Michelle Cunningham presented the annual report of Thurrock’s Community Safety Partnership which provided the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee the opportunity to review the performance, both qualitative and quantitative, against the priorities in 2021. Members were informed that data provided in the report continued to be incomparable, due to the changes in restrictions put in place due to COVID over the last 12 months, which had impacted on levels of crime committed and reported. This was based on changing restrictions in relation to COVID and had resulted in crime types experiencing unprecedented significantly reduced or increased levels. The priorities for 2021/22 remained as previous year with one amendment to include Organised Immigration Crime. The current priorities for the Thurrock Community Safety Partnership were - Violence Against Women and Girls, Tackling Violence and Vulnerability, Local Community and Visibility, Tackling Offending and Counter Extremism and Terrorism. The priority around Violence Against Women and Girls reflected the gender bias of the nature of this crime. Essex Police reported that in 75% of reported domestic abuse the victim was female however it was important to note and Members were assured that services in Thurrock offered support to all genders and updates and reviews published by the Home Office would continue to reflect any recommendations locally. Through the Thurrock Council investment, we continued to have additional resources through the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer within the Community Safety Partnership and four additional Town Centre Police Team officers covering Tilbury and Purfleet. Off road nuisance motorbikes continued to be a key priority for Thurrock Council and Essex Police due to the impact it had on residents and communities across the borough. Fortunate to be awarded £432,000 Safer Streets Government funding for Grays, had allowed improvements to CCTV, street lighting, engagement with business through shop safe radios and community engagement officers.
Councillor Liddiard questioned the sample used on the police satisfaction survey to which Michelle Cunningham stated she did not have that information to hand but would share with members outside the meeting.
Councillor Liddiard referred to sexual violence and questioned whether there had been an increase in the reported figures or whether the figures were historical to which Michelle Cunningham stated this was an under reported crime and there had been a drive to increase confidence for people to come forward. There continued to be a big gap between victims that came forward and engaged with SERICC and those that report to the Police.
Councillor Liddiard asked if there was the feasibility of councillors or residents be able to monitor CCTV feeds live for their area to which he was informed this would not be allowed as this would be against our DPA and GDPR regulations, the CCTV operators were not licensed to carry out surveillance of this type.
Councillor Liddiard referred to the drug and crime activity and anti-social behaviour that takes place in the alleyways in Tilbury and questioned what was being done to address those issues. Michelle Cunningham stated that where there was evidence of reports, debris of drug taking or reports of people hanging around then CCTV could be directed there, be referred to the community police team and the environment enforcement officers. Michelle Cunningham asked Councillor Liddiard to let her know of any particular areas of concern. Councillor Liddiard questioned whether any increase in crime had been reported since the youth club had been closed to which Michelle Cunningham stated that due to the pandemic this would be difficult to measure but youth clubs were beginning to open up again and would ask whether some comparison data could be provided from different wards.
Members discussed poor or damaged street lights in areas within the borough to which Members were informed these could be reported on-line and referred to the Essex Police StreetSafe which was a pilot service for anyone to anonymously report any public places where residents had felt or feel unsafe, because of environmental issues for example street lighting, abandoned buildings or vandalism and/or because of some behaviours, e.g. being followed or verbally abused. Members were referred to the following link to access this service StreetSafe | Essex Police .
Councillor Pearce questioned whether there were any reported Modern Day Slavery or Human Trafficking within Thurrock to which Michelle Cunningham stated no incidents had been reported last year to the National Referral Mechanism for Adults but this was not to say this was not happening as these could be hidden due to the pandemic.
Councillor Redsell referred to the successful bid of £432,000 Government funding as part of the Safer Streets and questioned whether officers could apply to which Michelle Cunningham stated this had already been allocated within the bid for CCTV and street lighting where lighting was poor and would make a big improvement. Areas would be publicised on completion.
Councillor Redsell questioned what concierge managed the Council’s CCTV to which Michelle Cunningham stated these were managed by the council.
1. That Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the performance of the Thurrock Community Safety Partnership for the year 2021 and the ongoing areas of concern and actions in place to mitigate.
2. That Overview and Scrutiny committee had the opportunity to discuss areas of concern for consideration by the Thurrock Community Safety Partnership when reviewing priorities for 2022/23, which will be based on the strategic assessment.
3. That Overview and Scrutiny Committee recognised the ongoing risks that a changing environment pose to community safety and assure themselves that alongside the Police and Crime Plan and Violence and Vulnerability framework we continue to work collaboratively to mitigate the risks posed.
That members of the Committee approved Thurrock Council’s statement on Modern Day Slavery and recommend to Cabinet for approval.