Agenda item

Maldon District Council Community Safety Partnership Update

To consider the report of the Director of Service Delivery (copy enclosed).



The Committee received the report of the Head of Paid Service, presented by Mr Spencer Clarke, the Community Safety Manager at Maldon District Council.  The report provided Members with an update on the progress of activities undertaken by the Maldon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) since the previous meeting of this committee (13 March 2019) and to inform on the strategic priorities for 2019/20.


The report provided a detailed update on the following matters:


·       Statutory Duties – the CSP was required to produce the Strategic Assessment of Crime, a draft was currently being reviewed with publication expected for December 2019-January 2020.  It was noted that as part of the Crime Risk Matrix, which looks at over 30 different types of crime within Maldon district the majority of cases, as a result of public perception, related to road use, i.e. speeding, dangerous and irresponsible driving.


·       Priorities for the partnership were reported as tackling violent crime; driving down anti-social behaviour; identifying and supporting vulnerable people; rural crime and promoting road safety and challenging irresponsible driving.

Members’ attention was drawn to the Essex Police force crime performance data for Maldon and the Essex comparison which was attached at appendix 1 and 2 of the report.  It was noted that the number of offences per 1,000 population was one of the lowest out of the Essex districts.

·       Eastern Region Counter Terrorism Local Profile Main issue for Essex was a trend in the radicalisation of youths through social media and the internet. The CSP continue to work with Community Partners with representation from Jewish Community, Black African Communities and universities to monitor all types of hate crime.

·       Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) Update – The PFCC encouraged concerns to be forwarded to determine concerns and priorities in the local area.  It was noted that the increase in the Council Tax Precept for 2018/19 had funded the employment of an additional twelve officers for the region, of which six were deployed to Maldon.  The next increase will be contributing towards the town centre, with the anticipated acquisition of four more officers, to focus specifically on rural crime.

Additional funding was received from the Home Office which totals £2.2 million and goes towards youth crime prevention and a Violence Reduction Unit.

·       Community Safety Partnership Hub – Maldon staff are now co-located at the Chelmsford hub, as of 26 March 2019.  The co-location had seen an improvement in tackling crime, safeguarding and effective policing.



·       Operation Overwatch – Operation Overwatch has been deployed five times and identified hot spots within the region.  Within Maldon, one of these was Promenade Park where effective policing had identified and neutralised various offences and low-level nuisances.  The Parish Clerk Forum had provided good intelligence on where these issues had occurred around the area and received positive feedback on the work carried out.

·       Work with the Crucial Crew is currently being reviewed and restructured as it was considered more effective that they approach primary schools in the Spring prior to students moving on to Year 7.


·       Positive prevention work was being carried out with youths through Colchester United Football Club working in schools on issues like knife crime, gang crime, embedding positive values.

·       Progress on Action Plans – a brief update was given on some of the projects which had been progressed throughout the year:

o   Neighbourhood Watch – effective communication tools included the use of social media and a newsletter to communities.

o   Community Payback – since April 2019, over 800 hours of community payback had been carried out across the district, this included work in cemeteries, churchyards, and green spaces.

o   TruCam – Maldon District Council was the first district within the country to introduce additional enforcement through TruCam.

o   Domestic Abuse Training – Members were informed that training would be carried out in the Council Chamber on 26 November 2019 which they were welcome to attend. This would be delivered by Safer Places.

At this point Councillor M S Heard asked that his disappointment at the non-attendance of the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) be recorded in the minutes. He then went through the crime figures in all areas noting the increases. He acknowledged that some good work was being done but crime was still rising albeit reported as falling. He said he had not seen evidence of local, visible and effective policing reversing the trend in serious violence. He requested that the PFCC attend a future meeting to explain the crime statistics. The Chairman reminded the Committee that the Committee can extend an invitation but cannot demand that the PFCC attend.


Councillor Nunn endorsed the earlier comments and said that the Highstreet in Maldon was the worst it had ever been for drug use, drunkenness and violence and said it was exacerbated by low visibility of police.


The Community Safety Manager advised that the PFCC held public meetings across the district, one in Maldon in January, Chelmsford two weeks ago with twenty five in attendance. He reminded Members that the Scrutiny at this meeting was through the work of statutory partners and the PFCC was not a member of Maldon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) the group that reported to Overview & Scrutiny (Crime & Disorder) Committee.


In response to a question on prevent referrals the Public protection Manager advised that there were currently no preventative referrals within Maldon, it was noted that this was usually 30 per annum with the majority of cases being within education.  It was acknowledged that the main concern was grooming through internet and social media fora.

Inspector Barry Booth then addressed a question from Councillor Siddall regarding drugs and other problems in rural communities. He reported that one of the first things he put in place was a third team. There were six additional officers, split across three teams, who were dedicated to rural policing.  Acknowledging Members concerns, he said he hoped to see more of a police presence in rural areas, the ideal would be to have a discrete rural team but resources were dependant on government funding. He said if the allocated Maldon Officers were not visible enough he would take that back and ensure that officers were making themselves known in the community. 

Councillor W Stamp, with permission of the Chairman and in accordance with Procedure Rule 20, asked the Community Safety Manager where the money generated from the TruCam fines was allocated and was advised that the money went to the Police Team. Councillor Stamp went on to thank Essex Police for boosting the police presence within Burnham-on-Crouch and the increased engagement within the community. It was further noted that the initiatives introduced by the Chief Inspector, Gerry Parker had been very effective and gave the force the freedom to do what they need to do.


The issue of adequate police space at Maldon was raised and the Director of Service Delivery confirmed that the Council was awaiting confirmation as to whether Essex Police wanted to lease additional space (both internal and parking facilities) at the Princes Road offices. Inspector Barry Booth said he would discuss this with his facilities team and report back to the Director of Service Delivery.


The Director of Service Delivery reassured Members that all partners were making a contribution to tackling crime in different ways and that the Council, supporting the police through the Community Protection Team and the use of TruCam, was really proactive and at the forefront of this work.


The Chairman then put the recommendation to the Committee and it was agreed.


RESOLVED that Members reviewed and commented on the new current progress and the success of the initiatives undertaken by the Maldon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) to date.


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