Annual item. Members to receive a presentations from the Safer Together Co-ordinator of the North and South Kesteven Police and Crime Commissioner office and local representatives from the Community Police.
The Chairman welcomed the representatives who had been invited to the meeting to provide an update on neighbourhood policing and anti-social behaviour in South Kesteven. The speakers were invited to provide an update and then Members had the opportunity to put forward questions.
Maisie McMahon, Safer Together Coordinator, North and South Kesteven Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire
Ms McMahon gave an overview of the focus of the Safer Together Team, which had been formed to empower and involve communities to participate in decisions that affected their lives. There was a particular emphasis on getting to know individual areas across the County to gain an understanding of how differing cultures impacted on public engagement.
In response to questions asked by Members, the following points were made:
• With the reduction in the number of Police Community Support Officers in recent years, the Safer Together Team were intended to alleviate pressure on the Neighbourhood Policing Teams
• A quarterly newsletter would be compiled by the Team to provide an update on the work they were undertaking and its effects on local communities
• The reduction in a visible policing presence in towns and communities was not indicative of a reduction in the prevention of crime; a significant proportion of crime prevention work was undertaken behind the scenes
• The Safer Together team would welcome invitations to Parish, Town or District Council meetings in relation to crime reduction and prevention
Chief Inspector Phil Vickers and Inspector Gary Stewart, Lincolnshire Police
Inspector Stewart explained the approach adopted by the Police in relation to the enforcement of breaches of Covid-19 restrictions by individuals. The method was to ‘engage, explain, encourage and enforce’, when investigating an incident that could lead to a fixed penalty notice.
In response to questions and comments put forward by Members, the following points were made:
• There had been an increase in assaults made towards Police Officers, in particular coughing on or threatening Officers when an arrest was being made. Officers were tested for Covid-19 on a regular basis
• The reported increase in drug use by the Police and Crime Commissioner reflected proactive police activity where drugs targeting teams had been introduced
• There had been a change in role for the Neighbourhood Policing Teams nationally due to the reduction in police officers and staff over the past 12 years. Rural Forces had suffered disproportionately in this reduction but a plan to increase numbers had begun
• The majority of anti-social behaviour identified in South Kesteven was low-level; major policing priorities focussed on protecting vulnerable children and adults, where risks were less obvious to the local community
• Investigation work and accumulating evidence presented a significant challenge in extracting information from large amounts of electronic data. An electronic casefile project was ongoing to address this issue for policing teams nationally
• Chief Inspector Vickers recognised the value of the Lincs Alert and Neighbourhood Watch schemes and commented that a re-instatement or replacement for these schemes would benefit both local communities and police officers
The Chairman thanked Chief Inspector Vickers, Inspector Stewart and Ms McMahon for their time and extended an invitation for them to provide an update in six months’ time. An offer of thanks was also given for the hard work and dedication of the Police throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.