- Welcome and introductions
PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)
Helen King (HK)
Paul Fell (PF)
Louise Sheridan (LS)
CC Nick Adderley (NA)
T/ACC Ash Tuckley (AT)
ACO Paul Bullen (PB)
Colleen Rattigan (CR)
Vaughan Ashcroft (VA)
Sarah Crampton (SC)
SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Apologies were accepted from Nicci Marzec.
- Previous minutes and action log
- Minutes of previous meeting were circulated with the meeting papers. No changes have been requested.
- Outstanding actions from the Action Log have been updated.
- Budget Requirements 2023/2024
The Commissioner requests a paper in relation to the final budget requirements and settlement for Northamptonshire Police for the financial year 2023/2024 to include treasury management and reserves strategies.
- VA provided an overview of the revised Final 2023/24 Force budget requirement.
- VA advised that the revised report has incorporated the new investments discussed in December and includes the funding settlement which was announced on 14th December 2022.
- The announced funding settlement was slightly higher than expected by around £0.5m on core grants and potentially £1.3m through additional precept flexibility. However, £2.6m is ring fenced for uplift numbers to be maintained.
- The revised MTFP, incorporating latest funding assumptions, investments and savings confirms that whilst the 23/24 budget is balanced with achievable savings assumptions, there remains a significant challenge from 2024/25 with a £2m deficit currently predicted and deficits in future years, even with efficiencies.
- VA confirmed that whilst we have some clarity on 23/24 funding, there are many uncertainties on the national and local funding into the future, and on inflationary pressures and pay awards. This position will be kept under regular review.
The Commissioner confirmed his support for the £946k additional investment agreed at the December meeting but also clarified that an additional £50,000 has been earmarked for the Facial Recognition pilot proof of concept if required. This increases the agreed investments to £996K.
The Commissioner advised that it was essential that investment spending took place in line with the request as in previous years, investments had slipped into future years and funding had been committed at an earlier stage than it needed to be.
- This was noted.
- VA confirmed that the budget considers all known inflationary pressures, which are considerably more impactive than previous years and subject to significant fluctuation. This is being closely monitored.
- Inflationary pressures were discussed along with key assumptions
- The Force has worked hard to scrutinise all financial pressures and have reviewed and challenged the draft budgets on a number of occasions, and in detail. This has resulted in the Force seeking an increase in the cash limit, but much of this relates to unavoidable pressures, higher inflation and known areas of growth
- The budget for Police Officers reflects the Commissioners precept commitment to sustain a target strength of 1,501 FTE from April 2023. Current projections are such that the target will have been exceeded and there will be 1,535 FTE on 1st April 2023, gradually reducing to no lower than 1,501 FTE throughout the year.
- A revision has also been made to reflect the PCSO pay award – assumption on full establishment and includes the back pay from the revised police staff settlement.
- Not included is potential additional funding that is available if the Force over recruit on their uplift target. Offered extra £20k one off payment for any officer recruit over and above the target. As a result, an additional 47 officers are expected to start their basic training in the next 2 months. HO confirmation of funding is awaited.
- Regional budgets are still undecided but are based on the inflationary growth projection presented at the Regional CFO and PCC/CC meetings less a mid-case savings assumption.
- Final regional budgets will be approved via the Regional PCC/CC Board.
- The Chief Constable advised that there is currently a review being undertaken on NPCC budgets across the country and a requirement for them to reduce reserves on these to 5%.
- It is anticipated that this may lead to a reduction in charges from the NPCC however this will only be a one year saving.
Action – HK agreed to send a note to Roger Hirst (Essex PFCC) who is the PCC finance lead on the NPCC to establish a timeline and estimate of the likely saving.
- There have been no changes to the Capital programme since the last meeting.
- In 2022/23 the Force was set a cash savings target of £376k and an overall efficiency savings target of £1.43m.
- There was a discussion on buildings and the rising costs of rent, rates and utilities.
- The Commissioner sought reassurance that the Force estate is being continually reviewed.
- The Chief Constable confirmed that there is an operationally informed plan.
- Good progress is being achieving in efficiency savings, particularly in relation to Commercial and D&T activity. The Commercial team have delivered £437k of savings as at September 2022 and D&T have delivered £498k.
- In addition to efficiency savings, the Commissioner was keen to explore any further opportunity to generate income by the Commercial team
- HK advised that the final tax base is assumed from committee papers but the collection fund surplus/deficit for the North is unknown (the West is estimated within the papers). This will be finalised in mid/late January by the councils.
- As in previous years, any variances will be managed through reserves and any surplus would replenish the agreed reserves drawdowns for investment.
- During covid, the tax base went down and there was no surplus. A grant was provided by the Home Office to meet deficits which could be spread over 3 years and the last of that is included in the 2023/24 budget.
- The Commissioner formally thanked Vaughan and his team for the good work done to deliver the 2023/24 budget.
- The final budget proposed for Northamptonshire Police for 2023/2024 budget was approved subject to final precept decisions by the Commissioner.
