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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Olympic Room Aylesbury Vale District Council Gatehouse Road Aylesbury Bucks HP19 8FF

Contact: Clare Gray 

Note No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Cllrs Kieron Mallon and Iain McCracken declared an interest. Kieron Mallon as a Member of the Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service and Iain McCracken, the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To agree the Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 December 2016 (two sets of minutes including Confirmation Hearing)

Additional documents:


The Minutes of the Meeting held on 16 December 2016 were agreed as a correct record.


As the Panel had not received a response to the recommendations of the Preventing Child Sexual Exploitation Sub-Committee they asked the PCC to respond:-


Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASH)

The PCC had been visiting the MASH across the Thames Valley and particularly mentioned the good work being undertaken in a number of the MASH’s. He had one main concern which was the lack of an Education Sector presence in the Hubs which he felt was critical to their success. He also expressed concern about the number of MASH in Berkshire and commented that they were too small to be as effective as they should be. Whilst the MASH do interlink, there ideally needed to be two MASH in Berkshire. He would undertake a review of the MASH after one year.


Language Schools

The PCC commented that this really was an issue for schools and OFSTED as language schools were currently unregulated on some safeguarding issues. He had talked to MPs about this issue. He would write a letter to the Education Secretary raising this issue of language schools and also this issue and also the issue of safeguarding in academies copying in the Police and Home Secretary.


Taxi Licensing

Cllr Sinclair asked that the Thames Valley wide meeting be set up as soon as possible to look at current issues regarding taxi licensing.

Action: Scrutiny Officer


The Panel asked the PCC to provide a formal response to the recommendations of the Sub-Committee.

Action: PCC



Public Question Time

Anyone who works or lives in the Thames Valley can ask a question at meetings of the Police and Crime Panel, at which a 20 minute session will be designated for hearing from the public.


If you’d like to participate, please read the Public Question Time Scheme and submit your questions by email to at least three working days in advance of the meeting.


There were no public questions.


Budget Task and Finish Group Report pdf icon PDF 273 KB

The report will be presented by Cllr McCracken, Chairman of the Task and Finish Group.

Additional documents:


As in previous years, the Thames Valley Police & Crime Panel formed a Budget Task & Finish Group to assist in discharging its statutory duty to scrutinise the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley’s proposed council tax precept for 2017/18. Cllr McCracken, the Chairman of the Budget Task and Finish Group presented the report. He thanked Ian Thompson and Linda Waters for attending the Group and updating Members on the PCC’s draft budget proposals and also Members of the Group for their work.


The Chairman particularly referred to the following points:-


·         The Government’s continued commitment that no police force will face a cash reduction in their overall funding providing they maximise their precept, places Thames Valley Police (TVP) in a better financial position than anticipated 18 months ago but still equates to a real terms cut in income.

·         The medium term financial plan (MTFP) is balanced in all three years. This has only been possible through the identification of £21.54m of budget cuts. The draft budget requires £10.5m of productivity savings in 2017/18 with a further £11m in the following two years.

·         The impact of the new national funding formula for the allocation of core police grants – at this stage it is not known what impact the new formula will have or what additional grant top slices will be taken from the police grant in 2018/19 and later years.

·         Considerable uncertainty around the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Project (ESN) – PCCs will need to pay local ESN costs, including data and connection charges, devices and installation as well as control room upgrades supported by specific grants reallocated through the ‘core-costs’ top-slice. It was recommended that an additional £1m be added to the Medium Term Capital Plan for this purpose.

·         The significant cost increases required and delay in timeline for the Contact Management Programme including the shortage of IT technical skills within the Force to deliver complex projects and the need to employ contractors.

·         Budget allocation for cyber-crime bearing in mind the figures for this in the latest national crime survey and the financial impact of local Forces investigating high profile cases (with reference to the recent HBOS case where the Force spent £7 million investigating the case).

·         The impact on police officer and staff numbers next year (2017/18) is a net reduction of 59 police officer posts and an increase of 22 police staff/PCSO posts.

·         Concern over the National Police Transformation Fund which was intended to help police reform and that this could be a ‘pump priming’ measure to help Forces transition over to the new funding formula.


A recommendation had been put forward which was debated during the next item as follows:-


  1. That the Panel approve the Police and Crime Commissioner’s precept for 2017/18 as set out in the OPCC report ‘Revenue Estimates 2017/18 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2017/18 to 2020/21’ subject to satisfactory responses to the questions raised at Appendix B of the report and any other supplementary questions asked at the Panel meeting on 3 February  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.


