction in the play value and benefit of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Petition - Response regarding concerns over environmental issues anti-social and criminal behaviour in the vicinity of alleyway in between Freeman Street and Red House Park pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition bearing 10 signatures, which had been submitted to the City Council on 12th July, 2018.  The petition submitted raised concerns over; environmental issues, anti-social and criminal behaviour in an alleyway between Freeman Street and Stoney Stanton Road.  The petitioners requested that the alleyway be gated at either end.  The petition spokesperson attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of petitioners.  The Police sent their apologies.

 

Local residents attended the meeting and commented on the rubbish they find which included needles and glass, fridge freezers and mattresses.  They were fearful of letting children play in their gardens and walking through the entry.  They were intimidated and they had experienced burglaries, people climbing into their gardens, people selling drugs and people staring to their houses.

 

This report detailed actions taken by the City Council and West Midlands Police to address the resident’s concerns.

 

The main issues concerned a spate of alleged incidents of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in the alleyway between Freeman Street and Red House Park, mainly at night.  Residents felt that the ASB and criminal activity in the area made it an unsafe place and the alleyway should be gated by the Council.

 

The report noted that recorded data regarding flytipping and litter complaints from July 2017 to July 2018 amounted to 31 reports directly related to Freeman Street.  Freeman Street was patrolled regularly, at least once a week by officers from the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team and referrals were made to ensure the area was kept clean.  Of the 31 reports mentioned above, 20 were as a result of council officers logging the issues whilst on these routine patrols.  None of the reports were connected to the alleyway in question.

 

The Councils Street Cleansing Team carry out cleaning schedules once a week in Freeman Street.  In addition, specific visits were undertaken to collect reported fly tipping from council land.  All cases of littering and fly tipping were investigated, with the appropriate course of action depending on any evidence found at the scene and witnesses to the offence(s).

 

Police data for the period 01/01/18 – 19/08/18 showed a total of one ASB log for Freeman Street.  This again was not connected to the alleyway in question.  The Local Neighbourhood Police Sergeant stated, that crimes had been committed in Red House Park and that offenders had used the alleyway to make their escape.

 

In response to the petition, officers from the Council had made contact with the lead petitioner.  The alleyway in question was a public right of way and although there was a procedure to close public thoroughfares because of public safety issues, they were only granted in exceptional circumstances.  At this moment in time there were very few reports to the Police and Local Authority and this course of action was therefore, not the recommended option.

 

West Midlands Police and the Council would continue to monitor the situation.  Extra patrols would take  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Report Back on Petition - Response regarding concerns over anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of Priors Harnall and Cawthorne Close pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which provided a report back on a petition bearing 39 signatures, sponsored by the St Michael’s Ward Councillors (Councillor’s Welsh, O’Boyle and Akhtar) which had been submitted to the City Council on 14th June, 2017.  The report had been initially considered on 27th July, 2017 and a report back had been considered on 13th March, 2018 (minutes 3/17 and 16/17 refer).  The petition was  regarding concerns over; anti-social behaviour in the vicinity of Priors Harnall and Cawthorne Close, notably focused around the greenspace to the rear of 16 – 22 Priors Harnall.  The Petition spokesperson and Councillors O’Boyle and Akhtar attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of petitioners.  The Police sent their apologies.

 

The petition highlighted residents’ concerns with anti-social behaviour notably that young children and youths congregate around the green open space between Priors Harnall and Cawthorne Close.  The residents highlight that young children were playing ball games within the grassed area on Cawthorne Close.  They also state that in the evening there were older youths who congregate to the rear of the garage area and it was believed that they were taking drugs.

 

Residents felt intimidated and were regularly disturbed by the activity of these groups and stated that there were also numerous incidents of dog fouling, littering and fly tipping in the same area.  This made the area look dirty and untidy and encouraged more flytipping.  Residents were keen to have the issues addressed at the earliest opportunity.

 

The six month update was heard on the 13th March 2018, it was agreed that the recommendations agreed at the initial hearing were to carry on but also for residents to report specific issues directly to the local policing team using a non-crime number.  This would allow a better picture of the issues to be obtained.

