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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3 - Waltham Forest Town Hall

Contact: John Williams, Democratic Services Officer  020 8496 4344 Email: |

No. Item




An apology for absence was received from Philip Dundon (co-optee).



Members are required to declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they or their spouse/partner may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting. Interests are defined on the inside cover of this agenda.


No declarations of interest were made.




The minutes of the meeting held on 15 March 2017 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair subject to the deletion of the duplicated names in the list of persons present.



Members of the public are welcome to participate in scrutiny meetings.  You may speak for three minutes on a topic related to the Committee’s work, and fifteen minutes in total is allowed for public speaking, at the discretion of the Chair.  If you would like to speak, please contact Democratic  ...  view the full agenda text for item 4.


No requests to speak were received.



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Mark Banham (Waltham Forest Police) gave a short presentation on the notifiable crime sanction detection rates for Waltham Forest for the twelve months period August 2016 to July 2017 together with figures for the previous twelve months period. The report also provided comparable detection rates for the London Boroughs of Newham and Hackney in 2016-2017.

He explained that the official definition for sanction detection was as follows:

“A sanctioned detection occurs when –


      (1) a notifiable offence (crime) has been committed and recorded;

      (2) a suspect has been identified and is aware of the detection;

      (3) the CPS evidential test is satisfied;

      (4) the victim has been informed that the offence has been detected, and;

      (5) the suspect has been charged, reported for summons, or cautioned, been issued with a penalty notice for disorder or the offence has been taken into consideration when an offender is sentenced.”

Mr. Banham drew particular attention to the reduction in detection rates in Waltham Forest in 2016/17 compared with 2015/16 which he considered was quite surprising. He added however that whilst the number of notifiable crimes in Newham and Hackney in 2016/17 were substantially higher than Waltham Forest the sanction detection rates for the three boroughs were quite similar. Mr Banham suggested that in terms of the variations in the monthly detection rates particularly in November and December, it was likely to be as a result of increased notifiable crimes as offenders took advantage of the darker winter periods.


Members asked several questions in response to the presentation.

Councillor Asim Mahmood asked why Newham and Hackney had been chosen for comparative purposes rather than other neighbouring boroughs with similar demographics. Mr. Banham commented that it was difficult to identify other boroughs for comparisons as every borough has its own characteristics.


Councillor Tim James pointed out that there was no data in the presented figures on comparative sanction detection rates for Newham and Hackney in the twelve months period 2015-2016 and felt that this information would have been useful in assessing performance compared with the Waltham Forest figures. He also wanted an explanation of the reasons for the significant drop in Waltham Forest detection rates over the two year period. Mr Banham agreed to investigate and provide feedback.


Whilst accepting that there had been recent changes in the crime reporting system, Councillor Jacob Edwards was concerned that detection rates in Waltham Forest for the 2016/17 period had never risen above 19% in any of the twelve months reported and asked whether data was available on the 81% of cases which did not result in a sanctioned detection. Again Mr. Banham agreed to investigate and provide feedback.


Councillor Roy Berg was concerned that police officers in the north of the borough may have been called in to assist in other parts of the borough and in Central London when additional support was required and that this may have had an impact on detection rates locally. Mr. Banham acknowledged that this may  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.




Consideration was given to report of Lorna Lee, Head of Culture and Heritage Services.


MS. Lee presented the report and gave details of the bid being developed to win the London Borough of Culture competition launched by the Mayor of London in June this year which would bring £1.1million investment into the borough to stage a once-in-a-lifetime culture programme working with high profile partners to showcase the best of Waltham Forest’s heritage and contemporary culture.


The Committee was advised that Waltham Forest’s campaign to gain public support for the bid was launched at the Walthamstow Garden Party in July and received details of the on-going campaign to maximise awareness of the competition and to encourage as many people as possible to back the bid which has to be submitted by 1 December 2017. It was reported that to date 3,121 people had signed up to back the bid.