Scrutiny of the proposed precept - Questioning of the Police and Crime Commissioner pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Attached is the Revenue Estimates 2017/18 and the Medium Term Financial Plan 2017/18 to 2020/21. The Medium Term Capital Plan and Reserves and Balances reports are attached as a supplement.

Additional documents:


The following questions were raised in relation to the proposed precept of the PCC:-


1.       At the last meeting you were questioned on your 25 key objectives being deliverable. Please could you indicate how your budget supports your strategic priorities as follows:-

·         Vulnerability

·         Prevention and Early Intervention

·         Reducing Re-offending

·         Serious Organised Crime and Terrorism

·         Police Judgement and Reform


The PCC commented that the presentation format of the budget does not align with each individual priority in his Plan, but the Plan was a framework in which to prioritise his key objectives, the overall budget allocation to the Force and for commissioning other non-policing services. He gave an example of other costs that may be borne by the Force, which was the HBoS fraud case. His recent statement referred to the length and cost of the investigation, which has resulted in the case taking over 6 years to bring to court, 151 police officers and staff tied up in the investigation, and at a cost of more than £7m which has been borne by the householders of Thames Valley. The cost in time and money for a police force to take on a major fraud investigation is considerable and a judgement has to be made whether the £7m spent on this case, and police officer time, could have been better spent in pursuing other crimes, such as child sexual abuse, and the multitude of lower scale frauds perpetrated against smaller companies and the elderly.

There needs to be an agreed policy that if a major fraud is committed, and the Serious Fraud Office does not have the capacity to take it on, then the police force that investigates it is reimbursed by central government, or through a fine or costs imposed on the auditors, the bank and the offenders involved.  In this case there does not appear to be a way to recompense Thames Valley Police and the Council Tax payers who part pay for their police force. The government should ensure that full restitution for the cost of prosecuting this case is made, and that every major fraud should be investigated. There is the Bellwin funding scheme which is designed to recompense authorities for the costs of emergency measures undertaken to safeguard life or property, or to prevent further suffering and inconvenience locally, during exceptional circumstances but authorities have to claim back this money. The special grant rules for the police require them to contribute 1% of the net budget before they can seek financial assistance from the Home Office.

The PCC also referred to a number of additional commitments which included the implementation of the new Apprentice Levy (£1.3m) and the Local Government Pension Scheme (£1.3m).

2.       OPCC Risk 18 states the following ‘with crime becoming ever more complex and challenging to investigate and demand in policing services increasing, the level of funding forecast for the next three years is insufficient to deliver the planned outcomes in the PCC Police and Crime Plan 2017 to 2021.’ Yet you have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 91.



Annual Assurance Report pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Dr Louis Lee, Chairman of the Joint Independent Audit Committee will attend to present his report.

Additional documents:


Members received the Annual Assurance Report from the Chairman of the Joint Independent Audit Committee, Dr Louis Lee. The JIAC is a key component of the PCC and Chief Constable’s arrangements for corporate governance and provides an independent and high level focus on the audit, assurance and reporting arrangements that underpin good governance and financial management and reporting standards. This is the Committee’s fourth Annual Report.


Dr Louis Lee presented the report which highlighted the following:-


·         Based on the information they have seen collectively, or know about individually, they have assured the PCC and Chief Constable that the risk management and internal control environment in the Thames Valley is operating efficiently and effectively. Constructive challenges over the past twelve months on a wide range of topics have given the Committee access to information and meetings; the positive relationship with the PCC and the Chief Constable and senior staff has enabled the Committee to contribute to improved audit, risk management and internal controls.

·         At their last annual report they had stated that they would retain a close interest in, and scrutiny of, the transformation of the ICT systems and infrastructure, which are recognised as being business critical, costly and in need of ongoing improvement. In June they received an update on ICT delivery. In March 2016 they received a confidential briefing on the critical issue of the sudden departure of the Interim Head of ICT and the subsequent review of the ICT Business Partner model for delivering the ICT Strategy. Whilst there were still a number of challenges to be overcome, the report highlighted the progress that had been made both in reducing the level of risk to the organisation and in restricting and reshaping of the structures and processes to deliver the new plan. They had also been invited to attend appropriate meetings of the ICT 2020 Vision Board and Force Transformation Board to see the corrective action being taken to overcome the problems identified earlier in the year and the progress being made to implement the five year ICT strategy.

·         The external auditor issued a new significant value for money risk in relation to informed decision making, resulting from concerns around ICT procurement and the ICT Strategy.

