Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel (Special Meeting) – 10 November 2009
PRESENT: Councillor Davison in the Chair.
Councillors Ali, Clark, T Foster, Simpson, Wardle and Whiteley.
Councillor Wilson attended the meeting in accordance with Procedure Rule 1.37 (b).
Also in attendance was Ms J Gavin-Allen, Neighbourhood Manager (Acorns), North Lincolnshire Council, Mr S Driver, Chief Executive of North Lincolnshire Council, Councillor L Foster, Chair of Safer Neighbourhoods Strategy Board, Chief Superintendent P Simmonds, Divisional Commander ‘B’ Division, Humberside Police and Mr B Watson, Deputy Head of Safer Neighbourhoods (Crime Reduction and Anti Social Behaviour).
The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.
211 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – There were no declarations of personal or personal and prejudicial interests.
No whip was declared.
212 POLICE COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICERS IN THE WESTCLIFF, RIDDINGS AND MANOR FARM ESTATES OF SCUNTHORPE – The Chair welcomed all elected members and Safer Neighbourhood partners to the meeting and reminded everyone that the scrutiny panel terms of reference allowed for it to carry out the relevant overview and scrutiny functions relating to services being delivered by the council and its partners for cleaner, greener, stronger and safer communities, and associated transport and environmental matters. The scrutiny panel had also been designated the council’s Crime and Disorder Committee in line with the requirements of the Police and Justice Act 2006.
As a result of reading the local newspaper (5 October 2009), as well as comments made to panel members by residents, the panel had concerns with regard to the long term validity of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) operating in the Westcliff, Riddings and Manor Farm estates of Scunthorpe.
Members learned that the PCSOs were part funded by the Acorns project. However, that funding ceased on 31 March 2010.
Initial enquiries by the panel, as well as speaking to the council’s Acorns Neighbourhood Manager, suggested that an ‘agreement’ was in place between the Acorns project and Humberside Police that the PCSOs be funded entirely by Humberside Police from 1 April 2010.
However, it appeared that this might not be the case and a potential budget shortfall now existed amongst Safer Neighbourhoods partners, which ultimately might result in the loss of the PCSOs allocated to the Westcliff, Riddings and Manor Farm estates of Scunthorpe.
Because of the success of the PCSOs in that area, and the concern that the panel had that this vitally important provision might be at risk, the panel had convened a special meeting in order to discuss the long term validity of PCSOs in the Westcliff, Riddings and Manor Farm estates of Scunthorpe.
Members questioned Ms Gavin-Allen (Neighbourhood Manager (Acorns)), Mr S Driver, (Chief Executive of North Lincolnshire Council), Councillor L Foster, (Chair of Safer Neighbourhoods Strategy Board), Chief Superintendent Simmonds, (Divisional Commander ‘B’ Division, Humberside Police) and Mr B Watson (Deputy Head of Safer Neighbourhoods (Crime Reduction and Anti Social Behaviour)) with regard to their concern over the loss of this vital provision.
Resolved – (a) That the panel commends Humberside Police for absorbing into its budget the existing three Police Community Support Officers operating in the Westcliff, Riddings and Manor Farm estates of Scunthorpe, and (b) that all partners be thanked for their attendance at the meeting and for answering members’ concerns and questions.