To receive an update from the Chief Officer (Safer, Stronger Communities) on progress against the priorities included in the safer, Stronger Communities Leeds Plan 2021 – 2024.
Members received a report detailing an annual update against priorities in the Safer Strong Communities Leeds Plan 2021 – 2024.
In attendance for this item were:
· Nadeem Siddique (Head of Community Relations and Cohesion)
· Kevin Brighton (Development & Improvement – Anti Social Behaviour)
· Simon Hodgson (Head of Community Safety Services)
· Magdalena Boo (Head of Public Health)
· Geoff Turnbull (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager)
· Jude Roberts (Manager Safeguarding)
Cllr Coupar provided introductory comments, noting the strength of partnership working in the city.
Simon Hodgson provided an overview of the Safer Strong Communities Leeds Plan and highlighted how recent organisational changes had enabled more joined up working with youth services and the localities team.
Officers provided introductory remarks in relation to nine priority areas:
· ASB and Public Order
Kevin Brighton welcomed organisational changes that had enabled closer working with colleagues in the youth service, housing and localities team. He noted the importance of strengthening prevention and intervention activities to reduce anti-social behaviour, including supporting and diverting young people away from the criminal justice system.
The benefits of having established a mediation service within LASBT was explored and members were informed that locality-focused planning for the period including bonfire night is used as an example of best practice by other authorities.
Members were updated on partnership work with the city’s universities to respond to anti-social behaviour in areas predominantly occupied by the student population. The renewal of the Northwest Leeds PSPO was also highlighted noted as an important tool in tackling anti-social behaviour associated with the Otley Run.
Community based problem solving was identified as a way in which to target the work of partners to reduce risk, threat and harm in different communities.
Members sought and received information about the vehicular nuisance public space protection order, which came into effect in April 2023.
Members also sought updates in relation to the way in which disputes between tenants of registered social landlords and owner-occupiers can be resolved. Information about signposting and support was provided to the Board.
Kevin advised members that he anticipates the development of a member protocol around reporting systems for ASB, which can be shared with community committees and scrutiny members in the coming months.
Officers were asked to consider how communication of good news can be improved to highlight successes.
· Domestic Violence and Abuse
Jude Roberts confirmed that the Domestic Abuse Partnership Board has just released a draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Strategy 2023-28 that has been co-produced with key partners as well as victims and survivors.
Members were reassured that work is ongoing to develop a safe accommodation strategy but it was noted that there are still significant challenges around domestic violence and the availability of housing. Members were informed that a new Sanctuary Support Team has been established to support victims and children who remain in their homes.
Funding for an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor has been extended until 2025 to support young people at the Front Door.
An update was provided in relation to Operation Encompass, which allows for notifications to be made to schools where there has been an incident of domestic violence.
Jude reflected upon an application for Home Office funding to support the development of project for perpetrators of domestic abuse. Local partners are awaiting feedback as to why the application has not been successful.
Further information was provided in relation to a visit from the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, workforce development and the way in which the views of those with lived experience are being represented on the Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board.
· Hate Crime
Geoff Turnbull provided an update to the Scrutiny Board on the responsibility of the Hate Crime Strategic Board for the Leeds Hate Crime Strategy.
He highlighted work with schools to improve hate crime reporting and the role of both third-party reporting centres and third-party signposting centres.
The Scrutiny Board explored the increase in disability hate crime in Leeds and the work that is ongoing to better understand and deal with disability hate crime.
Members received an update in relation to local plans for Hate Crime Awareness Week, which is taking place 14 – 21 October 2023.
Attention was drawn to planned communication linked to anti-semitism and anti-Muslim prejudices, and a billboard campaign which will include content about hate crime and misogyny.
· Illicit Drugs and Substance Use
Magdalena Boo provided an outline of the partnership working around drugs and alcohol in Leeds, including information about how new funding has been used locally and the strength of the Leeds Drug and Alcohol Partnership Board.
Members were informed that Leeds has excellent treatment outcomes.
An outline of a pilot projects to treat opioid dependence and street drinkers was provided to the Scrutiny Board, with officers committing to learn from the results of these programmes.
· Offending Behaviours
Simon Hodgson welcomed a 2022 refresh of the Reducing Reoffending Board, which has resulted in closer collaborative working with public, private and third sector partners including HM Prisons and Probation Service.
Members were informed that the Board has helped to develop the Leeds Reducing Reoffending Delivery Plan which identified pathways to reduce reoffending.
Accommodation and prisoner release have been identified as key priorities, along with an increased focus on an effective prisoner release process.
Members acknowledged the challenge of identifying suitable accommodation for prisoners upon release and noted the process for consultation with local ward members.
Progress has been made in several areas with a workstream focused on education, training and employment now in development. Work on a Female Accommodation Strategy was also highlighted as an area of focus.
Members sought reassurance that work to improve the transition to release is taking place across the region and with cross-border institutions, particularly for women. Members sought further information about the risk of coercive control and financial abuse for female prisoners.
· Organised Crime and Street Gangs
Chief Inspector Lucy Leadbeater provided an insight into work to tackle organised crime and street gangs with a focus on localities, so that communities feel empowered to support change. This includes targeting known ‘hot spots.’
Exploitation of vulnerable people was explored with CI Leadbeater highlighting the importance of raising awareness in communities of how exploitation might be identified.
Prevention, intervention and diversion were identified as priorities in partnership work to reduce youth violence.
· Exploitation and Radicalisation
Nadeem Siddique provided an update on the evolving work of the Prevent counter terrorism partnership, noting that the model in Leeds has been identified as exceptionally effective by the Home Office.
Nadeem highlighted work to identify children at risk of exploitation and the role of Multi-Agency Child Exploitation meetings.
The importance of training, awareness raising, and community engagement were explored, with members noting the contention nature of this area of work.
· People with multiple needs (Street Users and Sex Workers)
Updates were provided in relation to the number of rough sleepers in Leeds and work to prevent homelessness.
It was noted that the Leeds Homelessness and Rough Sleepers Strategy 2023 – 2027 has been launched and members sought information about accommodation strategies.
· Violence and sexual crime
The Board was provided with an update into work to reduce violence against women and girls, including the delivery of a Women’s Night Safe Space, enhancement of the ‘Ask Angela’ initiative and the provision of Night Safe Marshals.
Members requested a dedicated meeting on the Council’s approach to tackling graffiti.
Further information was requested about the context of reported hate crime so as to understand the environments where such crimes are most likely to occur. Geoff Turnbull committed to considering how such information might be provided to the Scrutiny Board.
Cllr Maloney left the meeting at 12.30pm
a) To note the contents of the report.
b) That the Principal Scrutiny Advisor should co-ordinate an additional meeting of the Scrutiny Board to explore the Council’s approach to tackling graffiti in local communities.
c) That Geoff Turnbull will explore how additional context can be provided in relation to reported hate crimes.