Ashley Bertie, Assistant Policy Crime
Commissioner, APCC thanked for panel for the invitation to attend
the panel meeting. The APCC introduced Mary Jacobs, Partnerships
and Engagement Officer, West Midlands Police and Crime
The APCC outlined the role and
responsibilities of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the
relationship with Chief Constable of West Midlands Police. The PCC
responsibility covers seven local authorities’ regions.
The APCC explained that the priorities of the
PCC are detailed in the Police and Crime Plan 2016-2020, against
which he is held to account by the public and representatives of
the Police and Crime Panel.
The APCC commented on the low level of
re-offending across the region and reduction in recorded crime
rate. The APCC commented that an important success of the work done
by PCC was fewer people entering the criminal justice, as a result
of focusing on reducing violent crime and street gangs.
The APCC commented on work done to increase
confidence by the public in the police and also managing the
challenge presented by the loss of 2000 police officers and
delivering budget savings of £125 million. The APPC commented
on the areas of increased demand on the police to deal with complex
issues ranging from child sexual exploitation to female genital
mutilation, which has presented a number of challenges.
The APCC commented on the impact of reduced
spending by other public sector bodies which has reduced services
which in the past would have supported many of the groups that the
service is having to care for with limited resources.
The Chair invited members of the panel to
question the APPC on the performance of PCC. The panel queried what
changes had been made in the list of priority areas detailed in the
Police and Crime Panel, and also if any new priorities had emerged
since it was produced. The APCC commented on the increase in
reports of hate crime, domestic violence as new emerging issue that
the police are dealing with. The APCC explained that the PCC is not
involved in any decisions about policing operational matters but is
working with the Chief Constable who will be held to account by the
PCC to achieve them. The changing nature of drug misuse has had a
major impact on policing resources and the view of the PCC was that
the ‘war on drugs’ had failed.
The APCC accepted that the police are not
giving the public the right level of service based on the
complaints about response times reported on the non-emergency
numbers. The APPC accepted that the police service do not always
get it right in terms of responding promptly to calls from the
public, but they are working hard to improve the situation.
The APCC commented on issue of vehicle crime
and the work being done to reduce the number of illegal ‘chop
shops” where car parts are sold abroad from cars stolen in the region. The APPC added that
600 illegal ‘chop shops’ involved in this crime had
been closed down.
The APCC commented on the increased numbers
reported incidents of hate crime but added that in some situations
people do not want to report the matter and would like someone to
talk a third-party charity. The APPC added that work is being done
with police neighbourhood teams and the Head of Hate Crime in
preparation for when the UK leaves the European Union, if there is
an increase in reported incidents. The panel were advised that the
University of Birmingham have been commissioned to research the
issue of hate crime.
The panel queried the lack of explicit
reference in the Police and Crime Plan to the PCC meeting its
responsibilities as detailed in the Equality Act. The APCC
explained that the responsibilities of the Act are at the heart of
the work being done by the PCC. The PCC wants the police force to
be more representative of the population, at present the number of
officers is well below the 34% of the population who are BME
background. The APCC commented on the importance of improving the
situation and that work continues with the police to create a more
diverse workforce. In addition, the PCC wants to give women better
opportunities so that they can progress at the same rate as male
The panel commented of the major delays in
getting a response when contacting the police using the
non-emergency telephone number and the poor service given to the
public. The panel added that the public had struggled to speak to
anyone and there was little confidence in the service. The APCC
accepted that their problems with the service and reported that
there had been fewer complaints received recently and that the
performance is being monitored.
The panel queried if a decision had been made
to close Wednesfield Police Station. The APCC commented that the
PCC view is that the station should not close.
The panel expressed concern about the
reduction in special constables and PCSOs and the negative effect
that this had on public confidence in the police and reinforced the
view that the crime situation is getting worse.
The APCC commented on efforts to consider
alternatives to prison for young people such as restorative
justice, which is a key part of the PCC’s aim that people
should be offered support where appropriate rather than prison to
reduce the level of crime.
