To receive an update from the Head of Community and Digital Services.
Representatives of Kent Police will also be in attendance.
The Head of Community and Digital Services introduced the update for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. He was accompanied by the Community Services Manager, Chief Inspector Dan Carter (Dover District Police Commander) and Inspector Fred McCormack (Dover CSU).
In addition, the Portfolio Holder for Community, Transport and Licensing was present.
The presentation covered the following points:
· Dover Community Safety Partnership 3 Year Plan 2020-2023
· The Year of Challenge – Covid 19 and EU Transition
· Kent Police and DDC Figures
· Project and Operational Reviews
· Successes and Highlights
· The Future – Operation Bloom and Beyond
Members were advised that there had been a 9.1% decrease in all crime in the district which was slightly lower than the Kent average decrease of 13.1%. There had been reductions in Victim Based Crime, Robbery, Residential Burglary, Burglary OTD, and Theft Shoplifting. There had been increases in drug offences (32 extra) and possession of weapons (8 extra).
The importance of partnership working in tackling crime and disorder was emphasised and it was noted that some of the increases were as a result of proactive enforcement measures. The example of Operation Undulate was cited which had targeted drug supply and resulted in 56 arrests, 49 charged with 105 offences with 123 ½ years imprisonment and 18 years 2 months of suspended sentences/community orders. This had also reduced established drug supply networks by 86%, reduced robberies by 65% and knife crime by 26%.
The committee was updated on the progress of Operation Canyon in respect of migrant protests in 2020, which sought to balance democracy and peaceful protects with the maintenance of public order, and Operation Fielding which dealt with nuisance motorbikes through a range of measures including working with community speedwatch to target areas of concern. The use of proactive measures such as stop checks was combined with intelligence gathering to disrupt crime. Legal alternatives to nuisance activity was promoted as well as the use of Section 59 warnings which could lead to the seizing of vehicles.
In respect of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) the top 3 incidents reported related to noise (domestic); acts other (breaches of covid lockdown, etc.) and environmental other (noise nuisance, bonfires, etc.). The top 3 areas for ASB were Town and Castle; St Radigunds; and Buckland.
There had been 385 ASB calls responded to which equated to a 20% increase on the previous year.
The need for crimes and ASB to be reported was emphasised as it was important in gathering intelligence.
The Council had successfully undertaken a full digital upgrade of CCTV with 58 new fixed cameras, 5 ANPR cameras, additional fully integrated rapid deployment cameras and integration with the Port of Dover CCTV cameras despite the covid pandemic. The CCTV centre had 24 hour, 365 days a year monitoring and recording. There was a 24/7 dedicated phone line for ASB reporting, CCTV and unauthorised encampments.
The Council had also built a new multi-purpose Emergency Centre at the Whitfield Offices.
The Community Services Manager made an offer to Members to visit the CCTV centre.
Members received an update on Operation Bloom which focused on the key risks and events related to the easing of lockdown and identified a number of hot spot areas and prevention/partnership activity.
Members thanked the attendees for the presentation and welcomed the good works that had been undertaken.
The following matters were also raised by Members:
· To welcome the alignment of PCSOs by wards, which were expected to stay in place for the next 12 months. There was concern expressed that PCSOs had not attended remote parish council meetings but Members were advised that this was due to Zoom not being considered a secure enough system for them to join. It was expected that PCSOs would attend parish council meetings where they were able. It was pointed out to Members that some of the turnover in PCSOs was due to it being a route into becoming a police officer.
· To welcome the news that 5 new inspectors had been allocated to the district as well as a dedicated area commander for the district. This meant that there was access to more resources and more officers in the district.
· In response to a question, the committee was advised that Deal Police Station had been closed and the site would be sold. Officers were now operating out of Deal Town Hall until new premises were ready. There had been a delay in this process due to the covid pandemic.
The Committee voted to thank Kent Police and Officers for the briefing.