 

Officers had made contact with the local policing team to ascertain if there had been any further issues of an Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) or of a Police nature in the twelve month period since the original petition was raised.  Inspector Meade had responded on behalf of the police.  As a general overview of the situation, where possible officers respond to the reports of ASB in this area.  The CCTV footage had been downloaded on several occasions and it showed very young children playing football on the grassed area.  On every occasion that staff had approached the children, they had been polite with the officers and they had been advised not to kick their balls against walls and resident’s private property. 

 

Officers had checked the council’s database for both locations and had ascertained that in the 10 month period 01/01/2018 until 01/10/2018 there were the following:

 

Cawthorne Close:

  1 incident of flytipping reported to Street Services.

  2 abandoned vehicles reported

  6 reports of ASB – [also referred to the police]. These were duplicate   queries already received by the police.

 

Priors Harnall:

  1  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Gambling Act 2005- Revised Statement of Gambling Policy pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Report if the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Further to minute 3/18 the Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which provided an update for Members on the outcome of the 6 week consultation on the review of the Council’s Statement of Gambling Policy for the Gambling Act 2005.  The report recommended for approval, a revised policy for the period 2019 – 2022 which was appended to the report.  The report had been considered by the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 23rd October, 2018 (their minute 44/18 refers) and was due to be considered by Council on 4th December, 2018.

 

The Gambling Act required each licensing authority to prepare and publish a Statement of Gambling Policy.  The policy statement set out how the licensing authority intended to approach its licensing responsibilities and in particular how it intended to promote the three licensing objectives.

 

The current Gambling Policy came into effect on 3rd January 2016, to cover a period up to 31st January 2019.  The policy had to be renewed every three years and be subject to a full consultation process.

 

The report advised Members of the consultation that had taken place and outlined the comments received and amendments made to the Council’s draft Gambling Policy.  There were no major changes to the Policy except some minor wording amendments.  The general principles of the Gambling Policy remained the same and the document was still centred around the Gambling Act's three licensing objectives, namely: 

 

  Preventing gambling from being a source of crime and disorder, being   associated with crime and disorder or being used to support crime;

  Ensure gambling is conducted in a fair and open way; and

  Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or   exploited by   gambling.

 

The public consultation exercise finished on 18th September 2018, and included the following elements:-

 

  Mail shots to operators

  Notification to the responsible authorities

  Mail shots to trade organisations

  Wider public consultation through the city council’s website.

 

The revised policy consulted on had no major changes and only contained minor wording proposals.  Five consultation responses were received; 4 supported these changes and provided additional minor wording proposals (a summary of which had been outlined in Appendix B to the report) and 1 provided no comments/changes.

 

All statutory consultees had received a full copy of the draft Gambling Policy and notification of the draft policy was given to all Council Members and Parish councils.  The draft policy was also made available on the council’s website from 7th August 2018 to 18th September 2018 and was sent to all licensed businesses, Responsible Authorities, resident associations and other public consultees as set out in the policy inviting them to comment.

 

Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder was a licensing objective where the Gambling Commission took a leading role.  The Commission investigated the suitability of applicants to hold an operators or personal licence.  An operator’s licence was required to be held prior to being able to apply for a premises  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Updated Procedural Guidance: RIPA Covert Surveillance & Covert Human Intelligence Sources (RIPA Procedural Guidance) pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member considered a briefing note and report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place).  The report provided an update regarding amendments made to the Council’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) Procedural Guidance following:

1.  The Inspection by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners in   December 2016 and their subsequent inspection report, dated   December 2016; and

2.  The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on   25 May 2018.

 

The Report was considered by Audit and Procurement Committee on 10th September, 2018 (their minute 31/18 refers) and the briefing note provided the Cabinet Member with the discussion and outcome from this meeting.

 

The report noted that RIPA governed the acquisition and disclosure of communications data and the use of covert surveillance by local authorities.

 

The Council used powers under RIPA to support its core functions for the purpose of prevention and detection of crime where an offence may be punishable by a custodial sentence of 6 months or more, or was related to the underage sale of alcohol and tobacco.  The three powers available to local authorities under RIPA were: the acquisition and disclosure of communications data; directed surveillance; and covert human intelligence sources (CHIS).

 

The Act set out the procedures that Coventry City Council must follow if it wished to use directed surveillance techniques or acquire communications data in order to support core function activities (e.g. typically those undertaken by Trading Standards and Environmental Health).  The information obtained as a result of such operations could later be relied upon in court proceedings providing RIPA was complied with.