·         The External Auditor issued her Annual Audit Letter to the PCC and Chief Constable which was an unqualified audit opinion in respect of financial statements, an unqualified value for money conclusion and the audit completion certificate. TVP were one of the first local policing bodies national to have their accounts formally signed off by external audit and this was due to excellent project planning within and between the OPCC and Force Finance Departments and their effective working relationship with external audit staff.

·         With regard to the Annual Governance Statement they had challenged officers as to why the various collaboration meeting were not being held in a timely manner given the importance of the subject area. A timetable for regular meetings have now been established and implemented but they would continue to monitor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.



Property Asset Management Plan Refresh pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To note the Property Asset Management Plan Refresh. The full Asset Management Plan is attached in the supplement pack.

Additional documents:


The Panel received the report on the Property Asset Management Plan (AMP) which established the overall strategic direction for management of the Thames Valley Police (TVP) estate, and provides the context for making key decisions on the future of individual properties and investment priorities. The current AMP was approved in 2014 and is refreshed in detail every two years so the next Plan covers the period 2016-2020. This reflects the latest recommended position on individual site retention, confirms an ongoing disposal programmed and required activity over the next two years to continue to improve how the Force manage estate assets.


Members noted that the drivers and enablers behind the Plan were as follows:-


·         Increased budgetary pressure on reducing non-staff costs and the cost of the estate overall to achieve the savings target included within the Productivity Strategy.

·         ICT facilitated Smarter Ways of Working – to reduce the size of accommodation requirements and increase the potential to release/replace additional sites in the future at operational, support and Headquarters levels.

·         Local Police Area Operating Model, Digital Policing and Contact Management Programme – to enable change and reduce the need for space.

·         The report includes information on disposal and acquisitions, collaboration, protecting the custody suite estate, future housing and population growth, overall estate change and performance and reduction in the neighbourhood office estate.


During discussion the following points were noted:-


·         Cllr Egleton asked about using surplus property for income streams rather than generating capital receipts. The PCC reported that they were buying assets rapidly rather than leasing and that 88% of the estate was now owned, compared with 72% in 2010 and 82% in 2014. They have surrendered more leases and purchased Meadow House, Kingfisher Court and Fountain Court which were expected to produce revenue savings. Police houses needed to be sold as they were unfit for modernisation and it was more efficient to get rid of them. He referred to police stations in major towns and commented that a decision needed to be taken about whether it was cost effective to relocate. There were some areas where they had surplus property which was not being sold to ensure that the best value was obtained from the market as a potential income stream.

·         Cllr Macpherson referred to the One Public Estate initiative (where funding will support public sector partnerships to work collaboratively on land and property initiatives, generating new jobs and homes, creating more joined up public services to local communities, and delivering savings for the taxpayer) which is progressing substantively in Berkshire, initiated in Bucks but not yet commenced in Oxfordshire and MK. What future projects are in the pipeline ? The PCC commented that this was being led by Local Authorities not the police and it was work in progress. However there was the wider issue of working with partners to provide services to the community in a cost effective way. A proposal was put forward that this should be looked at further by the Panel to look at co-location on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.



Report on the implications of the Policing and Crime Bill pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To be provided with information on how the Policing and Crime Bill will impact specifically on the Thames Valley.


Members received a report on the implications for Thames Valley on the Policing and Crime Act. The Policing and Crime Act will support the transformation of policing and the fire service by:


·         Enhancing local accountability of the fire and rescue service by enabling directly elected PCCs to take over the governance from Fire and Rescue Authorities where a local case is made.

·         Driving efficiency and better value for money by facilitating closer collaboration between all three emergency services and maximising the ability of chief officers to make best use of the police officers, police staff and volunteers in their workforce.

·         Strengthening public confidence and trust in the police by radically reforming and simplifying the police complaints and disciplinary systems, including by providing for an enhanced role for PCCs and the IPCC and greater protection for police whistle-blowers.

·         Ensuring the police and other law enforcement agencies have the powers they need to prevent and detect crime and protect children and young people from sexual exploitation.

·         Strengthening the protections for those under investigation by the police by ensuring that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals and the need to protect the wider public.

·         Ensuring that those experiencing a mental health crisis receive the help they need, and that police cells are only used as places of safety in exceptional circumstances.

·         Reforming firearms and alcohol licensing laws to better protect the public by preventing criminals and terrorists from exploiting loopholes in the Firearms Acts and strengthening the ability of licensing authorities to take action against alcohol driven crime and disorder.


