To receive a report from the Chief Officer Safer Stronger Communities which presents an annual update against priorities included in the Safer Stronger Communities – Leeds Plan 2021-2024.
The Chief Officer Safer, Stronger Communities submitted a report which explained that, having previously maintained a watching brief surrounding the development and delivery of the Safer Leeds Strategy 2018-21, the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board was consulted last year on the new Safer Stronger Communities City Plan 2021-24.
This report therefore presented an update position in relation to the priorities set out within the new Plan. Also appended to the report was a briefing paper by Leeds District Police which provided a short overview of the current efforts, successes and challenges associated with Leeds District’s Neighbourhood and Partnerships work to support community safety in the city.
The following were in attendance for this item:
· Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Resources
· Councillor Garthwaite, Leeds representative and Chair of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel
· Councillor Amanda Carter, Leeds representative and Vice Chair of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel
· Julie Reid, Head of Policing and Crime, West Yorkshire Combined Authority
· James Rogers, Director of Communities, Housing and Environment
· Paul Money, Chief Officer Safer Stronger Communities
· Nadeem Siddique, Head of Community Relations and Cohesion
· Claire Smith, Head of Safer Neighbourhoods and ASB Services
· Chief Inspector Pete Hall, Leeds District Police
· Gerry Shevlin, Domestic Violence Programme Manager
· Simon Hodgson, Head of Community Safety Services
The Chair invited the Chief Officer Safer, Stronger Communities and Chief Inspector Peter Hall to give a brief introduction before inviting any comments and questions from Board Members.
The following areas were raised during the Board’s discussion:
Ø Changes to recording anti-social behaviour (ASB) data – The Board was informed that ASB is no longer recorded as one category and is now broken down into numerous categories, as set out in Appendix 2 of the report.
Ø Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) – Linked to comments made by the Board during the earlier agenda item, the public consultation surrounding a proposed city-wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) relating to vehicle nuisance was very much welcomed by Board Members.
Ø Leedswatch – The Board was informed that the service continues to consolidate after the implementation of the Leedswatch review on 1st September 2021 and that the control room is responsible for a number of functions across CCTV, the City Centre Vehicle Access Scheme, Out of Hours repairs, alarm response, security patrols and the Out of Hours Noise. Linked to this, the Chair reminded Members that a Board visit to Leedswatch is expected to take place in September.
Ø Tackling Youth Violence – The Board was informed of the involvement of Leeds District Police in the developing Youth Violence tasking group work and other proposed measures to strengthen coordination and response to youth violence concerns. Linked to this, a Youth Crime Prevention officer took up post in the Spring as work continues to support the Youth Justice Partnership. The Executive Member for Resources also highlighted the vital role of the Youth Service in terms of working to divert young people away from the Criminal Justice System.
Ø Neighbourhood Policing Teams – The Board discussed the role and allocation of NPTs while also acknowledging their own positive experiences and relationships with local NPTs.
Ø Tackling illicit drugs and substance use – It was acknowledged that over the past year, custody-based drugs testing had dramatically increased. In the past six months 1375 tests were conducted, versus 742 in the six months prior to that (an 85% increase). 52% of these tests were positive for cocaine / opiates and resulted in referrals and requirements for the individuals. The Executive Member for Resources also made reference to the excellent work that was being undertaken by Forward Leeds around tackling drug addiction and highlighted that the Safer Leeds Executive had also recently set up a Task and Finish Group to look at this matter in greater detail.
Ø Community Payback – The Board sought further information surrounding the current position on Community Payback schemes.
Ø Sharing information on key contacts with Elected Members – Board Members again emphasised the benefits of sharing key contact information with Elected Members in terms of also helping to disseminate this across local communities.
In conclusion, the Chair thanked everyone for their attendance and valuable contribution to the Board’s discussions.
(a) That the report and the accompanying appended information be noted.
(b) That the additional information requested by the Board, as referenced above, be circulated to Board Members once available.