This item will be a discussion between members and officers around the arrangements of the new Commission.
Adam Matan, Chair of the Resident-Led Policing and Crime Commission introduced himself and noted that the Commission had begun its work looking at the root causes of crime and anti-social behaviour. A press release was published on the Council’s website on 5 December 2018 updating residents of the current arrangements and providing an opportunity for residents to submit written evidence to the Commission. In addition, the terms of reference had also been approved following the Commission’s first meeting held on 27 November 2018. The Commission agreed three main priority areas which look at how communities and key partners would work together to tackle concerns around crime. It would also focus on how to build better community resilience and ensure residents could voice their concerns with the Police and the Council. Furthermore, the partnership structure would also be reviewed going forward.
Peter Smith, Head of Policy & Strategy, explained that a breakdown updating residents of the timescales for reporting on all three key areas would be available within the next 6 months, once evidence and views had been gathered and analysed.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler felt that some residents felt disappointed by the introduction of the new arrangements and asked how the members of the Commission were selected. Peter Smith explained that the Council provided residents with the opportunity to submit an expression of interest to sit on the Commission and, once these were received, the Chair and Vice Chair were asked to appoint the members based on four specific selection criteria.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler raised concerns about the transparency and the independence of the selection process for the Commission. Adam Matan offered reassurances and explained that the Council Officers were not involved in the appointment of members. He worked in collaboration with the Vice Chair to appoint members based on the selection criteria. Furthermore, he noted that he was aware of the historical issues, however reiterated that this was an independent selection process.
Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked for clarification around the involvement of the Police going forward. Peter Smith noted that Superintendent Helen Harper, of the Metropolitan Police, was acting as an ex-officio advisor to the Commission and would be invited to all future meetings.
The Deputy Leader, Councillor Sue Fennimore explained that the Council had successfully launched nine Resident-Led Commissions to help develop policies for the borough and each Commission was developed independently. The administration appointed the Chair and Vice Chair; however, it was then their responsibility to separately select and appoint members of the Commission. In addition, she highlighted that the quality of applicants was outstanding and the aim of the Commission was to achieve good outcomes on crime within the borough.
The Chair asked what stakeholders would the Council engage with to ensure the success of this Commission. Peter Smith noted that the Vice Chair would like to work in collaboration with the Safer Neighbourhood Ward Panel Chairs and the Metropolitan Police - stop and search services. The Chair requested that young people within the borough were also provided with the opportunity to engage with the Commission.
Councillor Iain Cassidy asked what sort of work would be carried out to engage with local businesses across the borough. Adam Matan said that the Commission was at its very early stages of set up therefore a plan had not yet been finalised. However, the priority was to engage with existing partners to develop a strategy during the recommendation stage. Working in collaboration with local businesses and partners such as professional football clubs, Charring Cross Hospital and Westfield London would prove useful to tackle crime within the borough. In addition, residents were also able to submit written evidence to the Commission via the Council’s website - this had been communicated to residents as part of the press release.
The Leader, Councillor Stephen Cowan, said that crime within the borough had increased, this therefore had placed a huge pressure on the community. He noted that he was grateful to the administration and everyone involved in the setting up of the Commission for their hard work and contributions made, to achieve successful outcomes, whilst pioneering ways to work with residents. Furthermore, the Council had appointed residents across the board with expert knowledge to step in and lead this Commission and help minimise issues relating to crime and antisocial behaviour within the borough. Community action panels would be set up to efficiently tackle some of the areas that were outside of the Police’s remit.
A resident asked for further clarification around why the Council had made the decision to close the Safer Neighbourhood Board and develop a new crime and policing Commission. Councillor Stephen Cowan explained that after consultation with the Police, the Council had made a decision to move forward and refresh the board. Furthermore, he explained that documentation was circulated, which clearly outlined the reasons why the Council had made this decision as well as clarifying the next steps.
The Chair thanked Peter Smith and Adam Matan for their efforts and said that she was looking forward to receiving a more detailed update around the future progress of the Commission.
That the Committee noted and commented on the update