Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Office. View directions
Contact: Christine Rothwell 01302 735682
Apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest, if any.
Challenge it, Report it and Stop it is the Government’s Strategy to address hate crime.
I am therefore grateful to the Deputy Mayor for recently acknowledging the significant harm to the equalities agenda in Doncaster.
This Scrutiny Panel is today looking at crime figures including 92 Hate Crimes for the reported 12 months.
And whilst I have no idea whether the figures are accurate or not, I would welcome clarity on what hate crime definition is being used, how many of the 92 hate crimes resulted in an arrest and/or charge and how have victims and BME citizens been involved in the evaluation of reporting centres and improving hate crime outcomes in Doncaster.
Taken at face value Cllr Jones comments regarding the stated significant harm to the equalities agenda could be seen to undermine not only vulnerable groups confidence in reporting hate crime but also cast doubt on the integrity of the partnership arrangements in Doncaster.
It is my understanding:
A hate crime is defined as “any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic”.
The stated significant harm to the equalities agenda in Doncaster is to be frank a euphemism for racial abuse. The well documented cuts to services and support appeared to be based on racial characteristics and continues today.
At the time as now only a few people have stood up and challenged it and tried to understand how this impacts on people's lives and the governance of the public authorities in Doncaster.
It is my understanding that misconduct in public office is an offence.
Concerns about the inciting of racial hatred which are reflected in the Audit Commission Report 2010 para 87 were similarly down played by those with the power to perpetuate institutionalised racism and racial inequalities in Doncaster.
Through a protracted FOI process we learn that important equalities briefing notes were kept away from the then democratically elected Mayor of Doncaster and the decision making process.
To this day, black and minority ethnic citizens are being denied proportionate and meaningful opportunities to participate in the policing and community safety issues that impact on their lives: These include
Police and Crime Plan
Honour Base Violence
Stop and Search
Victims of hate crimes are excluded from influencing where reporting centres are located and evaluated.
Ideas are put forward and then ignored, including the promised feedback from the meeting which was held to discuss people's concern regarding the BME cuts and the alleged inciting of racial hatred.
Chair , you may recall attending this meeting. It was the one I was asked by DMBC to Co chair. I did so in good faith whilst expecting that DMBC would have the decency to provide some feedback and information regarding what they were to do to address the significant harm to the equalities agenda.
Hence, the figures on hate crime ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
The Chair thanked Mr Brown for his statement and explained that it would be taken into account during discussion the item on the agenda at the meeting.
The Panel gave consideration to the Crime and Disorder update, which fell into four categories, as follows:
· Local Policing Team and impact
· Safer and Stronger Doncaster Partnership priorities
· New Psychoactive Substances (NPS/Legal Highs)
Doncaster’s Local Policing Teams (LPT)
Superintendent Thomas gave the Panel an overview of the Doncaster LPT, stating that it was the first district to move to the new structure, which coincided with the formation of Force Crime Units, but it was noted that the Command Team at Doncaster remained unchanged in structure. The most significant change was the merging of Response and Safer Neighbourhood Teams. He also highlighted:
· Reduction in PCSOs had achieved the 2017 required level with 14 in the East, 17 in the West and 18 in Central, working on both a daytime and evening shifts;
· Visibility and Engagement through PACT, Neighbourhood Inspectors and Managers, use of ASB legislation and combined patrols of the town centre by NRT and PCSOs;
· Additional Police Teams in Doncaster for example, Performance Crime Team, Airport Team and Prison Investigation Team;
Members considered the following issues:
Monitoring of PCSOs – at a recent community meeting that Members had attended, concern was expressed that morale seemed to be low within the PCSO workforce. It was noted that PCSO’s had recently been faced with redundancy and this may be account for their current feelings. The position was noted and would be addressed by South Yorkshire Police.
Superintendent Thomas explained that South Yorkshire Police did not have the resources to now attend every meeting in wards and parishes, but would concentrate the Inspectors and Neighbourhood Managers attendance at PACT meetings. It was stressed that the Police would always attend meeting that they were statutorily obliged to attend. He reminded the Panel that he had designed the new structure to deliver neighbourhood policing, which he was keen to protect, but Members must note that a Police Officer or PCSO would no longer be visible on every street corner.
Neighbourhood Response Team powers – Members recognised that PCSOs were not warranted officers but were of the opinion that more powers would make a significant difference. PCSOs were provided with as many powers as possible, but anything additional to existing had to be devolved by the Chief Superintendent and Central Government consideration. It was highlighted by Members that confiscation powers would be useful. It was noted that the Neighbourhood Response Team was a very proactive team, was able to use the Police radio airways and was intelligence led. Whenever a PCSO was provided with information it was fed centrally to ensure resources were deployed into the right place and at the right time.
Is crime worth reporting – this was a message that communities were giving to Councillors, as they were of the opinion that nothing reported was receiving attention. Concern was expressed particularly with regard to hate ... view the full minutes text for item 4.