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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Waltham Forest Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  Tel: 0208 496 4328 Email:  DemocraticServices@walthamforest.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

WELCOME, INTRODUCTION & GUIDELINES

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed all attendees to the meeting and explained the guidelines of the meeting.

2.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Paul Douglas, Shameen Highfield and Saima Mahmood.  Apologies were also received from Michael Verrier and Helena McKinnon (MOPAC).

3.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting, held on 22 May 2017 were approved as a correct record, subject to the following changes:

 

·         The penultimate paragraph’s second sentence being amended to read – “Chair put it to the vote and 9 board members voted in favour of the GAV application with 1 abstention.” 

·         The last paragraph’s second sentence being amended to read – “Chair put it to the vote and 9 board members voted in favour of the HEET application with 1 absention.”

4.

REPORT FROM YIAG

Minutes:

Representatives from the YIAG provided an update of the work they had undertaken in the last year and a half (March 2016 – October 2017) which included over 60 individual peer to peer workshops in the borough, such as:

 

·         Stop and Search

·         Gangs and Serious Youth Violence

·         Bullying

·         Mental Health and Wellbeing

·         Healthy Relationships

·         Substance Misuse

 

 YIAG representatives explained that, since March 2016, they had assisted with several events including:

 

·         the National Black Youth Awards;

·         working with Young Advisors at all key Council events this year and last year, such as the Caribbean Carnival, Mela, Garden Party and Children in Care fun day events;

·         hosting the annual LEAP annual awards in May 2017; and

·         assisting a pilot project for a new initiative entitled ‘Don’t get Court’ project – a diversionary initiative designed to give young people an idea of what it was like to be arrested and put into prison.

 

The YIAG also reported that a young person attended regular police patrols and, to date, over 20 YIAG and Young Advisors have attended patrols and fed back to senior management.

The YIAG explained the work they had undertaken to support PC Jason Hill, the MPS Youth Engagement Officer, with many events across the borough, which included two ACLT football tournaments at Salisbury Playing Fields and two Dragons Den events at Leyton 6th Form College and George Monoux College.

From the success of their CSE film about victim-blaming language, the YIAG reported that they had been invited to work with OMG Media again on two further films - one for the national policing lead for Public Protection on Professional Curiosity and one for the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board on Missing Young People, aimed at parents/carers. YIAG reported that they also worked with the Young Advisors and made their own film around childhood obesity for the Great Weight Debate campaign.

Due to assistance from a Safer Neighbourhood Board Member, the YIAG explained that they had made links with Scotland Yard’s Diversity & Equalities lead officer, Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa. Four YIAG members met with Chief Superintendent Olisa and he was so impressed he wanted them involved with several projects. One was the implementation of an independent Knife & Violent Crime prevention Group, chaired by Neville Lawrence, which now has 2 YIAG representing the Group. The YIAG now keep in regular contact with engagement officer ‘G’ Turawa from the Trident Central Gangs Partnership and Engagement Team and have attended meetings with other youth groups trying to tackle knife crime in the City.

 

The Chair described the YIAG as a real credit to the borough and thanked them for their hard work.

 

Richard Tucker, Borough Commander for Waltham Forest, also praised the work of the YIAG and said that bullying and harassment was prevalent within the borough and suggested that he and the YIAG work together to try and combat the issue. 

 

A representative from the YIAG gave the view that bullying, particularly online bullying, was under-reported and impressed the importance of tackling  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

METROPOLITAN POLICE REPORT

Minutes:

Mr Tucker referred to the crime statistics for the London borough of Waltham Forest and said that there was a historic low in terms of reporting crime.  He stated that there had been large funding cuts in relation to policing and that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) were now feeling the impact of those cuts.  He highlighted one impact of the cuts was a reduction in proactive work.  Mr Tucker stated that the borough had lost 5 police vehicles, 15 members of staff and that the service had 40 less PCs.  He also confirmed that incidents such as the Grenfell Tower fire and increasing acts of terrorism had meant that many officers had been assigned to work on these incidents and as a result, there were fewer officers in the borough.  He said that despite the rising crime in Waltham Forest with fewer resources, compared to other London Boroughs, Waltham Forest crime statistics were lower.

 

Mr Tucker confirmed that the MPS’ priority was safeguarding, which did not appear in the published crime statistics.  He stated that the primary issues included mental health problems and elderly/vulnerable people having their homes taken over by gang members or drug dealers. 

6.

QUESTIONS TO METROPOLITAN POLICE

Minutes:

Board Members asked questions on points of detail.

 

The Chair explained MOPAC’s Safer Neighbourhood Board dashboard and stated that should any attendees require information on how to view the statistics, to contact the Chair.  He said that he would be happy to provide workshops on the workings of the dashboard, to any member, if there was sufficient demand. 

 

The Chair then asked what the MPS were doing about moped related crimes in the borough.  Mr Tucker explained that statistics showed that, on average, there was one such crime everyday.  He added that surrounding boroughs were reporting far more incidents of moped related crime, but acknowledged that Waltham Forest’s geography did not lend itself to that type of crime.  Mr Tucker referred to the bad press surrounding the MPS, specifically allegations that officers would not pursue perpetrators of such crimes.  He explained that he would not encourage his officers to chase a perpetrator on a moped, for what was often a trivial theft (e.g. a mobile phone) as there could be potential safety issues for officers, the public and the perpetrator.  Mr Tucker stated that he had formed a task force made up of 9 officers who were looking into the issue of moped related crime. 

