Agenda and minutes

Strategic Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 1st February 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room, Grafton House

Contact: Trisha Sutton  01473 432512

Items
No. Item

52.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M Goonan, J Riley and G Debman. 

53.

Unconfirmed Minutes of the Meeting held on 4 January 2018 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the minutes of the meeting held on 4 January 2018, be signed as a true record.

54.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

54.1    Councillor T Grant declared an interest in Item 5 – Annual Report on Police and Crime Matters as an employee of Suffolk Police.

55.

To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

that the Order of Business be as printed on the agenda.

56.

Annual Report of Crime & Police Matters

Minutes:

56.1    Superintendent Kerry Cutler (Area Commander for the Southern Area) presented this item and the Portfolio Holder for Community Protection and Customer Services, Councillor A Ross (Chair of the Community Safety Partnership) also attended for this item. 

 

56.2    Supt Cutler reported that she was responsible for the 2,035 Officers of the Southern Area and the demand on Police time had increased significantly over the last 2 years with emergency calls to the Police Control Room having increased by more than 14%.  Calls to the Ambulance Service could be downgraded if the Police were present as they were able to administer first aid and although the demand had increased, the response times of 15 minutes in urban areas and 20 minutes in rural areas remained positive. 

 

56.3    Incidents of ‘Hate Crime’ had increased but these were often linked to national events and the force was due to be inspected by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.  During a recent County profiling exercise, although knife crime offences had risen to 286 in the Southern area, this was below the current levels reported across the country and half of some forces reported levels.  15% of knife crime was related to a domestic setting and it was thought that self-protection fuelled these figures.  Successful engagement on prevention had taken place and was encouraged through the schools ‘Crucial Crew’ initiative and a future national Bin a Blade’ operation would commence on 12 February 2018.  It was confirmed that the sale of knives at car boot sales should be reported to Trading Standards.

 

56.4    The ‘County Lines’ supply of drugs by gangs, which had been acknowledged in 2014, had been successfully tackled by Operation Woven (youth gang violence) and Operation Volcanic (drug seizures), had now been combined into the countywide, multiagency Operation Velocity, to continue the positive enforcement activity undertaken so far.  Significant drug seizures had been made, closure orders given and the monitoring of both vehicles, vulnerable adults and young people would continue.

 

56.5    The crime category of ‘Hidden Harm’ encompassed sexual offences, internet based crime and domestic abuse with many cases remaining under reported and a wider understanding of coercion and control was required.  Body worn cameras helped with arrests and linked into actions from the Community Safety Partnership.

 

56.6    Although incidents of burglaries from dwellings had reduced and arrests had been made, the offence rate continued to be high.  Crime prevention work, especially to business premises users, would continue as damage caused was often solely in order to fund drugs.  All robberies in the Town Centre were reviewed in detail and followed up by the Safer Neighbourhood Team and there had been arrests, charges made and cases brought to Court.  

 

56.7    Examples of how rough sleeping and begging were being dealt with were given and how plain clothes officers and the street rangers had worked with store detectives in the Town Centre to combat shoplifting around Christmas.  The amount of missing persons (mainly teenagers) had increased and return interviews were undertaken  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

OS/17/20 Annual Portfolio Holder Update - Economic Development pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

57.1    Councillor Ellesmere as Portfolio Holder for Property and Economic Development gave a brief outline of commercial development in line with the delivery of the Corporate Plan priorities. 

 

57.2    He updated that with a development loan from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) the purchase of the former Malt House should be completed next month.  In respect of the Waterfront regeneration, two out of 3 sites had been purchased and with the possibility that the third area could be available, the area would be easier to develop.  It was the Council’s aspiration to build more houses, sites the Borough Council owned had been identified and the draft Economic Development Strategy had recently been published and would now be submitted to Executive for approval.

 

57.3    In relation to LI 429 – Ipswich Market: Total Income from Trader fees (£), this total would likely to remain under budget, as traders had been offered discounts for moving to the new location.  The contractors for the Cornhill build had been appointed and work had now started on the development project.  The Ipswich Town Centre and Waterfront Public Realm Strategy (SPD) was proceeding following the ‘Call for Ideas’ consultation and a list of improvements which would improve the surroundings would be circulated.  The market traders had moved to Princes Street following the development taking place on the Cornhill and to date no significant loss of trade had been reported.  The permanent site of Ipswich market would be considered further and Councillor Pope commended the publicity of the move of the market to Princes Street.      

 

57.4    In respect of land availability for new homes to be built, the amount of land required had not yet been identified and the search and acquisition would continue.  Discussion took place around budget overruns, dealing with longer projects to keep costs down and management experience and the Chief Executive assured the Committee that the corporate financial budget remained strong. 

 

57.5    Councillor Pope requested clarification about whether homes built outside the Council’s boundary would still be Ipswich Borough Homes and Councillor Ellesmere confirmed that should this happen then they would be part of that Authorities housing requirement and subject to their Right To Buy and nomination rights. 

 

57.6    Discussion took place about the Cornhill being developed by a local construction firm, the development potential of a site on Princes Street and that the increased demand for long term parking in Ipswich would be fully compliant with planning policy.  The Chair thanked Councillor Ellesmere for his attendance.         

58.

OS/17/21 Work Programme 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

58.1    The Chief Executive said that Highways England had agreed to attend the next Overview & Scrutiny Committee to discuss the concerns of Councillors from residents and from businesses in Ipswich losing custom due to the closure of the Orwell Bridge in recent high winds.   

 

58.2    Councillor Gage said that in her capacity as a Suffolk County Councillor she would be attending a Suffolk County Council meeting on 22 February 2018 at which Highways England had agreed to attend.  She encouraged Councillors to send any questions for Highways England to her which could be forwarded on to Highways England before the next Overview & Scrutiny Committee on 1 March 2018.

 

58.3    Councillor Gage suggested that a joint scrutiny meeting with Suffolk County Council could be held to consider any correlation between gang violence in Ipswich and gaps in the Youth Service.

 

            Resolved:

 

            that the Strategic Overview & Scrutiny Committee Work Programme, attached at report Ref No: OS/17/21, be agreed.