Agenda item

The Committee will receive an update on the Safer Buckinghamshire Plan which was agreed at Cabinet on 8 September 2020.


Buckinghamshire Council is a statutory member of the Safer Buckinghamshire Board which is the statutory Community Safety Partnership  for Buckinghamshire. A key responsibility of the Safer Buckinghamshire Board is to maintain the Community Safety Plan for Buckinghamshire, based upon the strategic assessment of crime and community safety in the County, public engagement and other insight into crime and the causes of crime in Buckinghamshire. This Plan will help inform the Work Programme of this Select Committee.



Gareth Williams – Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health

Rebecca Carley – Communities Engagement and Safety Manager



Cabinet report and Safer Buckinghamshire Plan


The Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health introduced the report and stated that the Safer Buckinghamshire Plan was a rolling three-year plan which had been developed by the Safer Buckinghamshire Board; Buckinghamshire Council, Thames Valley Police, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service, Clinical Commissioning Group, National Probation Service, Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company and Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. A public community safety survey was conducted in early 2020 with 2,379 respondents (including 76 councillors), the results of which were used to shape the Plan’s five key priorities which have been agreed as follows:-


  • Helping communities to become more resilient
  • Protecting vulnerable adults and children
  • Addressing the impact of drugs, alcohol and poor mental health
  • Tackling domestic violence and abuse
  • Dealing with offending.


The Cabinet Member reported that the work for the new Plan was undertaken before the covid-19 pandemic therefore they would be close monitoring of the Plan to understand the impact of covid-19 and steps would be taken to reduce its impact on crime and the causes of crime. The Safer Buckinghamshire Board would review the implementation plan and impact at its regular meetings. The main impacts of covid-19 have been increases in anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, radicalisation and speeding. Burglary had decreased. The Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner had devolved a considerable budget of £440,000 which helped support some of the projects sitting under the agreed priorities along with Council and partnership funding.


The Communities Engagement and Safety Manager reported that detailed Delivery Plans sat under the Strategic Plan and she co-chaired with Thames Valley Police the Safer Buckinghamshire Co-ordinating Group, the operational arm of the Board which reviewed the detailed delivery on a regular basis. The Safer Buckinghamshire Board maintained oversight of the work and provided a check on performance on a quarterly basis. They were developing a dashboard which would provide some contextual information so Members could see the trends in Buckinghamshire and also specific measures which relate directly to the priorities.


In terms of next steps officers were developing Community Safety Profiles for Community Boards as many Boards had Community Safety Sub Groups and this information would provide an evidence base and highlight more pervasive issues which Boards may be concerned about. There was also a legislative requirement for an annual community safety Strategic Assessment to identify emerging trends and issues; and public engagement. This was completed at the end of last year and formed the basis of the new Safer Buckinghamshire Plan. This work would be continued this year and the Board would like more detailed work carried out on:-

  • Mental health – developing greater insight into its links with being a victim/offender; and risk management
  • Those with housing need – more likely to be victims
  • Victim suspect duality; and repeat victimisation


The Communities Engagement and Safety Manager reported that the next public community safety survey would be undertaken in January 2021 and they would be linking in with Community Boards to access local information.


