To receive a verbal update from Chief Inspector Ronnie Egan.
Chief Inspector (CI) Ronnie Egan, District Commander addressed the Committee and provided Members with a detailed update and highlighted the following areas reporting on the close work between the Police and its partners:
• Current crime – It was noted although there had been an increase in recordable crime for the District it was still one of the lowest levels in Essex.
• Sexual Offences – The change in figures reflected the national rise in this area and CI Egan outlined the main areas which had seen increases and commented on the number of historical incidents reported and their link to an increase in media report.
• Racially aggravated incidents had again seen an increase and CI Egan commented on the perceived increase in confidence to report incidents.
• Solved rates had decreased by 2% and Members were informed of the ongoing work to identify the reasons for this change, although it was noted that some related to an increase in the number of crimes being recorded. CI Egan informed the Committee that for the Maldon District over 25% of crimes were desk related and she explained how the investigation of these impacted on solve rates. This was an area for improvement for the Police.
• Anti-Social Behaviour – The Police were working with Community Protection Officers on number of schemes across the District to address anti-social behaviour issues. CI Egan provided a brief outline of these.
• Urban Street Gangs / Organised Crime Groups – Members were informed of the work undertaken as part of Operations Raptor (focusing on tackling key gangs and areas of concern), Scorpion (focussing on organised crime groups) and Swift (tackling the supply of drugs in and around Promenade Park). It was noted that information from residents was key to identify and map activity. Members were also informed about 4pPlans which worked with partners to tackle organised crime.
• Vulnerability – It was noted that a Hidden Harms Team had been established for the north of the county to support a number of issues and how work to engage with victims was ongoing. CI Egan reported that the Police had a dedicated officer dealing with child sexual exploitation cases. In a recent change Standard and medium risk hate crime were now being investigated by Community Policing Teams.
Community Policing – CI Egan reported on the ongoing tasking
of work to ensure focussed action against existing and emerging
The results from a recent Public participation survey would form a key area to developing engagement work. CI Egan provided should of the results of the survey and advised that she was happy to share these with Members. Work was ongoing across all levels to better engage and provide confidence to the public.
Support from the Special Constabulary had increased across the District and Members were advised of the benefits of this including the number of hours completed in January 2018. A Parish Special scheme was being promoted alongside rural community builder workshops. It was noted that that volunteer section was a valued and key element to Police work.
In response to a number of questions raised by Members they were provided with the following additional information:
• CI Egan agreed to provide details of the percentage of racially / sexually aggravated incidents not progressed following initial investigation. Members were advised that this was an area where the Police were looking to improve the services to victims. It was reiterated that incidents report were taken very seriously.
• Gun crime – Members were advised that there were no such incidents in Essex relating to gun crime in schools.
• Knife crime – CI Egan reported on the work being done with schools and the regular campaigns (Operation Sceptre) to raise awareness of the danger of carrying knives. The Committee were informed of the continuing education, awareness and enforcement (including the Crime Prosecution Service) work including partnership working with Trading Standards, retail outlets and charities.
• In response to a suggestion regarding using flyers / leaflets to promote Police work, CI Egan outlined some media campaigns by the Police to inform the public. They were happy to work with the Council to identify ways to further increase public awareness.
In response to a question regarding including a leaflet with annual Council Tax bills, Director of Customers and Community advised that unfortunately the billing had been completed.
The Chairman thanked CI Egan for attending the meeting.
Councillor H M Bass joined the meeting during this item of business.