The Commissioner thanked the finance teams for the significant work that had been completed to get to the point where, in such challenging circumstances, a balanced budget proposal was presented and which he accepted.
Having supported a number of investment proposals, the Commissioner made it clear to the Chief Constable that he expected these to be put into place at pace particularly given that they had been presented as areas of risk. He also made the point that he would be seeking regular progress updates in relation to these, via the accountability board process.
The Commissioner was assured in relation to progress on police officer recruitment.
The proposed budget as presented in the paper was approved and agreed in principle subject to precept considerations by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel in February 2023.
- Performance update
The Chief Constable has adopted a suite of performance measures and targets relating to Force Matters of Priority (KPQ and KPI) for 2022/2023
The Commissioner requests a presentation/report that shows performance against these measures and targets to this point.
- Sarah Crampton provided an overview of performance.
- Calls for service remain exceptionally high with the Force Control Room receiving an average of 377 999 emergency calls a day.
- There has been lots of proactivity resulting in a higher rate of arrest.
- Positive outcome rates remain high, in comparison with other Forces.
- On drug harm, improved effectiveness in interventions continue and are more likely to have a major or moderate impact than in the past, the organised crime groups and suppliers subject to them
- Work to dismantle County Lines continues; A week of intensive action in November resulted in 18 people being arrested, 8 search warrants being executed across the County and 3 High Risk County Lines dismantled.
- On crime and disorder for communities, SC advised that overall ASB demand is falling, as well as repeat callers.
- Neighbourhood crime is well below pre Covid levels but is 8.1% above the 2021/22 baseline due to increases in residential burglary and vehicle crime in May, September and October.
- These are now back to average levels after key nominals were apprehended.
- The Commissioner was keen to know what is being done to manage crime at a local level using QLIK data.
- AT confirmed that they have ‘Beat stats and a QLIK App is available. He agreed to send the locally identified priority information to the Commissioner adding that they very rarely get long term spikes in any particular crime. The NPT very quickly identify the people responsible and reduce it.
Action – AT to send local priority information to SM.
- There was a discussion about Serious Organised Crime (SOC) and in particular Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) particularly those flagged as having a firearms risk.
- AT confirmed rigorous processes are in place to reduce risk of those known to have or have access to firearms with very good interventions in place.
- There was a discussion on cyber flagged crime.
- Positive outcomes are slightly down in the last quarter, but offences are due to higher levels of stalking/harassment offences.
- Domestic Abuse (DA) levels are stable over the last 12 months despite a recent increase during the winter months.
- On DA arrest rates the national average is 27.7%. The Force was previously an outlier but is now a leader with an arrest rate of 37.9%.
- The Commissioner asked for more information on reoffending rates to better understand if the increase arrest rate was having a positive impact for victims.
- SC did not have this information to hand but agreed to provide it.
Action – SC to provide a breakdown of DA arrest rates so that he can better understand how many of these are repeat offenders.
- There was a discussion about Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
- The most recent data shows a doubling of interventions during the NTE period particularly in Northampton. These are mainly by Op KAYAK staff which is positive news.
- Op Kayak NTE patrols will likely continue to contribute to reducing repat sexual assault victimisation.
- For victims of DA, rape and other sexual assaults the force is seeing improving national performance in overall positive outcomes and includes the areas within VAWG.
- Recent performance up to December ranks the Force 5th nationally.
- Despite the challenges with courts, the Force is securing convictions for VAWG victims, but more can still be achieved as and when court back logs reduce.
- ADR knife crime is reducing but is still above the national average.
- A discussion took place in relation to increases in robbery SC advised that HO counting rules have changed so it is difficult to compare against historic data. For example, if a person commits a robbery in a room with 10 people in it, that would now be recorded as 10 robberies. Five years ago, that would have been recorded a one robbery.
- The Force are seeing a year-on-year reduction on significant knife usage but again, it is difficult to compare Forces and you would have to dig into the detail to do so. For example, two similar forces might have 50 ADR offences recorded but one could have 40 stabbings the other could have just two stabbings.
- Only 1.4% of all knife crime nationally takes place in Northants.
- The Force remains good at identifying suspects for knife crime offences with 3 in 4 knife crimes resulting is a suspect being identified.
- There is a stable volume of repeat perpetrators but 5% fewer perpetrators overall.
- In the last 12 months there were 220 repeat perpetrators from a cohort of 1043 overall.
- Young people under the age of 18 years account for the biggest number of repeat offenders (81 versus 69 a year ago). Repeat rates have also increased in this cohort from 27.2% to 30.6%.
- As a result, they are subject to significant focus at local tasking and Op Sceptre management.
- There is also a Knife crime nominal matrix and an Observatory QLIK app to disrupt and deter them.
- There was a discussion about Serious Violence Duty
- The Serious Violence Duty will require local authorities, the police, fire and rescue authorities, specified criminal justice agencies and health authorities to work together to formulate an evidence-based analysis of the problems associated with serious violence in a local area, and then produce and implement a strategy detailing how they will respond to those particular issues.