Lorna Lee also drew attention to the Ambassadors Programme being undertaken to engage with residents, businesses and schools in various ways to gain support for the bid and demonstrate the value of culture in building a stronger society particularly for those who may not have been involved previously with culture in the borough. This will shortly include the despatch of information packs to councillors to enable them to seek support and involvement from their local residents and businesses. She also reported on the social and economic benefits that would arise in winning the competition and on the bid themes being developed in collaboration with local and regional organisations to ensure the delivery of an outstanding programme.

In response to the presentation Members asked several questions.


The Chair wanted to know how many other London Boroughs were likely to bid. Ms Lee named several other boroughs that were known to be preparing bids. However she was of the view that the likely winner would be one of the Outer London Boroughs because of the difficulties Inner London Boroughs would have in promoting their cultural activities.


In noting that the successful borough wold be required to provide 30% minimum match funding as a condition of receiving the £1.1mllion prize, the Chair was interested to know which budget the money would come from if Waltham Forest was successful. Ms Lee said this was currently the subject of discussions with her finance colleagues adding that the winning of the competition would deliver much more investment than the prize on offer and bring tangible benefits to Waltham Forest and help to achieve the Council’s longer-term ambitions.


Councillor Asim Mahmood wanted to know the Mayor of London’s definition of culture and whether Waltham Forest’s definition was the same and also whether investment decisions in past years on cultural activities in the borough were aligned to current thinking. Ms Lee commented that the guidance given precludes investment in sporting activities but there were no other restrictions on what comes within “culture” adding that actions to date reflected the Council’s cultural vision.


Councillor Shameen Highfield highlighted the role of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



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Consideration was given to a report of Mark Bursnell, Policy and Public Affairs Officer.


The report reminded the Committee of its chosen topic for this year’s themed review, to investigate violent crime in Waltham Forest and the action being taken by the Police, the Council and other partners to combat it.

The report:


·         set out the World Health Organisation’s definition of violent crime;

·         provided data from MOPAC on the total crime count in the Violence against the Person category in Waltham Forest between June 2016 to June 2017 – a total of 7,463 offences, together with statistics on Violence against the Person incidents in Waltham Forest compared with neighbouring boroughs; and

·         drew attention to the key findings of a report on serious youth violence produced by the Police and Crime Committee of the London Assembly last year on serious youth violence in response to the rise in the number of young people violently injured or killed in London over the past four years.

Introducing the scoping report Mark Bursnell sought the Committee’s guidance on specific aspects of the review which Members wished to focus upon for example incidents of violence arising from the promotion of the night time economy in the borough; data on the geographical location of violence against the person incidents and the evidence the Committee may wish to obtain from partners such as the police, community and victims’ organisations in taking the review forward.


Alastair Macorkindale commented that the review could cover many aspects of violent crime but it was important not to duplicate work that has already been done. He pointed out violent crime in Waltham Forest is below the London average and suggested there may be benefits in adopting a public health approach to the review. He updated the Committee on the consultations currently taking place in developing the Council’s Knife Crime Strategy and highlighted the importance of looking at the safety issues arising from the development of the local night time economy and discussing with regeneration and planning colleagues ways of reducing the risks associated with the unwanted consequences of the night time economy. He was aware of an array off stakeholders that could assist the Committee in in undertaking the review and would liaise with Mark Burnsell.


Councillor Tim James drew attention to the statistical information on violent crime in Waltham Forest set out on the report which equated to a third of all total crime in the borough. He suggested the solution was around prevention and wondered how much alcohol and drug misuse contributed to the figures. He felt it would be useful to have the information broken down on a ward basis.

There was general concern over the recent increase in the number of corrosive substance attacks that have been reported in Waltham Forest – 36 in the past twelve months. It was suggested that this may be a consequence of the introduction of tougher sentencing in response to violent knife attacks as perpetrators move to other methods of creating  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.



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The Committee approved its Provisional Work Programme for 2017/18 and noted its Terms of Reference as set out in the Appendices to the report.