Agenda item

Crime and Disorder Scrutiny - Interview with the Chairman of the Adur and Worthing Safer Communities Partnership

To consider a report by the Director for Digital, Sustainability and Resources, copy attached as item 11


The Committee had a report before it attached as item 11, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members, a copy of which is attached to a signed copy of these minutes. 


This report provided the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JOSC) with information on the work of the Adur & Worthing Safer Communities Partnership (A&WSCP) in order for JOSC to scrutinise the work of the A&WSCP and interview the Chairman of the Partnership, Councillor Kevin Boram.


A Member asked, “How has the Safer Communities Strategy already adapted its practice as a result of the increasing social inequality, a recognised driver of crime and disorder?


Response - The Chairman of the Adur and Worthing Safer Communities Partnership stated thatthe three year strategy for 2021- 2024 had pre-empted the impact of social inequality with overt references to the need to consider how this could drive crime and disorder. The partnership continued to build on the initiatives that tackled the impact of social inequality - for example, funding further work to reduce school exclusions and keep children in education in recognition that pathways through education and into training and employment were key in preventing generational worklessness and hardship.

The Partnership continued to prioritise access to support for accommodation and employment through the joint use of their rough sleepers’ initiative grant alongside AWC housing colleagues - supporting people into stable accommodation through their outreach team and employment through the work coaches.

The partnership also contributed to a data analyst who they would be working with to ensure the partnership had data products that reflected the impact of social inequality, for example - monitoring particular crime types that they knew were likely to increase as people faced additional cost of living pressures which would enable the partnership to target resources appropriately.


A Member asked “When the data analysis, intelligence assessment, census data and community consultation to prepare for Year 2 annual plan was undertaken, were factors relating to the full impact of the COLC known and taken into account? How has this influenced the strategic approach to achieving safer communities over the next 2 years?


Response - the full impact of the COLC was an ever evolving picture, which would continue to develop; some known factors would have been taken into consideration in the development of the plan. As a partnership they remained committed to analysing key data to take an evidence based approach to look at how they targeted partnership resources to keep their communities safe. 

They had made the COLC a standard agenda item for all meetings where crime and disorder was discussed so they could ensure partners were sighted and could coordinate partnership activity and adapt plans accordingly.


A Member asked, “A November YouGov poll stated that 62% feel Police do not take sexual assault cases seriously enough – 20% of reported crimes in Adur are due to domestic violence.  Whilst the changing men's behaviour partnership programmes led by the Sussex Police Crime Commissioner is a good initiative, what other work is going on to tackle this important issue (perhaps around the perpetrator’s mental health).


Response - West Sussex County Council lead the work on domestic sexual abuse and violence (DSAV) aimed at supporting those who were victims of abuse, and holding those individuals who perpetrated abuse to account for their behaviour. Programmes designed to reduce the incidences of abuse routinely looked at co-existing complexities.

As a partnership, they looked for opportunities to input into the commissioning of services and also how they could ensure resources secured by the Police Crime Commissioner, translated into services and initiatives that benefitted Adur and Worthing. 

They anticipated that the cost of living crisis would escalate incidents of DSAV and were working alongside WSCC and local services to promote awareness of the increased risk and providing CoL resources to DSAV services. They were also working with YADA to look at the impact of the CoL on the increase in the sex work market.

They were currently working with partners to look at local initiatives to tackle violence against women, using the recently released Safer Streets funding. This would include work in the night time economy to ensure safe travel home for women.


A Member asked, “The strategy states that overall crime rate in Adur has risen by 6% from 2019 levels, what do you believe are the core reasons for this?


Response - crime rates can be influenced by a number of factors which might include an increase in the number of incidents, a change in reporting and recording methods, an increase in reporting more generally. Causes of crime are complex and impacted by several socio economic factors, such as poverty, drugs and substance misuse, having experienced adversity and trauma.


A Member asked “Unlike other forms of crime, the Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) incidents on page ten of the strategy don’t have any stats attached, what were rises and the paper suggests 3 lockdowns being the cause, will researched reasons be gathered?


Response - this level of granularity is not easily analysed for ASB, as there were motivational variances in the primary causal factors, it was however highly likely that the impact of 3 lockdowns would have been a contributory factor. The ASB figures outlined in the strategy were provided through the West Sussex Strategic Intelligence Assessment. As a service, they maintained statistics detailing the nature of the ASB cases they supported which could be provided on request.


A member asked “The public's confidence in the Police is currently low.   I have no issue with officers on the ground, who are doing their best in difficult circumstances, but what is being done to flag these concerns to the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable to help restore public confidence that we have adequate numbers of officers patrolling in Adur - particularly during the evening and at night.


Response - discussions were being held with the Police & Crime Commissioner and their officers to consider how local policing could and have greater visibility in the communities that make up Adur.  Similar conversations were also being held with the police and other important stakeholders in order to consider strategies for preventing crime as well as dealing with offences committed.

An important aspect of this work had to be close engagement and involvement with young people as they were often the victims as well as involved in carrying out antisocial and criminal activities.  In addition they were aware that each of the communities within Adur were facing different issues.  Consequently, this work would be community focused.


Further questions were raised around policies of poverty driven crime, ethical behaviour education in schools and data driven research on reasons behind crime. Members were told that the police and crime commission confidentially shared data with social workers and other organisations to try and better understand crimes and worked with schools to help educate students.


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