The panel queried the policy of ‘stop
and search’. The APCC commented that the number of cases has
reduced significantly from 64,000 (2011/12) to 1200. An analysis of
the cases showed that only 4% of the 64000 cases led to a positive
Following a change in policing policy to a
more intelligent led approach this resulted in an increase of 34%
increase in the number of positive outcomes, where something
illegal had been found during the search.
The APCC commented that the PCC will
investigate complaints arising from ‘stop and search’
and is working with the police to get a satisfactory solution to
the issue for all concerned, when then are complaints.
The panel expressed a high level of
dissatisfaction with the 101 non-emergency number and wanted to see
progress made to improve the situation. The APCC that the service
is driven by demand and there is acceptance that more resources are
needed to give the public a better service to reduce lengthy
waiting times. The APCC commented on the range of factors
contributing to increased demand on the non-emergency service.
The panel discussed progress made to recruit
more police officers. The APCC commented on the current recruitment
targets based on the budget plans for 2016-20. The APCC added that
Government had recently announced the West Midlands Police will
have fund pension contributions, estimated at £8.8 million,
which will have major implications for service. The APCC added that
there was no advance warning given of this plan and difficult
decisions will have to be made about the future recruitment of
police officers if the decision is not changed.
The APCC commented on the changes in the way
serious crimes involving violence which mean the police work is
done behind the scenes to reflect the resources available and the
demand on the service. The public understand that the police
service is working in challenging times but there is commitment
from the PCC not to abandon neighbourhood policing.
The APCC agreed to attend a future meeting of
the panel to give an update on the future of Wednesfield police
The panel queried the share of the Community
Safety Funding detailed in Police and Crime Plan, that is used to
support local initiatives that had allocated to Wolverhampton, when
compared to Birmingham.
The panel commented on the lack of visible
police presence in the community and the negative impact on public
confidence in dealing concerns about gang violence and public
safety. The panel discussed concern that the approach to policing
has been more proactive rather than reactive as a result of budget
cuts. The APCC advised the panel about
the work of the violence prevention alliance which links to work on
gang prevention. The PCC has pledged £2 million to support
the work and is working with partner organisations to roll out the
programme. The APCC commented the progress of the early
intervention fund which is not just for Birmingham and it is
intended to be used to scale up existing work. The APCC advised the
panel of other funding opportunities, for example, The Ministry of
Justice, to divert young people from crime and gang related
The APCC commented that there is a national
debate on removing the requirement to show reasonable grounds when
using ‘stop and search’. The PCC has stated that he
does not support this change because of concerns about the negative
impact on community relations.
The panel discussed how the priorities in the
Police and Crime Plan had changed in response to new issues arising
since it was first published. The APPC advised the panel that the
PCC produces an annual report to give an update on progress against
the priorities detailed in the police and crime plan. The report is
shared with local councillors and discussed at a meeting of the
Police and Crime Panel. The panel queried if there was a different
version of the annual report could be drafted that was for the
public. The issue of reducing the level of violent crime remains a
priority for the PCC but there is an acceptance that it will take
time and there is a focus on finding lasting solutions.
The APCC commented on the consultation about a
proposal for the transfer of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Functions to the West Midlands Mayor in 2020. The APCC outlined the
grave concerns of the PCC about the proposal and was disappointed
that the public document did not include the changes that were
suggested at the time and other options for consideration. The
panel were encouraged to complete the online consultation form.
Mary Jacobs, Public Engagement Officer for the
Police and Crime Commissioner, commented on work done with youth
council to encourage their involvement. The panel were advised that
a Youth Summit had been arranged in December 2018 which will
provide an opportunity to discuss issues of concern to young
The Chair thanked APCC for attending the
meeting. The APCC confirmed that he would be willing to attend a
future meeting. The APCC agreed to provide the information
requested by the panel.
The APCC agreed to provide the information requested by the