LSP Funding - Safer Neighbourhoods Vehicles (Agenda Item 7)
To receive a briefing paper from the Local Strategic Partnership Officer.
The Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) Officer introduced Chief Inspector Carl Edwards, who had been invited to talk to members about the use of the Safer Neighbourhood Vehicles.
The LSP Officer presented the report and outlined the background as to how the LSP was funded. The Norfolk County Council received the income from Second Homes Council Tax from the seven Norfolk District Councils each year. Half of this income was set aside for use by the relevant District LSP, a further 25% was set aside for affordable housing projects and 25% was retained by the Norfolk County Strategic Partnership.
The Breckland LSP received approximately £70,000 income per annum from Second Homes Council Tax funding, which had to be spent on the delivery of the Community Plan for Breckland. In Breckland, this funding had been used to fund the LSP Development Officer post on a two-year fixed term contract. Over the last year, more than £91,000 had been committed to project funding, including some £22,325 funding for the five Safer Neighbourhood Vehicles. Currently, the LSP had £108,435 funding which was not yet committed.
All decisions on LSP funding were made by the LSP Board, whose membership included Breckland’s Leader and Chief Executive.
Chief Inspector Edwards then outlined the background to the Safer Neighbourhood Vehicles scheme.
Five vehicles had been funded by the Breckland LSP as part of the delivery of the Government’s Safer Neighbourhoods initiative aimed at providing dedicated, visible, accessible and responsive neighbourhood policing through police and partnership agency teams. The vehicles were leased on a three year full maintenance contract. Insurance and petrol costs were met by Norfolk Constabulary. The vehicles were not liveried police cars but were clearly branded with the Partnership logos.
The District had five Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) and one vehicle was provided for each team for use by any of the agencies or officers within that team.
While there was a strong police input, the cornerstone of the approach was the involvement of all relevant partners in addressing issues of local concern identified by local communities.
The vehicles enabled access to rural communities, which was crucial to the success of Safer Neighbourhoods. At present, police and partners were using the vehicles to access the priority areas identified through Community Action Group meetings in order to deliver necessary interventions, such as targeting rogue traders, burglaries, fly tipping, road-side car selling, working with community safety and licensing officers to target anti-social behaviour and disorder.
Many of these outcomes directly related to national performance targets under Best Value.
Working within an SNT had the benefit of providing individuals from the partner agencies with added security and reassurance when dealing with potentially problematic situations, avoiding the need for them to take their private vehicle to an area where it might subsequently be recognised or identified.
The vehicle scheme was governed by a written protocol as to the operation of the vehicles and quarterly monitoring returns. A copy of the protocol was tabled at the meeting for members’ information.
A member commented that she felt that the scheme should be fully funded by the Police. In response, it was pointed out that Police Community Support Officers were centrally funded but there was no central funding for the support infrastructure. LSP funding was a separate stream available to all partners, including the police.
It was further explained that while Breckland acted as the Accountable body for the Breckland LSP, the LSP Board was responsible for funding decisions and the Community Plan for Breckland. The Safer Neighbourhoods Vehicles scheme was not considered to be direct funding for the Police and the use of the vehicles by the various partner agencies was being monitored.
Members welcomed the report and there was general support for the scheme, which it was felt was meeting the public desire for safer communities.
Following some further questioning, it was noted that the Police had committed to bear ongoing revenue costs of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams and that the funding from second homes council tax could be used to lever down additional funding from other match funding sources to support projects.
The officers were thanked for their report and it was
RESOLVED that the report be noted.