Agenda and minutes

Sussex Police and Crime Panel - Friday, 7th April, 2017 10.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Lewes

Contact: Ninesh Edwards, Senior Adviser, Democratic Services  West Sussex County Council (033 022 22542)


No. Item


Chairman’s Welcome

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The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting and informed the panel that Graham Hill had reached the end of his term as an Independent member, and that Cllr St Pierre would not be standing in the May election.


The Chairman thanked both for their service since the Panel’s creation in 2012.


Declarations of Interest

Members and officers must declare any pecuniary or personal interest in any business on the agenda. They should also make declarations at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting. Consideration should be given to leaving the meeting if the nature of the interest warrants it. If in doubt contact Democratic Services, West Sussex County Council before the meeting.

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Minutes of previous meeting: 20 January 2017 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting on 20 January 2017.

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99.   Paragraph 75, bullet 4 – The Panel requested an update on the recruitment of PCSOs in the autumn. The Commissioner advised that 196 PCSOs would be in post by the end of January.


100.  Paragraph 75, bullet 4 – The Commissioner stated that she did not believe that she had used the word ‘artifice’ as part of her response. The Chairman agreed that officers would check the webcast to check what had been said and update the minutes if necessary.


101.   Resolved – That, subject to the correction in paragraph 75 above, the minutes of the meeting of the Sussex Police and Crime Panel held on 20 January 2017 be confirmed as a correct record.


Urgent Matters

Items not on the agenda which the Chairman of the meeting is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.

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102.  There were no urgent matters.


Harassment & Stalking

Following the murder of Shana Grice, the Independent Police Complaints

Commission has initiated a criminal investigation. While discussion of the

events and circumstances around the murder could prejudice the outcome of

the investigation, Victim Focus and Public Confidence were central tenets of

the Police and Crime Plan in effect in 2016, and the Panel may wish to

question the Commissioner more generically about the issues of stalking and


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103.  The Chairman informed the meeting that he had requested this item because he felt that it was the Panel’s duty top question the Commissioner on her work in this area given that her Police and Crime Plan was heavily focussed on victims supported with an increased level of precept.


104.   The Panel made the points below in the discussion that followed:


• Concern was expressed regarding the taking of witness statements over the

phone rather than face to face. The Commissioner explained that Sussex

Police had recently changed the way it responded to low risk (grade 3)

domestic abuse incidents where previously statements would have been

taken over the phone. Witnesses would now receive a timely risk assessment


• Questioned what improvements residents could expect to see following the

significant investment to protect vulnerable people. The Commissioner

informed the meeting that an improvement plan to tackle stalking and

harassment had been drawn up. Inspector’s briefings now included a specific

section on stalking and harassment. 50% of the force had now completed

mandatory stalking training. 80% of cases now involved cyber stalking and

further funding had been awarded to help people stay safe online. The

Commissioner urged members to work with their communities and health

partners. Events had been planned to tie in with National Stalking Week.


• The panel were concerned that the public felt that they may not be taken

seriously if they report a stalking crime. The Commissioner responded that

200 stalking crimes were reported last year which was a 45% increase in the

last six months. Sussex Police have the highest level of reporting accuracy

at 95%. The Commissioner was monitoring the response of Sussex Police to

Harassment and Stalking crimes in relation to the improvement plan. The

Commissioner had requested that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary

(HMIC) carry out an inspection of the Harassment and Stalking

Improvement Plan.


• The panel commended the Commissioner on her efforts in relation to tackling

harassment and stalking but questioned when they might be likely to see

evidence of a turnaround accepting that a rising number of victims felt

comfortable in reporting? The Commissioner hoped to see an improvement

by the time HMIC returned later in the year but there did need to be time for

the training to roll out across the force and bed in. The Commissioner was

encouraged by the increase in reporting of crimes. It was important that the

public understood what constitutes stalking.


• The panel questioned what links were made with the NHS; recognising that

mental illness in perpetrators was a significant issue? The Commissioner

informed the meeting informed the Panel that links are made with the NHS at

the Pan Sussex Board. The working group shares best practice but there are

issues around data sharing. The Commissioner encouraged Community

Safety Partnerships to work closely to form links. A partnerships manager

had been appointed to liaise with partners on collaborative working.


105.    The panel made the following recommendations:


i. Police Officers,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.


Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary’s (HMIC’s) Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) programme pdf icon PDF 77 KB

The Effectiveness inspection is an annual inspection of Sussex Police as part

of HMIC’s Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) programme.

The attached report provides the outcome of the annual inspection published

on 2 March 2017 and the response of the Commissioner.


The Panel is asked to consider the report and the endorsement of the

Group’s recommendations

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106.  The Panel received the report by the Police and Crime Commissioner providing the outcome of the annual inspection published on 2 March 2017 and the response of the Commissioner. Mark Streater, Chief Executive of the OSPCC, introduced the report and explained that it outline the state of policing at the end of the year.