During discussion the following points were made:-


  • A Member commented that in his local area they had an excellent community centre called the Hive in Arnison Avenue, High Wycombe but unfortunately there had been some anti-social behaviour including a stabbing. They had applied for a fence to be put up near the car park to prevent this. He also referred to the shopping parade nearby where the shopkeepers were also concerned about anti-social behaviour and had asked about installing CCTV to act as a deterrent. The Cabinet Member referred to areas that had been targeted for anti-social behaviour with great success and suggested that he follow this up outside the meeting with the Community Safety Team. He particularly referred to anti-social behaviour at Dorney Lake which had required a multi-agency response and also Hervines Park, Amersham. Some of these incidents were a result of lockdown and young people letting off steam where as others were persistent offenders. It was important to involve Community Safety Teams so they could identify whether criminal activity was taking place or whether it required street wardens.
  • A Member asked for further information on the work of Community Boards; some of them had set up Community Safety Sub Groups but not all and it was important to get a consistent approach across Buckinghamshire. She had also attended a Community Forum meeting where it had been discussed that there was a mismatch between the Safer Buckinghamshire Plan priorities and resident priorities and also how they fitted into the Structure. The Cabinet Member reported that they were working with the police, Community Boards and Forums to get a system in place. He particularly referred to the Chiltern Community Forum which was seen as a good model by the police and helped provide accountability for neighbourhood policing and interaction with communities. The Council main interaction would be through Community Boards which included devolved funding and it made practical sense to have the public facing survey and response aligned with Community Boards areas which was made easier where the Local Police Area reflects these boundaries. He further commented that Chiltern and South Bucks had seven Community Boards and whilst he would not want to reduce any public engagement it would help to have a single set of priorities for that area which were agreed by the Board Chairmen and Thames Valley Police. He would like to use a similar model to that of Chiltern and South Bucks for Aylesbury and Wycombe and the LPA Commanders so that these bodies could provide an input on the focus for neighbourhood policing.  There would still be a focus on resident concerns regarding issues that had arisen as a result of covid-19 such as anti-social behaviour and speeding.
  • A Member had several questions which she put to the meeting:-

-          She referred to the Community Forum meeting as well, particularly in relation to concerns raised by the Asian community who were being targeted because of perceived wealth.

-          She expressed concern about vulnerable children and adults being exploited and how they were being helped to prevent further exploitation and in addition to that how many children were missing in Buckinghamshire. She commented that this linked in with the importance of statutory training on diversity and equality.

-          She also referred to domestic abuse where it was not reported because it was seen as normal behaviour in some communities; she was working with some of these communities so would be happy to talk to Members and officers regarding this area.

-          Raising awareness of hate crime so that this did not just relate to BAME communities but other areas such as mental health etc.

-          Educating people on the effects of drug and alcohol on their families, which had become even more relevant during the covid-19 pandemic.

-          Working with offenders and how organisations would work with them to stop them reoffending e.g. education programme.

A written response would be provided.

  • A Member referred to Community Boards and the police working together to agree community safety priorities and commented that in her area there were two Neighbourhood Action Groups and two different policing teams. She also mentioned that it would be difficult for the police to attend various meetings with their limited resources. The Cabinet Member referred to the earlier comment that he was hoping that there would be a single set of priorities, he referred to the survey that would be undertaken and that each Board which have an idea of local priorities. The police did not have the resource to deal with seven different sets of local neighbourhood policing priorities. Regular meetings would be set up with the Chief Constable, LPA Commanders and the Community Board Chairman which was seen as the most effective use of police resources rather than attending individual community board meetings.
  • A Member commented that the police had aligned their LPA area to match the boundary of their Community Board and enable proactive collaboration. He then referred to his role as a Community First Responder for South Central Ambulance Service where he had to deal with a number of people who had drug and alcohol problems who had collapsed or been injured through fights who went through a revolving circle of abuse. He asked how this could be picked up through prevention work as once the person had been to hospital they were discharged without any further action. The Cabinet Member reported that he had regular meetings with the Chairman of Hospital Trusts where they had discussions about not dealing with patients/ residents in silo’s where responsibility was discharged without any further action. It was important to take a multi-agency approach to this issue and put the patient first and to signpost residents to appropriate services following any incidents e.g. there were social workers in hospitals who were looking at older people who had suffered a fall and may need some support at home. However, he would check whether the SCAS were invited to these regular meetings with partners to ensure that there weren’t any gaps in providing a co-ordinated approach to services.
  • A Member referred to anti-social behaviour in town centres and referred to an example in Wycombe where young men were becoming a nuisance during the day time. He also referred to young people begging who he was aware were not homeless and could often make £500 per week to support a drug habit. He commented that the police because of limited resource would use their resources more at the weekend or at night. However, three street wardens were appointed who patrolled the streets in the day time which had an extremely positive effect. The beggars were referred to One Recovery Bucks where appropriate. He commended the use of street wardens to improve the ambience of town centres. The Cabinet Member referred to the recruitment of street wardens and said they had worked well and could also help signpost residents to appropriate services. He also referred to expanding the role of traffic wardens to help provide support for community safety. Community Board profiles and their allocated funding could be used to target resources.


The Cabinet Member and officers were thanked for attending the Committee and for providing an excellent update on their work.

Supporting documents: