Issue - items at meetings - Community Safety and Crime Trends

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Issue - meetings

Community Safety and Crime Trends

Meeting: 10/10/2016 - Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities Committee (Item 23)

23 Community Safety and Crime in Brighton & Hove: Information Update pdf icon PDF 349 KB

Report of the Executive Director of Finance and Resources (copy attached)

Additional documents:


23.1    The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director of Finance and Resources providing an update in respect of community safety and crime in Brighton and Hove.


23.2    It was explained that under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, there was a requirement for statutory and other partners to formulate a plan every three years to tackle crime and disorder and to monitor progress. This report provided an update on the work undertaken by the Safe in the City Partnership in relation to the Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy 2014-17.


23.3    The Head of Community Safety, Peter Castleton, gave a presentation picking out the headline trends and on-going measures being taken towards the management of crime reduction and community safety priorities in the city and invited observations and questions from the Committee.


23.4    James Collis was in attendance representing the Police stating that the increased figures for violence against the person were due in part to changes in reporting practices. Any increases were taken very seriously and means by which this could be addressed were being reviewed. Following the inspection of all police forces carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary improvements had been made within forces including Sussex Police. This had had an impact on the way in which some types of crime were recorded and particularly violence against the person including domestic violence and hate crimes.


23.5    Work had been on-going with the Council in order to seek to strengthen local communities by working with Local Action Teams (LAT’s) with the overall aim of supporting them in the most appropriate and efficient way to enable communities to take a bigger role in working collaboratively to address community safety issues in their locality. This also formed the subject of a separate report at item 24 on that day’s agenda.


23.6    There were a number of services which existed to help reduce alcohol or drug related risk by supporting individuals who could be vulnerable whilst involved in the night time economy. Early intervention and support could prevent the need for them to be admitted to A & E or for Police involvement and included Safe Space, Taxi Marshalls, Street Pastors and the Beach Patrol, forward funding for these services going forward remained to be agreed, although the position in relation to Safe Space provision appeared to be on a more stable footing and was being supported by the Red Cross. For 2015/16, 741 people had used Safe Space, during the first quarter of 2016/17, there had been 221 users 80% of whom had been under the influence of alcohol.


23.7    From April 2016 a new contract had been put into place for inpatient drug and alcohol detoxification services which had transferred from Hove to Islington. Whilst positive feedback had been received, some other of the measures in place e.g., access to drug and alcohol misuse services and recovery had been showing less positive results and work was being undertaken to understand more about the reasons for that to enable service adjustments to be made.


23.8    It was an issue of great concern that incidence of violent crime had risen steeply since 2014. Notwithstanding that this was due in part to changes in reporting practices as outlined this figure had continued to rise since in the first four months of 2016/17, including violence with and without injury. Attendances at A & E linked to assaults had also increased during that period compared to the same period the previous year. An analysis of the current state of the night time economy had been commissioned in relation to violent crime in order to explore options for supporting effective services to increase safety and reduce crime in relation to the night time economy.


26.9    In answer to questions of Councillor Simson it was confirmed that a number of these incidents were associated with the night time economy and were occasioned by combined use of drugs and alcohol. Councillor Simson stated that she had visited the night time economy with fellow licensing councillors, licensing officers and the police and had observed at first hand the changes which had been made to “Operation Marble” which operated over each weekend in the CIZ and “Operation Bobcat” which operated in concert with the Door Supervisor scheme. John Child who was in attendance representing the CCG confirmed that all agencies were working together to formulate successful strategies to respond both to the crime and potential vulnerability of individuals arising from alcohol and drug abuse.


23.10  Councillor Bell considered that it would be appropriate for the report to be forwarded to the Licensing Act Committee for information and Councillor Simson agreed considering that it would be more meaningful if the Committee also received an extract from this Committee which would highlight the discussions that had taken place about the night time economy.


23.11  Councillor Simson stated that whilst increases in crime figures were often explained in terms of changes in reporting, it was important to have more in depth analysis in order to ascertain whether and what trends might be developing across the city, to have that information given in future reports would be helpful. Councillors, Bell Gibson and Littman concurred in that view.


23.12  Councillor Littman stated that whilst there were positives there were also areas for concern. In answer to questions, it was confirmed that although the level of repeat offending had reduced overall, there were a small number of prolific re-offenders and measures were being undertaken to seek to address that, especially as the latest data on adult offending showed that the average number of re-offences per offender remained above the national average. It was encouraging that the number of youth offenders appeared to be dropping, although again it was noted that a small number of offenders were responsible for a high proportion of re-offences.


23.13  Councillor Moonan echoed what had been said stating that she shared the concerns of her colleagues.


23.14  Councillor Gibson welcomed the report which had provided the Committee with useful for information, stating that it would be useful if future reports could provide figures for neighbouring areas too, East and West Sussex for example.


23.15  Councillor K Norman referred to the incidence of modern slavery, noting that the refugee and migrant crisis and the need to co-ordinate the council’s response to this strategically on a number of levels had reduced the Community Safety Team’s ability to address this as pro-actively as they would have liked. He hoped that this could be addressed.


23.16  Councillor Bell referred to crimes of violence against the person, he was aware that some incidents had taken place at the Brighton Railway Station early in the morning, and sought confirmation of how such incidents were recorded and whether those/how those figures were included. It was explained that incidents at the station or which occurred on trains were recorded separately by the Transport Police who had their own reporting systems. Officers would see whether that wider data was available.


23.17  The Chair, Councillor Daniel, concurred with all that had been said, seeking the Committees’ confirmation that they wished the report to be forwarded to the Licensing Committee for information accompanied by an extract from the minutes. Members voted unanimously that was their wish.


23.17  RESOLVED – (1) The Neighbourhood, Communities and Equalities Committee has noted and commented on the information contained in the report which provides an update on work being undertaken by the Safe in the City Partnership in relation to the Community Safety and Crime Reduction Strategy 2014-17;


(2)       The Committee give its support to the partnership work described in the report and to the work described which is within the council’s remit, thereby contributing to the management of crime reduction and community safety priorities for the city; and


(3)       That a copy of the report be forwarded to the Licensing Committee (Licensing Act 2003 Functions) with an extract from the minutes of this meeting attached in order to inform them the issues emerging in relation to the night time economy.


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