Agenda and draft minutes

Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel - Friday, 5th November, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Chamber, County Hall, Carmarthen, SA31 1JP. View directions

Contact: Martin S. Davies  01267 224059

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND PERSONAL MATTERS

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Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J. Jones (Carmarthenshire County Council) and R. Summons (Pembrokeshire County Council).

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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Minutes:

There were no declarations of personal interest made at the meeting.

 

3.

MINUTES - 30TH JULY 2021 pdf icon PDF 236 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Panel meeting held on the 30th July 2021 be signed as a correct record subject to it being noted that Cllr. S. Joseph had been representing Pembrokeshire County Council.

4.

MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES

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No matters were raised at the meeting.

5.

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE FROM PANEL MEMBERS TO THE COMMISSIONER

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5.1

QUESTION FROM MRS. HELEN THOMAS pdf icon PDF 131 KB

“ The Commissioner will be aware that on the 17th September the HMICFRS published a report highlighting the inconsistent approach of the police to tackling the issue of violence towards women and girls and  urging forces to prioritise the  issue. The report contained 5 recommendations to improve matters. Please can the Commissioner confirm what steps he will be taking to ensure Dyfed-Powys police fully implements the findings and recommendations of this report. How will he monitor progress over time to ensure that such implementation is maintained into the future.”

 

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“The Commissioner will be aware that on the 17th September the HMICFRS published a report highlighting the inconsistent approach of the police to tackling the issue of violence towards women and girls and urging forces to prioritise the issue. The report contained 5 recommendations to improve matters. Please can the Commissioner confirm what steps he will be taking to ensure Dyfed-Powys police fully implements the findings and recommendations of this report. How will he monitor progress over time to ensure that such implementation is maintained into the future.”

 

Response by the Commissioner:

“This inspection report comes at a time when violence against women and girls is nationally at the forefront of many discussions, and rightly so. I welcome the focus by HMCFRS on this matter at this stage, but we must acknowledge that violence against women and girls (VAWG) has been a priority for myself, Dyfed-Powys Police and policing in Wales for some time now. Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) remains a priority for Dyfed Powys as governed by my existing Police and Crime Plan, the Force Control Strategy and Chief Constable’s priorities. I can confirm that it will also feature strongly in my new Police and Crime Plan, soon to be published. I am in regular discussions with my Welsh Police and Crime Commissioner colleagues in relation to Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Abuse (VAWDASV) and how we can maximise our effectiveness in Wales. We have agreed to work with Welsh Government on a VAWDASV Blueprint for Wales. Together, we have also lobbied the Home Office with regards to a missed opportunity in the Policing Bill: As drafted, the Policing Bill does not explicitly include domestic violence and abuse and sexual violence and therefore misses the opportunity to increase the protection given to victims and survivors of these forms of violence and abuse. VAWG has long been a priority for the Criminal Justice Board in Wales, and features as a golden thread across all the priorities in the current work programme. In addition to this, victims of rape and sexual offence are a specific work stream within the victims and witness priority. My Local Criminal Justice Board delivery plan mirrors this and focuses on provision of remote evidence sites and court facilities for victims of VAWDASV. Dyfed-Powys Police continue to develop the Vulnerability Hub, which provides specialist support to officers dealing with domestic violence incidents and helps to improve the service to victims. Recent activity includes a grant-funded specialist role within the Hub to improve the management of domestic abuse perpetrators. Dyfed-Powys Police continue to make significant progress in reducing the number of investigations open for longer than 12 months. Dyfed-Powys Police’s End-to-End project continues to focus on putting victims at the heart of everything by understanding demand, improving processes and influencing culture to enable them to be efficient and effective. My office has recently secured additional funds of over £600,000 from the Ministry of Justice to increase the support for victims of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.1

5.2

QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR LES GEORGE pdf icon PDF 287 KB

“ In August 2021 the HMICFRS published a report which assessed the progress made by police forces nationally in implementing the recommendations from its 2019 report on the police response to Fraud. This new report highlights that not all of the original recommendations have been implemented and that not enough has changed. This new report therefore makes three further recommendations two of which are specifically directed at Chief Constables. Both of these recommendations should have been complied with by the time of this meeting. Can the Commissioner confirm that DyfedPowys has fully complied with all the recommendations in both reports that are applicable to it. How has the Commissioner satisfied himself that this indeed the case. How will the Commissioner continue to monitor progress by the force in this regard to ensure that it does not fail the victims of fraud in the future.”

