What did the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside spend money on in the 2020-21 financial year?
What did the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside spend money on in the 2020-21 financial year?
By John Brace (Editor) and Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)
First publication date: Friday 3rd September 2021, 9:31 PM (BST).
I’ll start this piece by pointing out that the expenditure detailed below by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside happened during the previous 2020-21 financial year when the Police and Crime Commissioner was Jane Kennedy. Since then a new Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Emily Spurrell was elected and sworn in.
What’s happening in the week ahead in local government (30/11/15 to 4/12/15)? (Wirral Council, Merseytravel, Merseyside Police and Crime Panel, House of Commons and House of Lords)
I thought it would be a good idea to restart a regular feature I used to do on this blog which was looking to the week ahead with a brief summary of what’s happening.
Wirral Council’s Families and Wellbeing Committee meets tomorrow (Tuesday 1st December) at 6.00pm at Wallasey Town Hall. There are no motions on the agenda but councillors will discuss the all age disability strategy and the day services local authority company called Wirral Evolutions.
On Thursday you are literally spoilt for choice for public meetings and if I wished I could probably spend all day filming them!
The Merseyside Police and Crime Panel meets starting at 10.00am in the Council Chamber in Huyton. On the agenda are updates on serious and organised crime, the appropriate adult scheme, sustaining excellence, a home office pilot for mental health nurses to be colocated in custody suites, a night-time levy consultation (the consultation has already finished but just applies to Liverpool and 70% of the levy on licenced premises will go the police for policing Liverpool’s night-time economy), proposals for future Chief Constable recruitment and other routine items.
Other than minutes and the co-option of Cllr Joan Lilly (who replaces the late Cllr Sharp), councillors will hear an update on smart ticketing, discuss the Merseytravel Fees and Charges Review for 2016/17 and a report on delivering an improved bus "offer".
On that last report I should also declare an interest as their current social media policy by my initial reading of the policy/report to councillors seemed to state that Wirral Council employees (unless they can prove some business need such as the press office) were prevented from accessing this blog, the associated Facebook Group, Twitter account and as mentioned in the report itself also video of public meetings of Wirral Council on Youtube. However a reader has left a helpful comment stating that this blog isn’t blocked which is useful information I am interested to know.
I’d better declare a financial interest as Youtube pays me a very small amount in royalties from videos I’ve filmed (and by small I mean £1.10p for October 2015). In fact Wirral Council blocks employees from watching its own Youtube channel.
If the new policy goes ahead, Wirral Council employees will be allowed to read this blog (after writing this a reader left a comment to say they already can despite this blog falling into the social media category) and the above sites that fall into the social media category in their breaks.
However Big Brother, sorry Wirral Council will be watching what they get up to, so who knows what red flags you’ll raise if you read this blog or Wirral Leaks or well something really subversive like Wirral Council’s Youtube channel!
So that’s the round up for the week, I used to also provide a quick overview of what’s happening this week local government wise in two more open and transparent public bodies the House of Commons/House of Lords which you can watch online.
This afternoon starting at 4.00pm the Communities and Local Government Select Committee will discuss the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill. The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill has implications for Merseyside over an elected Mayor in 2017 and the devolution changes that have already received a lot of press coverage. As I’ve seen at least one local government officer here in Merseyside refuse to answer politicians’ questions about the government’s side of what’s happening, this looks like an interesting opportunity to hear about what’s happening from another perspective.
Tomorrow starting at 9.25am, the Public Bill Committee will discuss the Housing and Planning Bill. At the same time (starting at 9.30am) the Education Select Committee will discuss Holocaust Education and in the afternoon starting at 3.00pm the Treasury Select Committee will ask questions of the Chancellor on the Comprehensive Spending Review (which is only partly related to local government). In the House of Lords a Select Committee will be discussing the built environment starting at 10 am.
On Wednesday morning starting at 8.55am the Second Delegated Legislation Committee will discuss the Draft Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Codes of Practice) (Revision of Code E) Order 2015. For those not familiar with police procedure Code E relates to the audio recording of interviews with suspects. Starting at 9.30am the Work and Pensions Select Committee will discuss the local welfare safety net, also at 9.30am the Education Select Committee will discuss regional school commissioners, the Treasury Select Committee will continue debating the Comprehensive Spending Review starting at 2.15pm and the Public Accounts Committee will discuss reform of the rail franchising programme.
Thursday sees more discussion of the Housing and Planning Bill by the Public Bill Committee in two sessions starting at 11.30am and 2.00pm. The House of Lords Select Committee will continue to discuss the built environment and hear from a former Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate.
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The first meeting of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee elected Councillor Dave Hanratty as Chair.
