Summary of meeting with Paddy Tipping
Police & Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire 13/2/13
Paddy opened the meeting by saying that he has a voluntary sector background. He has been in post for less than 3 months and as there has never been a PCC before, he is having to work out how to do the job. The PCC has a number of functions including setting up the budget, writing the Police & Crime Plan, hire/fire the Chief Constable (contract has been extended) and talk to the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to ensure priorities reflect the views of the people. The P&C plan is out for consultation and can be viewed on the PCC website. It sets out priorities for the next 5 years but can be reviewed annually. Nothing will be achieved overnight.
The budget was concluded last week and Paddy has said that it’s been tough to incorporate 20% cuts. Three quarters of the Police budget comes from the government with 25% coming from the council tax precept. Paddy is having discussions with the government to increase the amount of funding that Nottinghamshire receives but the battle has not been won yet. Lively discussions are taking place to review the Police formula which determines how much funding is given to each Police Force. It’s unlikely that any changes will be made overnight.
There is a big demand for more uniformed officers and over the next 12 months an additional 150 police officers and 100 extra PCSOs will be recruited. PCs and PCSOs enter the service for different reasons. PCSOs are more flexible but have limited powers. The Chief Constable can increase these powers but needs to be careful not to increase powers too much otherwise they would end up just being police officers and wrapped up in bureaucracy. In response to a comment about PCSOs being unauthorised to use hand-held speed cameras Paddy advised that speed and road traffic was included in the P&C plan and asked for people to respond to the consultation. Although there is limited information in the draft plan, the final plan will be more detailed.
Paddy is working with local councils and VCSE organisations to tackle anti-social behaviour, which is down across the county by 34% over the past two years. Paddy has always been involved in domestic violence and has appointed Chris Cutland, former Women’s Aid chief executive, as his Deputy PCC. There have been 7 domestic violence murders in the last two years and needs to be a priority. Paddy has always been clear that victims of crime deserve a better deal. He is working with the Crown Prosecution Service and the major courts on how to provide a better service for victims.
The Police budget is £198 million and there is a desire to mover from chasing after criminals to preventing crime. Local authorities, the NHS and neighbourhood groups are all important players in this agenda. Paddy aims to divert funding into prevention activity. The PCC will now be responsible for the Community Safety grant which amounts to £3 million in Nottinghamshire, £1.7 million for Nottingham and £1.3 million for the County.
Paddy aims to practise what he preaches by setting up a Community Partnership budget of £0.5 million which will predominantly be available for Third Sector organisations. He is currently setting the framework and criteria but it will be small grants, with the aim to increase the pot of money available over the next few years. He’s also looking to provide funding for Neighbourhood Watch and is in preliminary discussions. An announcement will be made in the next few weeks.
He reported that it’s a lonely life as a PCC as there is no committee but he does have to report to a Police & Crime panel which is made up of local authority representatives and its role is to scrutinise the work of the PCC, although it is Paddy that makes all the decisions. Paddy finished by saying that it was clear that he needed to work with the VCSE. He’s found it a challenge to speak to all the VCSE organisations that are out there and advised that he needed a way to engage and welcomed any thoughts on how that could take place.
One piece of work that is taking place is meeting with all borough councils and Paddy will be discussing local issues with them, including what facilities are available to local people. He advised that builders of new developments were required to make a contribution for infrastructure services and the funding could be used to build community centres or set up activities for young people. He said that he was keen to bring together the Police and local people to work out what the solutions were in their community. He couldn’t solve everything by himself but he was on the case.
The probation service is currently under review and it is likely that it will be let in 16 blocks across the country. Paddy is concerned that this will lead to large organisations applying to run the probation service but he feels strongly that there needs to be a strong emphasis on creating local social capital by using local VCSE organisations. He would like to see local VCSE working in partnership with the ‘prime contractors’ or alternatively the VCSE needs to build local consortia big enough to bid for contracts. Alison Adams from the Cabinet Office advised that she is undertaking a piece of work to ensure that the VCSE is involved in the revised probation service so that there is not a repeat of the Work Programme disaster and asked for people to contact her to get involved. There was also concern about the use of ‘payments by results’ which is a barrier to many smaller organisations which are not able to take the risk.
