Venue: Civic Suite, Gibson Building, Kings Hill, West Malling
Contact: Committee Services Email: email@example.com
Part 1 - Public
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Partnership Panel held on 16 November 2017
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 16 November 2017 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Update on action identified in the last Minutes
The Chairman referred to Minute Number PPP 17/7 (Parish Charter) and as the final version of the Parish Charter had been approved by Cabinet on 8 February 2018, it was formally signed by the Leader of the Borough Council (Councillor N Heslop) and the Chairman of the Kent Association of Local Councils (Tonbridge and Malling branch) (Patrick Thomas) on behalf of the parish councils.
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (Mr Matthew Scott)
- To set out future aspirations and priorities for Kent Police
- Opportunity to have dialogue with parish councils around policing issues
The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner (Mr Matthew Scott) set out future aspirations and priorities for Kent Police and advised of a number of new initiatives planned to recruit additional officers.
Members were reminded that the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) was an elected representative who set policing priorities for the county; created a Police and Crime Plan in consultation with the public; held Kent Police to account and had overall responsibility for the policing budget, including setting the council tax precept for policing. In addition, services for victims of crime were commissioned and community safety projects funded. The overarching guiding principles of the Police and Crime Plan was safer communities, ensuring people got the right care from the right people; protection of vulnerable people; putting victims first and tackling all forms of abuse and exploitation.
Particular reference was made to initiatives supporting vulnerable people and one of Mr Scott’s priorities was to make sure that those with mental health issues who came into contact with the police had access to the right support. Funding had been allocated within the commissioning budget to enable schemes or projects directly related to this priority to be supported.
Future priorities were summarised and included continuing discussion and liaison with communities, parish councils and the Kent Association of Local Councils, with visible and accessible policing remaining the primary focus.
Particular reference was made to the financial challenges around the policing budget which had resulted in a £12 increase to the police element of Council Tax. However, this increase represented a significant commitment and investment in neighbourhood policing as £1 per month funded 200 additional police officers. This also enabled a further 80 call operators to be recruited to improve the 999 and 101 call handling. Government funding for local policing remained unchanged and Mr Scott would continue to press and lobby for increased funding.
There was a commitment to maintain and protect Police Community Support Officer (PCSOs) numbers at 300; increase the size of rural and road policing and maintain a visible police presence.
In-depth discussion followed on a range of issues as summarised below:
Speeding on rural roads: Wouldham Parish Council asked whether it was possible to undertake ‘speed traps’ to enforce speed limits in the village and change road priorities. Mr Scott reiterated that road safety remained a policing priority and that many organisations could offer assistance. Acting Chief Inspector Martin advised that many options were available to address speeding on rural roads and parish councils were encouraged to contact Kent Police direct to discuss the Speed Watch initiative.
On-line reporting: In response to a query raised by Aylesford Parish Council, Mr Scott confirmed that on-line reporting of some offences was currently being piloted. Unfortunately, it was not possible to upload attachments, such as photographs, at the current time but this would be introduced in the future. However, if photographs were available individuals could be contacted by officers for further information.
Police Community Support Officers: Burham Parish Council thanked Mr Scott ... view the full minutes text for item PPP 18/3
Kent Police Services Update
Representatives of Kent Police to be present to address crime prevention issues, including those raised by the Panel.
As any significant items of business had been discussed as part of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner debate, Acting Chief Inspector Martin provided a brief update on current police operations and initiatives.
Particular reference was made to a spate of thefts from motor vehicles, primarily BMWs, in the Aylesford and Ditton area. This was part of a national crime series and media releases had been produced to encourage and offer crime prevention. Unfortunately, no perpetrators had yet been apprehended.
There had also been recent operations to tackle drug offences.
Acting Chief Inspector Martin emphasised that Tonbridge and Malling remained a low crime area and that Kent Police had a good working relationship with partners, especially the Borough Council.
- The current situation in respect of Public Space Protection Orders and the consequent position of parish councils with their Dog Control Orders
(Requested by the Kent Association of Local Councils)
The Kent Association of Local Councils requested further advice in respect of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) and the consequential position of parish councils with Dog Control Orders.
In response, the Head of Service for Licensing, Community Safety, Customer Services and Tonbridge Castle advised that a number of documents giving further guidance were available on the website, together with some Frequently Asked Questions.