The other members of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee are:
Councillor Linda Maloney (Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) Councillor Leslie Byron (Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) Jane Kennedy (Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside) Sue Murphy (Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside)
Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens presented the report, as did Sir Jon Murphy (Chief Constable, Merseyside Police). Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens drew the Committee’s attention to the list of possible areas for shared services in the report at part 6. The areas detailed in the report are:
Vehicle Fleet Management
Communication and Marketing
He gave an example of shared working in the shared estates area as the Joint Control Centre in the building where the public meeting was being held. Dan Stephens highlighted the staffing implications in the report (section 16-17 on page 10). He stated, “Just to reassure members of the Committee that a Communications Strategy is being developed to ensure that all of our staff can be fully informed. As you can appreciate there will be a fair degree of interest in the work as it progresses.” Dan Stephens also referred to the legal implications, financial implications and other implications in sections 18-24 in the report.
Chief Constable Sir John Murphy added, “Everything that the Chief has just laid out there has been drawn up in complete collaboration with ourselves”.
Jane Kennedy, Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside said “That’s a good and comprehensive list of potential quick gains. For knowing what I know of the potential cliff edge that the Force is facing in terms of its funding and the particular threat in particular to community policing, for me B Ways of Working is absolutely crucial to the future benefit to the community of our two services working together. I can’t, my waking nightmare is the loss of what we currently know of as community style policing.
If we lose community policing altogether then there would still be neighbourhood policing, but we are, we are very close to that now. There is potential gain from us working very closely together with your people and the Force’s people on the ground in communities which I think is probably the greatest benefit.”
Councillor Hanratty (Chair) said that they needed to have conversations with the North West Ambulance Service to see “how they could work better together with them”. He suggested inviting the Chief Executive and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the North West Ambulance Service to a future meeting. Cllr Hanratty suggested that when they got to the last agenda item adjourning the meeting.
Jane Kennedy agreed with Councillor Hanratty but that it had taken her six months to get a meeting with North West Ambulance Service but, “I completely agree with what you’re saying David”.
Cllr Hanratty referred to both Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Merseyside Police’s independence. He commented that both organisations do “fantastic work”.
Chief Constable Sir John Murphy said, “Just to endorse what the Commissioner’s said there, the great strength of what we’re embarking on here is the MFRS [Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service] and Merseyside Police are under the same pressures, we share the same footprint and there’s a real joint will amongst the Chief Officer Teams and the people in this room to get things done.
Our experience with working with North West Ambulance and the North West is a problem to start with is that it’s not quite that straightforward and the experience of the JCC [Joint Control Centre] here and they’re in, they’re out, they’re in, they’re out, I would not like to see North West Ambulance Service get in the way of what we’re trying to achieve, but the principle of what you’re suggesting and the commenced approach towards that I agree.”
Councillor Leslie Byrom added, “I mean I agree with everything that’s been said, what we’re going to have in the next few months of business other than the budget stuff which is going to have a real major impact on how we’re going to plan for the future. This is the first step.
We’be got the overlay also that’s emerging of the Police Reform and Criminal Justice draft Bill. That mentions fire and police collaboration. It may mean that it’s more intended to affect non-metropolitan areas, there may be a separate solution anticipated for metropolitan areas but there is so much happening I think we are going to have to be fleet of foot for the next few months, adjourning this meeting is absolutely right.
Err, enabling us to call a meeting at you know legally short notice, errm and deal with changes that are being presented to us as they happen because you know we are on a bit of a roller coaster.
NWAS [North West Ambulance Service], obviously that’s another part, that’s another facet, another side of the entire blue light issue isn’t it? And I don’t think you know, I know we have difficulty sitting round and meeting with them, but actually I think we can’t leave that as an excuse can we?
We have to, they can not participate yes, but we have to be making the, giving leadership on this issue and showing that you know there is that overlay of blue light and the cross issues. Both the money and the way that they operate are quite different to us, I understand that, but we’re all in the area of public expenditure at this time.
So you know we just try our best with NWAS [North West Ambulance Service] to move things forward.”
The Chair thanked the officers for their work and referred to it as “a culture change for both of our organisations and the way they’ve worked together so far has been tremendous as well”
The recommendations contained within the report were agreed which are:
b. Instruct the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and Chief Constable (CC) to undertake a joint review of existing and potential opportunities for collaboration in line with the methodology detailed within the Guiding Principles.”
The Chair then agreed to adjourn the meeting, so that they could “call the meeting as and when required” but that the next meeting should be within the next couple of months.
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Reports of the Chief Constable 8 – Sustaining Excellence Program – Overview
The Chief Constable explained where they were up to and referred to the framework for savings and frontline resources. He said there was continuous improvement and the plan detailed how it would be taken forward. He asked if there were any questions? The Chair asked anyone if they had any questions?
It was mentioned how it had gone to the Finance and Audit Committee and how officers on the front line had increased from 85% to 88%.