- PF stated that a part of this process will require those specified authorities to define what SV is in Northants and come up with an action plan to deal with it.
- A small amount of funding has been provided to April 2022 as part of the initial 3-year programme and this will be used to fund a FIB analyst to profile.
The Commissioner considered the report and presentation that accompanied it.
He recognised and welcomed the progress that was being made in many areas by the Force in terms of its performance but highlighted that a number of key performance indicators within the Chief Constables Matters of Priority that are not being met at this time.
He invited the Chief Constable to consider whether, his Matters of Priority which cover a three-year period, ought to have a KPI that relates to outcomes at the end of that period. The Chief Constable should be able to demonstrate ongoing progress towards them rather than a series of yearly targets.
The Commissioner specifically sought additional assurances from the Chief Constable on the progress for his Matter of Priority relating to serious violence.
- Strategic Outcomes Letter update
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner agreed a strategic outcomes requirements letter with the Chief Constable as part of the budget setting process for 2022/2023
The Commissioner requires a report outlining progress, to this point in implementation and progress of the matters agreed in this letter.
- Colleen Rattigan presented the key highlights from the paper provided for the Accountability Board, which was taken as read.
- New governance structures have embedded well following the last update to ensure leaders are driving activity aligned with KPIs.
- The Commissioner stated his ambition that the Force’s performance should be in the top third of Forces nationally.
- Accepting this would be a huge achievement considering the size of the Force and its resource, it should at least aim to be in the top half but do the things that matter really well.
- There was a discussion on Prevention and Diversion activities – a Partnership Panel has been introduced to better match young offenders with partnership and police services to prevent further offending.
- The Commissioner asked if the Force had a repeat victimisation strategy.
- AT confirmed that it did not, but the aim is that all victims will get a similar service.
- AT also advised that in the FCR they hold a Repeat Caller meeting to identify any issues that made need a specific intervention.
- In addition, Local Policing is working closely with Crime and Justice to prioritise reducing repeat victimisation specifically in relation to domestic abuse (DA) targeting high and medium risk offenders.
- Arrest rates for DA offences are strong with 82.45% for high-risk victims and 50.36% for medium risk victims.
- There was a discussion about overall performance in the North versus West LPAs
- AT advised that the West charge more offenders and the North have a higher use of Community Resolutions.
- The Commissioner would like to understand the 20% differential and if there was any evidence that one outcome was better than the other.
Action – AT to provide Commissioner with an analysis on reoffending rates based on offender arrest versus community resolution
- There was a discussion on innovative solutions to DA.
- The OPFCC has recently provided investment in rapid video response capability allowing video attendance to low-risk DA incidents.
- This innovation has the potential to save a huge amount of officer time whilst maintaining a good quality service.
- It will be important to monitor what impact this has on outcomes. (High-risk versus low-risk DA – Different approach to attendance Both getting quality but different approach to High risk versus low-risk DA incidents).
- There was a discussion about Neighbourhood Alert.
- PF provided clarification that the OPFCC own the contract for the system, but the Force use it and it is for them to optimise its operational use.
- There was a discussion on response times with the Force maintaining an improving performance overall.
- The downward trend in weekly median response times shows officers are attending incidents more quickly than before.
- Given previous discussions on response times, the Commissioner asked the Chief Constable if the downward trend is now embedded and will continue.
- The Chief Constable responded that he believed that it was but cautioned that whilst it is important to get to a call quickly, officers need to provide a good service when they get there, adding that he could improve response times further but that would likely be at the detriment of the work done to assess and gather evidence at the scene.
- There was a discussion about positive outcome rates.
- Positive outcomes for Northants Police remain strong.
- Throughout the last 6 months the Force has been the best performing nationally several times.
- The current position remains at 14%.
- Informal Out of Court Disposals have increased to 18% which is the 6th highest nationally.
- Charges make up over half of all positive outcomes – currently 8.1% with the national average being 7.4%.
- The Chief Constable added that properly recorded crimes and thorough investigative practices are key. When you add in detectability factors, i.e. screen out the ones that could never be detected (no evidence and no witnesses) outcomes would double to 28% for example.
- PF commented that from a complaints perspective, a significant number of those that related to investigative standards are as a consequence of NFA following the expiration of statutory time limits.
- The Chief Constable agreed to review crime types and investigations with time limits.
Action – NA to review crime types and investigations with time limits.
- On crime recording, CR advised that this remains strong and there will be another audit in March.
- Overall, a number of the metrics in the strategic outcome requirement are on track.
- There was a discussion about a Multi-agency Public Safety Officer roles.
- PB advised that this is a conversation that needs to be had between the Commissioner, the Chief Constable and the Chief Fire Officer.
- AT agreed to pull together a team to look at an action plan for what can tactically do together to make a difference once this meeting has taken place.
Action – AT pull together a team to look at an action plan for what both Services can tactically do together to make a difference.
The Commissioner was assured that the majority of the requirements and conditions as outlined in this year’s Strategic Outcomes Requirements Letter were being achieved.
- No further business was raised.