Paddy advised that when he commissions services he will give priority to local groups that have local knowledge and will also make use of The Compact which is an agreement for good working relationships.
There was a discussion about persuading local authorities to contract services out to VCSE organisations to offer real work experience to people with repeat offenders, young people who are excluded or at risk of exclusion and people with challenging behaviours. This type of activity has been proven to change people’s lives around. By contracting suitable services out it would enable VCSE organisations to become self-sufficient and not rely on grant funding. It is however a challenge to set up as a social enterprise. Paddy advised that he is considering running workshops on commissioning.
Services will be co-located where possible so that there is one point of access for the community to the police and local authorities. Training will be required but it is good for the public and will result in cost benefits. It will take time to instigate this and will result in the closure of some police stations.
There was a discussion on the work of the girls and gang network. Paddy advised that the Deputy PCC, Chris Cutland, had just started a piece of work on this and that all partners would be consulted.
Paddy is looking at working with the education system to reduce the number of young people who have been excluded from school from drifting into crime. The police, youth services and probation all need to work in partnership to address this. 80% of acquisitive crime is committed by young people under 25. Traditionally all the City wards have been policed equally but 50% of all crime is committed in just 5 wards. There is a need to prioritise these areas.
When asked about his plans for people with complex problems who were both victims and offenders, Paddy advised that there were some strong partnerships in the City but he had weaker relationships with the NHS due to major changes taking place. From 1st April local authorities will be responsible for public health. Paddy has two priorities, firstly to set up an alcohol strategy over the next few months and secondly working to identify vulnerable people in the community who have problems.
Magistrate courts have been closed and new magistrates have not been recruited due to an increase in the use of fixed penalty fines and the use of restorative justice. Some of the restorative justice activity has been poor quality and this is currently under review. Research has shown that keeping people away from courts actually reduces the chance that they will re-offend and another round of magistrate court closures will be taking place.
Nottinghamshire Police has moved from being the worst police force in the country to being one third of the way up the ‘chart’. It is the fastest improving police force in the country and Paddy is aiming for it to be one of the top 5 best police forces. The police know that they cannot keep on chasing criminals and that preventative work is the answer. This will require joined up partnership working.
Paddy is aiming to be the People’s Commissioner.
On behalf of the Safer Future Communities (SFC) network Paddy was presented with an information pack which contained a background to the VCSE in Northamptonshire, case studies, a list of SFC network members, a guide to commissioning with the VCSE sector, grant funding, the Public Services (Social Value) Act which came into force at the end of January 2013, The Compact and a focus on drugs.
Feedback from delegates
Of the 20 delegates that attended, 12 feedback forms were kindly completed. Everyone agreed that the value for time in attending the event was ‘okay’ to ‘very good’ and 66 % agreed that the content of the event was either ‘good’ to ‘very good’.
When asked ‘what could we have done better today’ comments included a more structured agenda and better control so that individuals did not monopolise the meeting.
Five delegates asked to become new members of the Safer Future Communities network.
The meeting was attended by:
|John Wood||Wensley Road Neighbourhood Watch|
|Ted Smith||Clifton Safety Panel|
|Sarah McGinley||Cotgrave NW|
|Richard MacRae||Stapleford Community Group|
|David Grindell||Stapleford Town Council|
|Farooq Mir||Anglo Skills College|
|David Kelly||Nottingham CVS|
|Bob Clarke||Orston NW|
|Ewa Van De Schootbrugge||Metropolitan|
|Martin Rogalski||West Bridgford NW|
|Jayne Jackson||Integritas Advocacy|
|Alan Wain||Rushcliffe 50+ Forum|
|Bron Downing||Bingham NW|
|Julie Girling||Farmeco Community Carefarm|
|Jo Bradley||Groundwork Nottingham|
|Alison Adams||Cabinet Office|
|Matthew Parr||Ann Craft Trust|
|Laurence Quirk||Gedling CVS|