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“In August 2021 the HMICFRS published a report which assessed the progress made by police forces nationally in implementing the recommendations from its 2019 report on the police response to Fraud. This new report highlights that not all of the original recommendations have been implemented and that not enough has changed. This new report therefore makes three further recommendations two of which are specifically directed at Chief Constables. Both of these recommendations should have been complied with by the time of this meeting. Can the Commissioner confirm that DyfedPowys has fully complied with all the recommendations in both reports that are applicable to it. How has the Commissioner satisfied himself that this indeed the case. How will the Commissioner continue to monitor progress by the force in this regard to ensure that it does not fail the victims of fraud in the future.”

 

Response by the Commissioner:

“Your question came in two parts which I will address as such:

 

1. ‘Can the Commissioner confirm that Dyfed-Powys has fully complied with all the recommendations in both reports that are applicable to it. How has the Commissioner satisfied himself that this indeed the case.

 

Following the publication of the HMICFRS report (Spotlight Report: A review of Fraud: Time to Choose. A Revisit of the 2018 Fraud Inspection) I requested direct feedback from the Force and the Economic Crime Team Manager in terms of the specific recommendations made and I am confident that as a Force we are not only meeting but exceeding the requirements.

The report referred to recommendations which HMICFRS still viewed as being outstanding following the original report published in 2019. The Dyfed Powys Police position in relation to the recommendations relevant to the police is as follows:

 

‘By 30 September 2019, chief constables should publish their force’s policy for responding to and investigating allegations of fraud (in relation to both calls for service and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau disseminations for enforcement).’

Dyfed-Powys force have completed this and the policy has been published.

 

‘By 30 September 2021, chief constables should make sure that their forces are following the guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council Coordinator for Economic Crime about fraud-related calls for service. ‘

 

‘By 31 October 2021, chief constables should adopt the guidance issued in September 2019 by the National Police Chiefs’ Council Coordinator for Economic Crime that was aimed at improving the information given to victims when reporting fraud.’

Dyfed-Powys undertook a review of their processes to ensure they are in compliance with the NPCC’s guidance. Current practices exceed these recommendations. However they are having to make minor process changes to ensure continued compliance and are liaising with IS&T to facilitate these changes. 

   

The report also raised 5 areas for improvement:

Area for Improvement 1

‘To make improvements in this area, chief constables should improve the way their force uses the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) monthly victim lists to identify and support vulnerable victims and others who require additional support.’

 

The NFIB  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.2

6.

QUESTION ON NOTICE TO THE PANEL FROM MR. HUISH pdf icon PDF 82 KB

“Commissioner, you are aware of the widespread allegations of fraud and corruption made against a number of High Street banks arising from past banking practices. From the victims perspective, Dyfed-Powys Police do not appear to be willing to investigate such allegations or lack the resources to do so adequately. Does the Commissioner agree that it is important that victims of such offences have faith in the ability of the police to investigate their complaints thoroughly? Given the Commissioner’s responsibility for supporting victims and bringing people to justice, will he support calls from victims of such frauds in the Dyfed-Powys area for an outside force with greater experience of such cases to be brought in to investigate these complaints? If he does not agree with bringing in an outside force, how will he support these victims?”

 

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“Commissioner, you are aware of the widespread allegations of fraud and corruption made against a number of High Street banks arising from past banking practices. From the victims perspective, Dyfed-Powys Police do not appear to be willing to investigate such allegations or lack the resources to do so adequately. Does the Commissioner agree that it is important that victims of such offences have faith in the ability of the police to investigate their complaints thoroughly? Given the Commissioner’s responsibility for supporting victims and bringing people to justice, will he support calls from victims of such frauds in the Dyfed-Powys area for an outside force with greater experience of such cases to be brought in to investigate these complaints? If he does not agree with bringing in an outside force, how will he support these victims?”

