Agenda item

Safer Bristol annual report


·         Consultant in Public Health with responsibility for the Council’s work within Safer Bristol Partnership introduced the report (details are in the published pack).


·         Officer stated that this is the final report of the Safer Bristol Partnership as Community Safety / Crime and Disorder will become part of the new Keeping Bristol Safe arrangements. 


·         It was confirmed that Commission Members will received a briefing on the new arrangements, and that Keeping Bristol Safe will be brought to the Commission in December, when there will be a joint session with the People Scrutiny Commission.


·         Chief Inspector Mark Runacres was also in attendance and spoke to the report on behalf of Superintendent Andy Bennet (Chair of Safer Bristol Partnership).



·         Chief Inspector clarified some key themes and areas of focus which are detailed in the report, including the increasing risk to young and vulnerable people being targeted by drug gangs; and that multi agency work is underway and ongoing by the Partnership to combat this issue. 


·         Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities welcomed the report, and made the following observations: 

Agreed with Chief Inspector, that the rise on recorded hate crime reports demonstrate communities have confidence to report due to the work of the Bristol Hate Crime & Discrimination Services.  The new Safer Options Team has been developed after a visit to the Violence Reduction Unit in Glasgow - an example of utilising good practice for Bristol. There is a need to report on the work of the counter extremism community development work being undertaken, and asked if future reporting can include this.

o   Officer response: Future reporting will be via the new arrangements within the Keeping Bristol Safe boards.  Views from this Scrutiny Commission will be fed in.


·         Member stated that co-location (referred to in the Street Intervention Service) is an excellent way of working. 

o   Chief Inspector stated that co-location has been a success – Independent Domestic Violence Advisorin hospitals for example.


·         Member raised example of Fire Engines displaying information about domestic violence and abuse and associated services.  It was agreed that this method of highlighting services and providing information is successful as there is low trust in Police but high trust in Fire and Rescue service – so people may take more notice.

o   Chief Inspector stated that this is a useful suggestion, especially within the context of the Police and Crime Commissioner having responsibility for fire services; and that there is a need to build awareness of domestic violence and abuse and available services. 


·         There was a discussion about knife crime, and Members asked whether the officers and Police fully support the public health approach.

o   Chief inspector stated that it is clear that traditional enforcement approach to tackle knife crime doesn’t work.  People taken off the streets can be and are usually easily replaced, and so adopting a more sustainable approach by dealing with behaviours is required, and the Police is committed to this approach.

o   Officer stated that Public health approach is an evidence based approach and officers are committed to working with other partners to tackle knife crime.


·         Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities stated that this is a joint effort and all partners are on board with a public health approach.


·         Discussion around the reduction in burglary (23.5%), which Member commended the Partnership on, and asked if there is a reason for this reduction. 

o   Chief Inspector stated that there isn’t a clear answer to this, but there are ongoing operations with the aim to further reduce burglary as well as drugs and knife crime.


·         A Member asked, within the context of the published substantial reduction in burglary, if there was any intelligence as to how drug users fund their habits. 

o   Chief Inspector response: Although no confirmed intelligence about this, it is clear there are more people presenting as street beggars, with a number having homes; and there is partnership-working to help address and manage these behaviours and divert these people to support services, via the Street Intervention Team.


·         Chair asked how the Partnership uses a multi-agency approach to tackle drug use and drug-related offending.

o   Chief Inspector responded that drug related deaths in the city is at its highest reported level and is a huge concern.  The drugs strategy in place includes enforcement, (targeting and disrupting) and education (including adopting drug testing – example of Loop providing testing and advice to people which reduced risk of drug misuse and deaths). 

o   Confirmed that Loop has applied for a licence from the Home Office to provide further testing and education for recreational drug users in Bristol; and that if the licence is granted the Police will work with Loop to deliver more opportunities.  This is about providing better education so people can make safer choices.

o   Officer stated that a multiagency substance use strategy is being developed that will include our joint city wide approach to tackling drug misuse and drug relating offending.


·         Member commended the report and stated that he hopes Loop’s licence application is successful.


·         The Chair asked if, in the new arrangements with Keeping Bristol Safe, there will be published targets and measurable outcomes the Commission can scrutinise in the future. 

o   Officer responded that the final annual report provides contextualised data, and, going forward, ambitions will be set enabling progress to be measured. 


·         Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities stated that the new arrangements will include the development of a drugs strategy with measurable outcomes.


·         Member referred to the preventing extremism section of the report and asked if there are resources in place to tackle right wing extremism. 

o   Chief Inspector response: There has been a shift in thinking and there is a focus on identifying extremism in all its forms, including right wing.  The framework on how to respond remains the same.

o   Officer response: There is a role to expand a community approach to tackling right wing extremism, building community partnerships and coalitions to work together to tackle extremism. 


·         Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities highlighted the community development work to help tackle extremism. 


·         The Chair stated that the report shows things are improving, although it does not show people’s perceptions of crime, community safety, and anti-social behaviour, which may not reflect the published statistics.  Can the report reflect perceptions in future?

o   Officer responded that this can be included, and that future reports of the Community Safety Partnership will reflect the new Keeping Bristol Safe arrangements.


·         There was a discussion about whether the information about fly-tipping should be in the report, as although there is a connection with the work of the Partnership, this information is available elsewhere (including BCC’s Neighbourhood Enforcement) and so may be duplication; although another view was that the information is important as it is measure of people’s views and anxieties about crime, safety and anti-social behaviour in their areas.   


·         The Chair thanked Officers and the Chief Inspector for the report, stating that it is provocative in some places.


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