107.   The Panel made the points below in the discussion that followed:


• The panel expressed disappointment at the ‘requires improvement’

judgement in relation to effectiveness. The panel felt that the effectiveness

report reiterated their concerns around neighbourhood policing and victim

vulnerability. The Commissioner shared the Panels’ disappointment in the

‘requires improvement’ judgment but informed the meeting that Sussex

Police had seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour (15%) and serious and

organised crime in the last year. The inspection had taken place during a

time of unprecedented change and many officers did not understand the new

operating models as these were being implemented in stages. There was a

need to modernise local neighbourhood policing to meet differing demands.

The judgment was borderline between ‘good’ and ‘requires improvement’.

The Commissioner was confident that improvements would be seen by the

next inspection.

• The Panel highlighted that local policing was an issue that was raised at

many meetings they attended. The Panel did not feel that residents were

convinced by the new policing model. The Commissioner acknowledged that

there was a challenge for Sussex Police to communicate with their local

communities successfully. Sussex Police have carried out research to get

feedback from residents by setting up an online panel relating to local

policing issues.

• The Panel noted that the report referred to the impact changes to the

neighbourhood policing teams were having on rural crime. Crimes such as

the theft of oil and diesel, had a significant impact on small and medium

enterprises. The Panel questioned what the Commissioner was doing policy

wise? The Commissioner responded that she had challenged the Chief

Constable about Sussex Police’s support to rural communities at her

Performance and Accountability meeting on 24 February 2017. Assurances

were sought that the same level of service would be provided by the local

policing program including prevention work by PCSO’s, PC’s and partners. A

24/7 emergency response would be provided out of the custody centres and

standby locations which may result in slightly longer response times. There

were a number of initiatives designed to keep rural communities safer –

Farmwatch, Horsewatch, Pathwatch and Heritagewatch.

• The Panel expressed concern that crime figures were increasing and this had

  not been addressed by the Commissioner. The Panel were not reassured

that the figures would not continue to increase as budgets reduced. The

Commissioner acknowledged that the number of burglaries of dwellings had

increased and this was raised with the Chief Constable every quarter. The

Commissioner had questioned the performance of Operation Magpie in light

of the figures. Sussex was eighth of 43 for risk per thousand of burglaries.

It was thought that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


Quarterly Report of Complaints pdf icon PDF 24 KB

Six pieces of correspondence have been received since the last meeting of

the Panel. The report provides details of the complaints received and the

action taken.


There are currently no complaints awaiting final determination by the Panel

or the Clerk to the Panel.


The Panel is asked to consider the report and raise any issues or concerns

regarding the complaints received.

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109.    The Panel received a report from the Clerk to the Panel providing an update

on complaints received in the last quarter.

110. Resolved – that the Panel notes the report.


Written Questions pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Written questions may be submitted by members of the public up to two

weeks in advance of a meeting.

The Chairman of the Panel or the Commissioner will be invited to provide a response by noon of the day before the meeting.


Questions have been received from two correspondents prior to this meeting

of the Panel.

Responses to the questions will be tabled at the meeting

Please can members ensure that any supplementary questions relate

specifically to the subject matter of the initial question.

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111.      The Panel received and noted the schedule of written questions submitted

prior to the meeting and the responses from the Commissioner’s Office (copy

appended to the signed copy of the minutes).


Commissioner's Question Time

The Panel is asked to raise any issues or queries concerning crime and

policing in Sussex with the Commissioner.


There will be one question per member only and one supplementary

question; further supplementary questions allowable only where time

permits. The Chairman will seek to group together questions on the same


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112.    The Panel raised the following issues and questions of the Commissioner:


• The Commissioner was asked about her recent attendance at a

Headteachers’ meeting in West Sussex and the support that Sussex Police

provides to schools to tackle the problems they face with drugs. The

Commissioner responded that the Assistant Chief Constable was the lead

officer for young people and would work closely with schools and local

authorities. Sussex Police had invested in youth intervention teams and

worked to build relationships with schools. There needed to be a joint

initiative to tackle the issue.


• It was noted that a new divisional commander had attended a meeting with a

local community group which had been very well received as they were

armed with better information on the new policing models and plans than the

officers that generally attended the meetings. The Commissioner encourages

senior officers to get out and about in their communities but how they spend

their time is an operational matter.


• The Panel sought reassurance that there was ongoing training for officers

and support staff to recognise incidents of modern slavery. The

Commissioner stated that this was a key priority area for police forces

nationally. Training on the issue was run by the College of Policing. Sussex

Police were considered good at tackling modern slavery.


Date of next meeting

The next meeting of the Panel will take place on Friday 30 June 2017, 11.00

a.m. at County Hall, Lewes.


Future meeting dates below:


·         Friday 6 October 2017

·         Friday 19 January 2018

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114.  The next meeting date of 30 June 2017 was noted.