 

Response by the Commissioner:

“It is very important to me that all victims have faith in the ability of the police to investigate their complaints thoroughly. National campaigns are supporting these specific endeavours in relation to banking fraud, which are often supported by MPs. For example, there is an All Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking who have been lobbying the National Crime Agency and Serious Fraud Office to take an interest in these matters, including cases which are historical. Although it is not within my remit as Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to become involved in operational policing delivery, to investigate or to instruct the Force to investigate a particular case, I have and will continue to meet with victims, to listen to their experiences and understand any concerns and/or outstanding queries that they may have at the conclusion of a police investigation. On occasion this has resulted in my having discussions with the Chief Constable in relation to them undertaking further interests in these matters and reviewing actions taken to date. I am confident that Dyfed Powys Police have the relevant capabilities to consider all fraud allegations. Dyfed Powys Police are the only force in the country that actively encourage members of the public to report fraud directly to us and we then report to action fraud on their behalf, improving the quality of the report sent to action fraud. Additionally, during the early part of 2020, the Economic Crime Team (ECT) identified that the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) data does not accurately reflect the true scale of fraud. From 6th April 2020, the ECT have undertaken the management of all fraud and cybercrime incidents reported to the Force as a call for service - triaging the reports and engaging with victims at the earliest opportunity, in order to provide consistent subject matter expert advice, guidance and support and to ensure accurate reporting to Action Fraud (AF). In November 2020, the Force employed a full-time Fraud Triage Officer, working within the ECT to manage fraud calls for service, a post which my office has funded. I would further advise that the work being done by Dyfed Powys Force with vulnerable victims,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

POLICE AND CRIME PLAN pdf icon PDF 394 KB

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The Panel considered the draft ‘Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Plan 2021-2025’ which the Police and Crime Commissioner was required to publish in accordance with Section 7(1) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

The Police and Crime Commissioner introduced the draft Plan adding that any feedback from the Panel would be taken on board prior to its publication.

The following issues were raised:

·       In response to a query as to whether the Commissioner was referring to more officers ‘on the beat’ in the statement on p.3 that it was ‘essential that these resources are visible’ he responded that there would indeed be more officers visible and front-line response officers would have between 30%-40% more time to do more proactive patrolling and policing. The increased visibility also included community engagement;   

·       The Commissioner assured the Panel that the Force had strong and robust working partnerships across Wales;

·       Reference was made to the fact that some of the priorities listed in the draft Plan such as aspects related to the Criminal Justice System were likely to be beyond the Commissioner’s control. In response the Commissioner commented that an argument was being put forward nationally that Police Commissioners should have greater levers of power within the criminal justice system. He added, however, that in Wales the local criminal justice partnerships were very strong and he was confident that there would be improvements. He also emphasised the need to invest in prevention of crime and early interventions;

·       It was noted that the Chief Constable had given feedback on the draft Plan and there would be negotiation on the priority areas and their resourcing;

·       In response to a concern highlighted in the draft Plan that Dyfed-Powys Police had one of the highest rates of victims who withdraw from the criminal justice process the Commissioner expressed the hope that putting the victim at the centre of the criminal justice system and setting this as a priority would hopefully see the situation improve;

·       The Commissioner, in response to a query, was hopeful that operational changes currently being implemented would ensure that there was sufficient  police presence in rural areas;

·       In response to a query as to whether the Commissioner would be able to achieve Priority 3 in the draft Plan in view of the fact that he was reliant on other partners he acknowledged that his powers were limited but that he was in a position to instigate and advocate change particularly through his chairmanship of the Criminal Justice Board;

·       The Commissioner, in response to a comment, stated that he would be happy for the Panel to look into the effectiveness of his investment in youth services with a view to possible further improve of the service;

·       The Commissioner accepted that the reference to ‘Support the work of the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales’ could be expanded upon to clarify the nature of that support;

·       The Commissioner referred to action being taken by himself to reduce the carbon footprint;

·       The Commissioner acknowledged that with future challenging  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE COMMISSIONER pdf icon PDF 244 KB

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Minutes:

The Panel considered a report on decisions taken by the Commissioner during the period 23rd July 2021 to 18th October 2021.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

 

9.

PCC GRANT FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS pdf icon PDF 244 KB

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The Panel considered a report detailing arrangements made by the Police and Crime Commissioner for the administration and distribution of grant funding.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

10.

POLICING PROTOCOL – PERFORMANCE REPORT pdf icon PDF 311 KB

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The Panel received a report on the Commissioner’s performance for Quarter 2 2021/22 against the powers and duties set out in the Policing Protocol.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.