Report number: OAS/WS/21/006
The Chair of the Western Suffolk Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Joanna Spicer has been invited to the meeting to present the report to the Committee.
[The Chair of the Committee, Councillor Ian Shipp experienced ongoing technical IT issues during the consideration of this item. To ensure the MS TeamsLive meeting was able to continue, the Vice-Chair, Councillor Stephen Frost took over chairing the meeting, with Councillor Ian Shipp joining the remainder of the meeting via the telephone].
It was the duty of the Committee, as the Council’s Crime and Disorder Committee designated under the Police and Justice Act 2006, to scrutinise the work of the Partnership.
The Committee received Report No: OAS/WS/21/006, presented by the Chair of the Western Suffolk Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Joanna Spicer, and the Council’s Cabinet Member for Families and Communities, Councillor Robert Everitt.
The report set out the background to the partnership and the statutory bodies involved which Councillor Joanna Spicer expanded on. She explained that the WSCSP covered a large geographical area, which included a number of important organisations, and updated Members on the community safety activity in West Suffolk, including the work of the Western Suffolk Community Safety Partnership (WSCSP) for 2019-2022. Councillor Spicer confirmed that West Suffolk had a new Western Area Commander, Superintendent Janine Wratten who was introducing herself by making contact with councillors and other organisations.
Over the past year the WSCSP had continued to meet and discharge its statutory duties by carrying out an annual assessment of crime and disorder in the area, continuing to deliver the three-year plan and action plan to reflect the priorities of the partnership, and carrying out Domestic Homicide Reviews.
Attached at Appendix A to the report, was the WSCSP Plan 2019-2022, which was required to reflect the Suffolk Police and Crime Plan published by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
A review of the WSCSP action plan and strategic assessment was completed in June 2020 and following discussions with statutory partners the strategic assessment and action plan was formally agreed by the WSCSP Responsible Authorities in September 2020. Based on the outcomes of partnership discussions, the following priorities remained the focus of the WSCSP:
- County Lines.
- Violence against women and girls (including men and boys).
- Hate Crime.
- Domestic homicide reviews.
Councillor Joanna Spicer wanted to thank Councillor Robert Everitt for his support over the past year, and welcomed Councillor Trevor Beckwith who would be joining the WSCSP, representing West Suffolk Council, following the sad passing of Councillor Jim Meikle.
Finally, Councillor Joanna Spicer wished to thank Lesley-Ann Keogh (Families and Communities Team Leader) on producing the report through a challenging year, both in supporting the WSCSP and West Suffolk Council in her Covid work.
The Committee considered the report in detail and asked a number of questions to which comprehensive responses were provided by Councillor Spicer and officers.
In response to a question raised regarding paragraph 2.2 in the report “violence against women and girls including men and boys”, members felt this was an unusual acronym and asked whether this could be expressed in a better way. Officers explained this worked linked to a government strategy which focused language on violence towards women and girls. However, it was agreed at the first county wide steering group to also include “men and boys”, so all people affected by domestic abuse and sexual abuse were included. The strategy took into account 10 different types of offences, including sexual violence, stalking and harassment. The Community Safety Partnership took a holistic view to commissioning domestic abuse services.
In response to a question raised regarding Suffolk Rape Crisis, officers agreed to look into what type of programmes they offered for male victims and would provide a written response. Officers explained that Survivors in Transition and Fresh Start New Beginnings did support male victims.
In response to a question raised, Councillor Robert Everitt explained that the past year had been very difficult due to Covid-19 in that the WSCSP had not been able to engage as much as it would have liked too. However, this year the Crucial Crew initiative was being held virtually, and training packages went online to ensure engagement with partners continued.
Discussions were also held on Public Space Protection Orders, the different types of Orders, how they were enforced and how often they were reviewed; the need for more public engagement around community safety from all the agencies involved; how the WSCSP supported county lines and alcohol and drug user initiatives, and whether there were any statistics to show how initiatives had performed over the years, to which comprehensive responses were provided.
There being no decision required, the Committee noted the contents of the report.