A briefing paper had also been prepared which attempted to answer further questions raised and this would be circulated with the Minutes for information.
The current PSPO would end in April 2020 and in order to ensure continuity the process of reviewing its operation had already begun. It was reported that the Borough Council would start looking at evidence for either continuing the existing Order or whether any new provisions should be included to address recurring issues of anti-social behaviour.
The points to consider when gathering evidence for this process was to understand if there had been any continuous behaviours which were having an adverse effect on the quality of life of residents.
In addition, during 2018 the Borough Council would review how parish councils could provide evidence of breaches of existing PSPOs.
Particular reference was made to bye-laws and Dog Control Orders (DCO) and it was noted that where bye-laws were already in place these would remain. However, this was only to the extent that they regulated activities covered by the PSPO and the bye-law would be of no effect for the duration of the Order. From April 2020, existing bye-laws would come back into effect unless a further PSPO had been granted.
In summary, any existing Dog Control Orders had been superseded by the Public Spaces Protection Order so enforcement fell to the Borough Council.
The Head of Service reiterated that the Borough Council enforced PSPOs and if sufficient evidence was provided this would be progressed. A number of authorised officers within the authority were being trained on how to identify a breach of the PSPO and this would involve not only the current Enforcement Officers, but other officers who travelled around the borough during their day to day work. At the current time, it was difficult to predict the number of officers that would be used for enforcement.
In response to a question raised about using parish council volunteers, the Head of Service advised that an initiative to train and empower parish council representatives for the future could be considered as part of the ongoing review.
Members expressed frustration about enforcement of dog fouling and any support offered by the Borough Council was welcomed, although the pressure on already stretched resources was recognised. Specific issues would be raised and discussed at the next PSPO Review meeting. In the meantime, Members were reminded that Environmental Health Services could be contacted for advice and assistance.
Kings Hill Parish Council highly recommended contacting the Environmental Projects Co-Ordinator who had implemented a series of educational events, including ‘flag and bag’, which had been a great success.
- Information on the Borough Council’s budget preparations for 2018/19
The Cabinet Member for Finance, Innovation and Property presented the report of the Director of Finance and Transformation, which set out information on the Borough Council’s budget preparations for 2018/19.
It was reported that the Borough Council was due to see a further reduction in its Settlement Funding Assessment (SFA) cumulating into a decrease by 2018/19 of some 23% since the start of the 4 year settlement. Fortunately, the New Homes Bonus allocation for the year would be better than expected due to the exceptional delivery of new homes, so the additional funding over expectation negated some of the loss in the SFA.
Particular reference was made to the recent announcement of the Secretary of State that for shire district councils, a referendum would be triggered when council tax was increased by 3%, or more than 3% and more than £5. Proposals for setting the Borough Councils budget assumed that the option to levy a council tax increase of up to 3% would be taken up. This represented an increase of £5.91 per annum on last year’s council tax.
The continued need to deliver savings was reiterated and further detail was set out in paragraph 1.3 of the report. However, in summary it was anticipated that the focus for any potential future savings would be around the themes of ‘contracts’ and ‘service change and reduction’.
Parish Councils were advised that Full Council was due to meet on 20 February to set the Borough Council’s budget and council tax.
The Cabinet Member for Finance, Innovation and Property emphasised that the Borough Council’s financial position remained challenging, especially against a continuing reduction in Government funding.
[Subsequent to the meeting, Full Council on 20 February had agreed the proposals summarised at the Parish Partnership Panel and the full detail would be set out in the Council Minutes in due course].
Members noted the report of the Kent County Council Community Liaison Officer (Anne Charman), which set out details of a number of County initiatives and consultations.
All Kent County Council consultations could be viewed online at:
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Services Update
The Chairman, in his role as Leader of the Borough Council, advised that there were no significant issues to report that had not already been raised earlier in the meeting.
However, reference was made to a commitment made at a previous Parish Partnership Panel regarding the creation of a ‘directory’ that would provide information on points of contact for areas of relevance to parish councils, such as development control, licensing and street scene.
It was anticipated that a draft ‘directory’ would be circulated in advance of the next meeting (June 2018), either attached to these Minutes or as soon as possible thereafter, for comment.