To consider a report and presentation updating on the work of the Safer North Tyneside Partnership.
The sub-committee received a report in relation to the Safer North Tyneside Partnership’s progress and plans for the year ahead, following a refresh in the context of the challenges posed by the pandemic. The Housing sub-committee had been designated as the Council’s crime and disorder committee since 2014.
The Safer North Tyneside Partnership served as the local community safety partnership for the borough. There was a duty on responsible authorities to work together, with other agencies, to tackle crime, disorder, substance misuse and reoffending within the community. There was an approved strategy in place, delivered using an annual work plan, informed by a strategic assessment.
Following the unique challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic the partnership was taking the opportunity to reflect on a significant period of disruption and change, understanding how communities had been affected, and to refresh its approach to build back better to meet challenges ahead.
Over the last few months there had been a number of matters that had emerged that the partnership had included within its thinking, including:
· A new Our North Tyneside council plan which focussed on new themes designed to address the priorities of residents and the challenges resulting from Covid-19;
· A new Police and Crime Plan which focussed on tackling crime and supporting victims;
· The introduction of a Domestic Abuse Act and the statutory duties included within it. It was noted that domestic violence was difficult to measure and was more prevalent in lockdown;
· Heightened concern about anti-social behaviour from residents and elected members which arose during the pandemic;
· Preparing for a new Series Violence Duty set to be introduced by new legislation;
· The safety of women and girls in public places; and
· Concerns about the potentially increasing risk of radicalisation and extremism as a consequence of measure introduced to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Partners had agreed to develop a crime reduction plan and take a public health approach to tackling crime and disorder. This had been adopted as a model of best practice in other parts of the country where the link between inherent socio-economic factors and crime in an area have been made and the response to that strengthened. The council, as coordinator of the partnership, was finalising a senior management restructure within part of its business. This would see the Director of Public Health take on responsibility for community safety, to add strategic capacity and to build on the work already underway in establishing a new domestic abuse board.
Whilst the partnership had taken the opportunity to embark on a period of change, work against the priorities set out within the community safety strategy had progressed within the context of the pandemic. This included:
· An approved approach to Prevent by refreshing the Channel process in line with the introduction of new Home Office guidance;
· Addressing the spike in anti-social behaviour at the coast during Covid-19 lockdowns through the council-led multi-agency Operation Coast Watch initiative;
· Steering young people away from crime using the Project Vita initiative, instrumental in tackling youth disorder; and
· A strengthened approach to tackling serious organised crime via the police led multi-agency Operation Sentinel initiative.
The sub-committee discussed the Authority’s response to the prevention of terrorism. It was explained that every local authority had identified public places of risk and that audits, undertaken with Northumbria Police, were put in place to assess risks when large events are hosted. It was noted that, when the masterplans for the regeneration of various areas of the borough were developed, public space protection was factored into the planning.
A member of the sub-committee asked if Nexus were one of the partners that sat on the North Tyneside Strategic Partnership. It was noted that Nexus attended as a non-statutory partner. Members raised the issue of anti-social behaviour on the Metro and suggested that Nexus be invited to a future meeting of the sub-committee to discuss this. Reference was also made to the Safer Transport Northumbria app, launched by the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner to allow reporting of concerning attitudes and behaviours that made people feel unsafe using public transport.
The sub-committee discussed the links between Elected Members and neighbourhood policing teams, highlighting the need for there to be consistency and dialogue in order to build relationships and work together within the community.
The sub-committee agreed to note the information provided.