 

The Council’s compliance with RIPA was monitored by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (formerly by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners, which was abolished in 2017) who conducted inspections on roughly a bi-annual basis.  The last inspection at Coventry City Council was December 2016.

 

The Home Office Code for Covert Surveillance and Property Interference recommended that elected members, whilst not involved in making decisions or specific authorisations for the local authority to use its powers under Part II of the Act, should review the Council’s use of the legislation and provide approval to its policies.  The Council adopted this approach for oversight of the authority’s use of Parts I and II of the Act.

 

The updated and amended RIPA Procedural Guidance and the Use of Social Media in Investigations Guidance were appended to the report and the changes were detailed in the report.

 

The briefing note recognised that the Audit and Procurement Committee identified that with developments in technology and incoming of GDPR this was a growing area that needed guidance providing by the Council.  They acknowledged that although the case law in the area of Social Media in Investigations was in its infancy the Investigations Guidance was clear about what not to do.  The Solicitor had agreed to keep both documents under review and arrange for communications/ publicity around the launch of both the updated RIPA Procedural Guidance and the Investigations Guidance.

 

RESOLVED that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Equalities Objectives Performance Report 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which provided an update on the Equalities Objectives Performance Report 2017/18.  The Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities approved the equality objectives for the Council in July, 2016, as set out in the appendix to the report (minute 25/16 refers).  The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Commitment were also appended to the report

 

The equality objectives were linked to the Council Plan and were set for four years or until the next refresh of the Council Plan.  The Cabinet Member had also agreed to receive an annual report on the progress made on the equality objectives.  This report provided information on the progress made with the equality objectives from April 2017 to March 2018. 

 

The report noted that the Public Sector Equality Duty required the Council, as a listed public authority, to publish equality objectives that it thought it needed to achieve to further any of the aims of the general equality duty.  The Council’s emerging One Coventry programme provided an opportunity to refresh our approach on this, and the development of new equality objectives 2019 to ensure that equality objectives for the future were clearly aligned to both Council plan priorities and the outcomes that we want to be achieved through delivery of these.

 

Through One Coventry, the only way to be successful was by having a clear focus on our equality and diversity responsibilities from concept to implementation and throughout delivery of change and improvement projects. A number of key priorities were already part of the One Coventry programme including Housing and Homelessness, Children’s Services and Our Future Workforce with equality and diversity being embedded within these.

 

In May 2018 the Council sent a formal response to the Integrated Communities Green Paper.  The Green Paper set out recommendations for local authorities including: to set and deliver a vision with partners and communities to mainstream integration objectives across policy and service delivery; to set an equality objective outlining specific activity to promote integration; and, to review a selection of policies and services to determine how they might drive integration.  Work to explore a Coventry response to creating greater integration with partners had begun and revision of the equality objectives would enable the Council to set out how it would respond.

 

The report detailed the 15 equality objectives and progress towards the equality objectives measured through a variety of means including performance indicators, comparators with other areas, contextual information and actions taken.  Where possible, indicators had been broken down by protected groups to ensure that all protected characteristics under the Equality Act had been considered, monitored and reported on.  For example, improving educational outcomes was broken down into gender, Special Educational Needs, race and by pupil premium progress.  Progress against each equality objective was set out in the report and linked to the appropriate Council Plan theme.

 

In summary, the report detailed that there had been good progress in some areas; lots of work was being undertaken in relation to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Authority for Attendance at Conference pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider the attendance of Councillor Kamran Caan (Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport), Councillor Rois Ali (Deputy Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport), Councillor John Blundell (the Lord Mayor), David Nuttall and David Moorcroft at the European City of Sport Awarding Ceremony and Network Event to be held in Brussels on 3rd-5th December, 2018.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member approve the attendance of Councillor Kamran Caan (Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport), Councillor Rois Ali (Deputy Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport), Councillor John Blundell (the Lord Mayor), David Nuttall and David Moorcroft at the European City of Sport Awarding Ceremony and Network Event to be held in Brussels on 3rd-5th December, 2018.

 

32.

Any Other Business

To consider any other items of business which the Cabinet Member decides to take as a matter of urgency because of the special circumstances involved.

Minutes:

There were no other items of business.