The Chair commented that they had to plan for worse to come, as there was the Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn and that the Budget for 2013/2014 was only indicative. He said that public debt was still rising and he wondered if the Budget would be further cut in the next two years, the figures would come out in late October, but this issue would pass over to the Police and Crime Commissioner, but presented further challenges for the force.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent) asked if their staff were aware of what’s coming, how they were going to support this very painful moment and what support would they offer them with finding jobs?
A senior police officer answered that they were careful that staff were kept up to date and briefed. This was done through his team, Nicky and the intranet. He said that any questions were answered as quickly as possible, but it was a process with a decision phase in October/November. After this there would be the inevitable redeployment, which he said they “can’t make pain-free” but he “understands it’s a difficult time for people”.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent) asked if they got counselling or help if they were made redundant in finding a role in another organisation?
The answer given was that Scientiam were looking at what they provide.
The Chair said it was a long-standing principle and that they worked in a high stress environment. There were no further questions and the report was noted.
Reports of the Chief Constable Item 9 – Officers on Restricted and Recuperative Duties
The Chief Constable gave Members of the Police Authority an update on the current profile of the 370 officers on restrictive and recuperative duties. He outlined the assessment process and the effect of the 2012/2013 Budget on thirty leaving (who would be replaced by forty). The officers on restricted and recuperative duties did mid and back office functions, but he wanted to make sure nobody on restricted/recuperative duties was fit to do a frontline job.
At this point he was heckled by a union rep.
The Chief Constable referred to a table in the report and the cost. The Chair asked for any observations or comments?
Professor Zack-Williams (Independent) said it was an analytic paper but that he was confused with some of the categories, he asked about officers who stayed a long time on restricted duties regarding offences?
The Chief Constable answered that it was just officers who were injured or ill, not those on restricted duties because of professional standards.
Professor Zack-Williams pointed out it was not clear in the report.
The Chief Constable accepted that it wasn’t.
Professor Zack-Williams asked about the H1 process?
The Chief Constable said that they were referred to a medical practitioner to see if they were fit to leave on a medical pension. Those on restricted duties were either incapacitated or not on front facing duties while under investigation.
The Chair asked for observations.
A Member of the Police Authority asked if those nearing retirement were declaring they were long-term sick and the Member wondered whether they found this happens in the police service?
The Chief Constable said they were difficult issues, but that there were isolated cases where it happens. They were focused on it and said that unfortunately that these people got a doctor’s note.
The Chair mentioned processes where they were referred on and it was not just the case that a medical certificate was OK and that it is chased up.
A police officer referred to the work of the Performance Improvement Unit, out of ten officers, all had returned to work except two that had resigned. He pointed out that when people weren’t at work it left more work for the people left behind, which caused more problems as there was “less fat in the system”.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent) referred to John Martin and how impressed she was by the handle he had on it. She compared it to the private sector and explained that if there was leadership from the top then good practice filters down quickly.
The Chief Constable said he felt he spent far too much time visiting people with serious illnesses, such as people with cancer wondering why the Chief Constable was seeing them.
Prof Zack-Williams asked a further question.
The answer given was that the Occupational Health Unit and Human Resources had worked hard for twelve months, but a lead from the Chief Officers ensured consistency. The details were in the report, there were good signs that restricted and recuperative duties of police officers were reviewed and they were looking to apply it to police staff too.
The report was noted.
The Chair said there was no AOB and moved a motion to exclude the public from the final item on the meeting’s agenda (Strategic Options Project (Wave 2b) – Force Contact Centre Update) on the basis that it would result in information relating to an individual being revealed. He thanked the public for their attendance.
Reports of the Chief Constable Agenda Item 6 – Chief Constable’s Annual Report 2011-12
The Chief Constable, Jon Murphy, told Members of the Police Authority how the Chief Constable’s Annual Report was to be delivered. He said it was a “statutory requirement”, but that they had done everything they can to minimise the cost. The Chief Constable continued by saying that the community focus newsletter would go to 30,000 homes, supplemented by a corporate e-flyer and they should expect the e-flyers and newsletters distributed to the community at a cost of £860. He mentioned the “key corporate messages” and asked if anyone had any questions?
Professor Alf Zack-Williams (Independent) commented that he welcomed the report, but he suggested that they needed another set of pictures to indicate police activities over and above what they had here. He gave the example of diversionary activities and told people about his own son in the Beavers, where the guy organising it was a police officer. He thought it would be useful to have pictures illustrating this.
The Chief Constable said it was a useful observation and asked his officers if they were still in a position to do so?
The answer given by an officer to the Chief Constable was “No”. A discussion then took place between the Chief Constable and his officers. At the conclusion of the discussion the Chief Constable announced that they would consider it.
The Chair asked if anyone had any comments? No more were made, so the report was moved and noted.