The PCC commented that in relation to complaints none of the concerns that PCCs had raised in relation to vexatious complaints had been addressed. He also commented that he was not minded to take advantage of the enabling legislation which would allow him to take on responsibility for the front-end of the police complaints system and responsibility for all duties regarding ongoing contact with the complainant. The responsibility for undertaking the role of the appellate body would not transfer to PCCs until around June 2018. This could have workload implications for the Panel.


Cllr Birchley referred to the new reform which provided for a presumption in favour of releasing a suspect without bail, with bail only being imposed when it is both necessary and proportionate which would represent a big cultural shift for the police service. The PCC commented that this new provision related back to the issues with Operation Midland and the fact that some people were on bail indefinitely. However there was now a new offence of breach of pre-charge bail which related to travel for individuals arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences. The Chief Constable reported that there were now statutory time limits with regard to bail not lasting longer than 28 days which is extendable in complex cases. Computer systems would need to be updated to manage the change which will not come into force until the end of 2017 but this is affecting all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.



Topical Issues pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To note and ask questions on the topical issues report. The Chief Constable will also give an update on the operating model pilots.


Office of the PCC

Cllr Sohal asked whether any progress had been made in relation to Associate PCCs. The PCC reported that they were looking at the model used by the West Mercia PCC who had appointed community ambassadors on service contracts. The Panel welcomed this initiative.


101 site visit

A site visit to the control centre at Kidlington would be arranged for a small group of Members (6-8) and dates would be circulated.

Action: Scrutiny Officer


Local Policing


A video was shown on local policing.


“The concept behind the new operating model is to deliver more efficient and smarter ways of working whilst ensuring that resourcing matches demand and that the right person is deployed to the right job at the right time. Pilot schemes were launched on three of the Force’s Local Policing Areas – Reading, West Berkshire and Milton Keynes, focusing upon different aspects of the proposed operating model and the results have been very encouraging.  Through smarter and more consistent processes, which we are calling ‘Smarter Resolution’ time spent investigating specific crime types through to resolution has reduced significantly by around 30%.  This in turn has enabled faster response times in relation to Immediate and Urgent Graded Incidents. “


Cllr Birchley referred to a recent press article in the Bucks Advertiser on the number of police officers in the Thames Valley falling by 3.3% between September 2015 and September 2016 which was the biggest drop in seven years. The Chief Constable reported that it was important to look at figures over the longer term rather than one year in isolation. There has been a reduction in 59 officers as a result of workforce modernisation but this had not impacted on service delivery and the Force were targeting resources to where they were most needed.


Cllr Birchley asked how the changes to local policing had been communicated to the public and whether it would be presented in Buckinghamshire at the Local Area Forums. The Chief Constable reported that the public would not notice much change and it was only an internal restructure to target resources more effectively. The PCSO’s would remain the single point of contact which would avoid double or triple tasking. There will be a response team that deals with incidents which will then be looked at by the Investigation and Problem Solving Team.


Cllr Sinclair also suggested giving a presentation at the Neighbourhood Action Groups as they were concerned about the changes to local policing. He commented that it was important particularly for the problem solving teams to work in partnership with local communities so that problems are solved together not in isolation.


Cllr Egleton commented that there should be more communication about the changes to local policing and said that there was an item on this issue at his local Community Safety Partnership meeting. Whilst Members had received a letter from the Local Area Commander there should be further communication with parishes and the public as there were concerns about the new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 93 KB

For Panel Members to put forward items for the Work Programme including ideas for themed meetings.

Additional documents:


Some Members had suggested that an item be put on the next agenda on roads policing and the joint operation with Hampshire. The PCC commented that road deaths had gone up recently which could be related to the number of new electronic driver information/entertainment systems now routinely incorporated in cars which were a distraction to the driver. The Chief Constable asked for further information on which areas the Panel were interested so he could provide the relevant background. This item was agreed.


The next meeting includes an update from the PCC on the Local Criminal Justice System. Members noted that the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel were undertaking an inquiry into how the PCC and other criminal justice agencies are co-operating to ensure that there is an efficient and effective criminal justice system with a particular focus on youth re-offending. Members welcomed a briefing from the PCC on the wider criminal justice system and his role as part of that. Following this discussion Members could then decide whether to look at a specific area, which could be a priority in his new Police and Crime Plan. Under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 there is a reciprocal duty for the PCC and certain criminal justice bodies to co-operate in ensuring an efficient and effective criminal justice system and the Panel could look at how the PCC discharges his responsibility. Members agreed this way forward.



Date and Time of Next Meeting

7 April 2017 at 11am


7 April 2017 at 11am at Aylesbury Vale District Council.