To receive a verbal update on Police performance from Chief Inspector Scott-Haines.
Chief Inspector (CI) Steve Scott-Haynes addressed the Committee and drew Members’ attention to the Essex Police Performance Summary report, appended to Agenda Item 7 - Maldon District Community Safety Partnership Update.
CI Scott-Haynes provided Members with a detailed update and highlighted the following areas:
· Domestic Violence – Due to the recent COVID pandemic an increase in domestic violence had been seen across the County. The CI reported that charities were now directing enquirers to the Police to address matters and implement positive steps to help vulnerable victims.
· Operation Ageis (policing of organised crime groups) – This operation had seen significant success which included the break up of a major group.
· Operation Enlightenment (engagement with schools) – This had been difficult in recent months, but Officers were now back in schools and assisting with COVID legislation and other matters, specifically those highlighted during the recent lockdown. Child / young persons Officers had been increased from three to four and Officers were looking to expand into junior schools.
· Engagement – CI Scott-Haynes explained how changes were being made to ensure that engagement with the public continued, this included using software such as Microsoft Teams.
· The Special Constabulary had three special constables dedicated to the Maldon Area, with a fourth based at South Woodham Ferrers.
· Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) – The CI outlined how the Police were looking to increase NHW within Maldon and implement the use of WhatsApp as this had proved successful in Chelmsford. It was noted that the Chairman of the Maldon NHW had stepped down and as an interim measure Chelmsford NHW were picking up some responsibilities.
· The Community Policing Team worked out of the civic building in Chelmsford, although CI Scott-Haynes advised he was keen to get part of the team back into the Maldon area and was looking at acquiring a space within the District to facilitate this.
· Rural Engagement – There were good links with the rural engagement team and recently there had been an increase in patrols, licensing visits, fly tipping operations and joint operations regarding theft.
Following the update from CI Scott-Haynes, a number of questions were raised by Members and in response the following information was provided:
· An update would be sought from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in respect of signage to direct people from the old Police station in Maldon to the new location at the Council Offices.
· An emergency phone at the Council offices (outside the Maldon Police station) had been agreed and was awaiting installation.
· If residents found incidents of flytipping, unless an emergency, they should be reported through the Council and Environment Agency.
· The Rural Engagement Team (RET) currently comprised of six officers and further recruitment was shortly to take place to fill vacancies. The Team had done a lot of work on hare coursing and increasing visibility within the district. CI Scott-Haynes highlighted how he wanted to have a rural community team based within the district but this required resourcing.
· Work with the serious crime team had seen a large trafficker within the District being removed. As a result the Police were seeing arrests for possession with intent to supply rather than trafficking of drugs.
· CI Scott-Haynes outlined the changes to Operation Raptor (drug and gang related crimes, advising that he would invite the lead Officer to attend a future meeting and provide Members with an update on the Operation.
· In response to a question regarding reporting crime CI Scott-Haynes highlighted the different ways crime could be reported including via Crime Stoppers which was anonymous. He asked Members to encourage residents to report crime.
· Although statistics relating to Coronavirus for the District were not available Members were advised of some of the fines which had been issued. CI Scott-Haynes provided detail regarding Operation Talen (response to COVID) and advised that he would have data surrounding the increased patrols, interactions, fixed penalty notices available for the next meeting. Engagement continued, particularly with the young and older people.
· The increase in hate crime was highlighted, Members were advised of the work being done to identify if there were trends relating to the increase and how these would then be used to select the right approach to making changes i.e. education, enforcement etc. CI Scott Haynes highlighted how it would be beneficial for Maldon to have an independent advisory group, separate to the Chelmsford group. He explained that this was not something that the Police could start but needed a Councillor who was willing to be the chairperson. Councillor R H Siddall volunteered himself to this position advising that he would champion and take the matter forward. CI Scott-Haynes thanked Councillor Siddall and advised he would put in contact with the relevant person.
During the questions, Councillor S Nunn raised a point order regarding the request to speak from Councillor A S Fluker and why he was asking a question. The Chairman responded to this question and in additione Councillor C Morris asked that it be minuted that he believed that every Councillor should be allowed to speak.
The Chairman thanked Chief Inspector Scott-Haynes for attending the meeting and his presentation.