The Chief Constable, Jon Murphy said that Crimestoppers had been adopted in 1994, 0800 555 111. He claimed that 100% of the calls were disseminated with 330 actionable calls. In addition to the phone, he advised that members of the public could contact them via text or the internet. The Chief Constable said that although calls were down 1%, the yield was up 41% with actions resulting from every 9.1 calls. He detailed the kinds of information provided, but wanted to make the point that they were getting increasingly high quality community intelligence from Neighbourhood Inspectors and PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) with regards to information on criminality. He was not concerned over a 1% decrease and mentioned a success story as an initiative with Tranmere Rovers FC had resulted in the Crimestoppers number being sent out with season tickets which “continues to be a success story for the Force”.
A Member of the Police Authority said the proactivity was welcome, with evidence of Merseyside Police going out and promoting the number. They mentioned the current hiatus with the current Chair of the Crimestoppers Board stepping down.
The Chief Constable said that Ian had come in to see him and he had been asked to find somebody interested and suitable, there would be a meeting with the Chief Constable and someone in the near future.
The Chair said that the representative on the Crimestoppers Board was one of the legacy issues that fed into the Transition Committee, he expressed the view that it was important that the linkage between the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Crimestoppers Board was not lost. He said it was an important role.
A Member of the Police Authority referred to the page 42 in reference to the Most Wanted figures and the table on page 47. The Member said that Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley have “quite a lot here” and did the Chief [Constable] have a comment? The Member said was it of some use but not as useful as other forces?
The Chief Constable said it had come up in discussions prior to the meeting. He asked if the figure for Hampshire, was because they never cancel it when they arrest someone? He said he didn’t know the answer, but wanted to make it clear. He explained that when they introduced Crimestoppers to Merseyside, they carried on using a different hotline number for murders whereas other forces just use Crimestoppers and link to the Most Wanted. He said it was “dangerous to read much into it”.
The Chair said that it does skew the figures quite a bit.
The Chief Constable said a pre meeting question had been whether Crimestopppers was just calls or whether it included texts? He said it was just telephone calls, with no text messages whatsoever and said that the vast majority use the telephone.
The Chair said there was no reason to use text, although landlines can send SMS, it was complicated and most people use mobiles.
The Chief Constable said a mobile phone could block its number being sent with the call, but the number couldn’t be blocked on a text.
Someone else said something about texts.
The Chief Constable said that a system exists.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent), referred to a radio program about Wonga money, where other people’s names had been used to gain £400, the police had been quoted that they won’t investigate anything under £500. She asked how many of the calls to Crimestoppers were finger-pointing, for example people ringing about their neighbours being a “pain in the neck”?
The Chief Constable said that when it was first introduced, it had been raised as a concern, but one in nine led to actions, the rest were often well-meaning but often contained information they knew already.
The Chair joked that Mrs Frances Street just wanted to know if anyone complained about her, he said information from Crimestoppers was one link in an evidence chain and that they could fill in gaps in the information.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent) said there was the potential for time-wasting.
The Chair said that when he was on the Board, there was the fear from the public as calls after 5pm were recorded, with the person phoned back the next day which had caused real ???. Then it was made anonymous, the flow rate improved and people had more confidence. With an increase in success levels, people were confident to speak as there were so many avenues, even community messaging could within an hour result in doors being kicked in. He said the confidence in communities was fantastic and that a bright spark was writing a song.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent) asked if was a rap?
The Chair said it was to make it more accessible to young people.
A Member of the Police Authority referred to page forty-nine and the information about firearm discharges. The Member said that they had one in the area, about which the public had a lot of concern Jon [referring to the Chief Constable], since then they had had a public meeting, however there had been a more recent firearm discharge that had made the front page of the [Liverpool] Echo, resulting in another public meeting to reassure people. The Member said that going back to June, there had been a more recent firearm discharge, with lots of work done by the police, they had arrested someone and found a firearm and there had been another public meeting, with a lot more recently. Although people these days buy and use upper parts for AR-15’s either to practice or for self-protection, but some people have another agenda in mind which is why now producing medical records are essential before one is allowed to purchase a gun.
The Chief Constable said he had been on leave, there was detailed Crimestoppers information, here to illustrate to Members and the public, other than Crimestoppers they received information through their own intelligence sources.
The Chair said the information would be included on the next report.
The Member said the worry is at the moment about firearms, people are concerned, especially when the same type of thing happens in the same area.
The Chief Constable understood people were concerned, he said they had made some “really good arrests last week” in the tit-for-tat shooting and that someone was in custody at the moment.
The Chair asked if there were any more questions? There weren’t any. He said the report was for noting, but he welcomed it and commended the work in reducing crime on Merseyside.
The Chair then moved the meeting onto agenda item 8 which was another report of the Chief Constable entitled Sustaining Excellence Programme – Overview.