Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Lewes
Contact: Ninesh Edwards, Senior Adviser, Democratic Services West Sussex County Council (033 022 22542)
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.
To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting on 20 January 2017.
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.
Items not on the agenda which the Chairman of the meeting is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.
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
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
• 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.
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
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
• 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
• 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
• 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.
Six pieces of correspondence have been received since the last meeting of
the Panel. The report provides details of the complaints received and the
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.
109. The Panel received a report from the Clerk to the Panel providing an update
on complaints received in the last
110. Resolved – that the Panel notes the report.
Written questions may be submitted by members of the public up to two
in advance of a 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.
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
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
114. The next meeting date of 30 June 2017 was noted.