 

The Chair then asked for an update on the progress of the proposed merger of Waltham Forest and Newham Police Services.  Mr Tucker confirmed that the London boroughs of Havering, Redbridge and Barking & Dagenham had merged and response times were not very good, so as a result, more thought was needed on the structure of the merger between Waltham Forest and Newham.  He said that the new structure had been proposed a few weeks prior to this meeting, but there was no final decision as yet.  Mr Tucker confirmed that he was ensuring that his officers were prepared for the merger, however stated that many senior officers did not support the proposal and believed savings could be made elsewhere. 

 

Liz Phillips expressed concerns with regard to an estate in Leytonstone where she lived and the fact that there were young men driving around the estate, in expensive cars often with blacked out windows, most days and nights.  She stated that these young men were dealing drugs and that it had been going on for a long time. Ms Phillips was of the view that the Police’s stance on the issue was that they wanted to catch the “bigger fish”.  She asked why nothing was happening with regard to the issue.  Mr Tucker stated that enforcement had a large part to play and said that his officers had identified over 150 long-term drug users within the borough.  He stated that his officers were working closely with partner organisations such as the NHS to understand how frequent drug users were being dealt with.  Mr Tucker also made the point that there were certain areas where young people would loiter and said that this did not mean they were committing any sort of crime.  He said that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

CONSULTATION ON "ACCESS"

Minutes:

The Chair explained that MOPAC had published a consultation document on accessing the Metropolitan Police Service.  He then explained what he considered to be some of the issues with access to MPS services within Waltham Forest, which included:

 

·         the fact that the MPS front counter was in Chingford rather than Walthamstow, which was considered the focal point of the borough and that Chingford got very few reported offences.

·         the possibility of a new front counter being located on the same street as Walthamstow market, in the post office’s old location.

·         the importance of addressing the duration of time that it took to speak to an operator when dialling ‘101’.

 

The Chair then gave a summary of the consultation document that could be found on MOPAC’s website. 

 

Mr Dundon stated that the London Borough of Waltham Forest had the lowest police front counter take up in London.  He said that new methods needed to be trialled to see if they were more successful.  He then suggested that, rather than second guessing, the SNB should contact MOPAC and request that they do some research in the borough, analyse the findings and produce an outcome report. Mr Tucker explained that the issue was financial and encouraged the SNB to write to MOPAC. 

 

Ms Phillips said that she felt access to ‘101’ could be better.  She explained that what she would expect from the MPS was for them to attend an emergency call in the recommended time. 

 

Iffy Williams, a representative from Victim Support, said that the area of the Police website where individuals reported crime needed work.  Mr Tucker confirmed that the MPS want victims to be able to follow the progress of the crime via their crime number.  He also added that the MPS were changing the way they deal with people and were talking and interviewing rather than taking into custody where possible.  He stated that Leyton was a central area of the borough and that talks were undergoing as to whether the borough’s central office could be located there. 

 

8.

CHAIR'S REPORT - SNB REVIEW

Minutes:

The Chair presented his report which outlined the direction which he would like to see the Board take as well as explained the challenges faced by the Board.  The Chair commended Mr Dundon, the Vice-Chair, describing him as a good and steady source of advice. 

 

The Chair explained that the role of Board members was to encourage a good relationship with the MPS.  He said that the Met Police had been very accommodating, however expressed concerns that the Board had not been out in the community which it served. 

 

The Chair went on to say that support from Councillors had been lacking and stated that projects were difficult to progress.  He said that MOPAC often sent documents at very short notice however he said that the issue with project funding was being resolved.  He explained that MOPAC had very strict parameters around how he engaged with them however said that he was hopeful of getting future project plans in place.  The Chair highlighted the importance of keeping projects and actions well documented to allow the Chair’s successor to take over as easily as possible.

 

The Chair confirmed that he would like an active and participatory Board and stated that he required additional help to make this happen.

 

Ms Phillips said that Waltham Forest’s was not the only SNB that did not receive adequate assistance and conceded that the Chair could not do all the work on his own.  She suggested examining the work of other London borough SNBs and seeing what made some of them successful.  The Chair agreed and referred to the MOPAC Forum for SNB Chairs, where guest speakers would tell the forum how they went about things and exactly what factors contributed to their success.  He also referred to the possibility of setting up a sub-group. 

 

9.

MEMBERSHIP: ATTENDANCE

Minutes:

The Chair expressed concerns that many Board members did not send apologies when they were unable to attend meetings. 

 

Mr Tucker stated that it was in his interests to attend a worthwhile SNB that worked well and held him and his officers to account.  He then said that he could look into which SNBs worked well and come back to the Board. 

 

Councillor Waldron said that she felt that people had lost sight of the importance of Board and suggested contacting Board members with poor attendance and ascertain why they had not been attending.  She confirmed that the Board’s success was important and asked what she could do to support the work of the Board. 

 

Mr Dundon said that the Board lacked a sense of urgency and should look at recruiting new Board members who were interested in its work.