Paul Brannan, Head of Safer Barnsley, Mark Miller, Community Safety Team Leader, Sergeant Ian Bailey and Inspector Andrew Norton were welcomed to the meeting to provide an update on the new arrangements for the Safer Neighbourhood Service.
The Service was designed to combine a those involved in providing community safety. The structure included four geographically based Locality Teams co-terminus with Area Councils. A central hub also featured where triage of issues takes place, and which also provided a more wraparound service which included consideration of traveller liaison, hate crime, and mental health.
Members noted that the co-location allowed for closer working, with more joint planning, and the ability to hold each other to account.
Those present heard how each Locality Team contained 1 Police Sergeant, 4 Police Constables, and up to 16 Police Community Support Officers. In the structure Community Safety Subgroups would remain, as would Police and Communities Together (PACT), and Multi-Agency Action Groups (MAAG), with the latter being reinvigorated.
Members heard a number of anonymised case studies, which served to highlight how the teams were successfully working together to address issues more thoroughly, in order to reduce the numbers of repeat calls and therefore the demand on services. The approach worked by identifying and prioritising risks and working to reduce them, through a joint approach with wraparound support.
The underlying principle of the service was to manage demand more effectively, with the right public services being deployed at the right time in the right place. It was hoped that this would reduce ongoing demands, and avoid escalation to more intensive and costly services.
Questions were asked as to whether repeat callers were still prosecuted for wasting Police time. It was noted that practice was still used, but also Criminal Behaviour Orders could also be issued with practical positive steps to try to address underlying issues.
Members questioned the progress on addressing rural crime in the area. It was noted that work was happening in a number of areas, sharing information with partners in neighbouring authorities, issuing crime prevention advice and working with teams who focus on travelling criminals. It was agreed that feedback would be provided to Councillors at the appropriate time, mindful of sensitivities.
Members noted plans to further include volunteers in community safety work within the locality, with many already having expressed an interest, and it was agreed to give feedback on proposals and involve Members in these discussion once a number of logistical issues had been dealt with.
The importance of feedback to the public, and engagement was noted, as was the link between this and public perception. Members heard how it was the intention to produce a local newsletter, accessible to readers and without jargon, highlighting successes and challenges in the locality.
Questions were raised about how performance and success would be measured. The difficulties in measuring areas such as prevention were acknowledged, but it was noted that a robust performance framework was in place, managed through the Safer Barnsley Partnership and its delivery partnerships. Success could also be measured through considering the maturity of the model, demonstrating the impact of wider collaboration, and through tangible case studies. It was suggested that the team could be invited to a future meeting of the Area Council to consider performance and highlight progress made.
The meeting discusses the Police Station located in Penistone, and it was acknowledged that a presence was required in the area; however the Force was looking at refreshing its estate strategy. Suggestions were made that increasing co-location of complementary services could have performance benefits in addition to being financially advantageous. However, it was also acknowledged that officers were increasingly out of the office, working within the community they served.
Members welcomed the Service in the area, praising the work undertaken to date. The benefits of closer collaboration were acknowledged, as was the ability for partners to hold each other to account.
(i) That members of the Safer Neighbourhood Service be thanked for their attendance;
(ii) That officers be invited to a future meeting of the Area Council to consider the performance of the service after 6-12 months.