Agenda item

Review of Community Safety 2023

To note the 2023 review of Community Safety.


The Community Safety Officer presented the report on the 2023 Review of Community Safety and stated that this was the last of the three-year reports before a new strategy would be introduced in 2024.


Inspector Walton introduced himself as the new Borough Commander and thanked the Committee for inviting him to attend.


The Committee asked what the distinction was between hate crime and non-crime hate incidents. The Borough Commander advised that for non-crime incidents these would only be recorded if there was evidence to show it was specifically targeted against an individual.


The Committee queried what the police were doing with regards to domestic abuse, and violence against women and girls (VAWG). The Borough Commander informed the Committee that a Chief Superintendent was dedicated to this and had already done some targeted activity within Staines. The Community Support Officer advised that they worked proactively to identify locations where people felt unsafe and then targeted that area.


The Committee asked what the police were doing to address residents’ concerns around burglaries in the Sunbury area. The Borough Commander responded that burglaries across the borough were not increasing and that most thefts were from vehicles, specifically tools. The Brough Commander advised that they were present at various trade shows and offered a service to mark tools at point of purchase so that it could be added to a database. He further advised that the Autumn burglary programme had commenced and information would be made available to residents through a series of social media posts, flyers, and community engagement events. The Community Support Officer informed the Committee that they had 57 monitored CCTV cameras across the borough in addition to several unmonitored cameras.


The Committee asked what the police were doing about E-scooters and E-bikes, particularly when being used inappropriately. The Borough Commander responded that the Government would be looking at legislation around E-bikes and E-scooters but clarified that E-Scooters were not legal to use on public roads. He informed the Committee that the police were working to educate children using them as well as parents.


The Committee queried what the police were doing in relation to the increase of NOS cannisters, particularly the large variety. The Borough Commander reported that officers would seize cannisters if people were caught with them. The Community Support Officer added that they worked with Spelthorne Litter Pickers to identify hotspots and would place cameras to catch people who were dumping them.


The Committee stated that some residents felt that they did not see the police on the street enough. The Borough Commander acknowledged they could not respond to everything and stated that they have to prioritise based on a Threat, Risk, Harm assessment. He stated that criminality had changed, including an increase in online crime, and as such resources would not always be visible.


The Committee asked what they could do to help get information through to the police. The Community Support Officer advised the Committee that he would distribute Partnership Intelligence Forms to all Councillors and would diarise it to be sent out every six months.


The Committee asked what action the Police would take to protect Councillors being threatened by members of the public, highlighting a recent example in which the voting record of certain councillors had been posted online by an organisation which had led to two councillors expressing their concern. The Borough Commander advised that he could not comment on the specific matter highlighted but advised that it would need to be considered in regard to non-crime hate. If the social media post had specifically incited people to cause harm to specific individuals, then it would be a clear threat. The need to protect people’s right to voice their opinion would need to be protected and voicing that opinion would not equal a crime.


The Committee asked what powers the police had regarding the smoking of cannabis outside an individual’s residence. The Borough Commander advised that cannabis was still a class B drug and if someone was found to be in possession of it then they would be arrested. The Community Support Officer advised that they used the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which allowed them to issue a warning notice if someone was found to be smoking Cannabis in their home. If it continued, then the Community Support Officer has the power to take them to court and prosecute.


The Committee asked whether the Borough Commander would provide an update that could go in the Bulletin and were advised that he would be willing to do that.


The Committee resolved to note the 2023 review of Community Safety.

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