Agenda and minutes

Crime and Disorder Select Committee - Thursday 21st September, 2023 4.30 pm

Venue: Jim Cooke Conference Suite, Stvokton Central Library, Stcokton - on - Tees, TS18 1TU

Contact: Senior Scrutiny Officer, Gary Woods 

No. Item


Evacuation Procedure pdf icon PDF 9 KB


The evacuation procedure was noted.


Declarations of Interest


There were no interests declared.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 114 KB

To approve the minutes of the last meeting held on 27 July 2023


Consideration was given to the minutes of the Crime and Disorder Select Committee meeting which was held on 27 July 2023 for approval and signature.


As referenced within the ‘Overview Report 2023’ item, Members had requested a breakdown of crime data (per crime type), as well as any crime locality maps – both had since been circulated to the Committee.


AGREED that the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 27 July 2023 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Monitoring the Impact of Previously Agreed Recommendations - Bonfires on Public Land pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Progress report for the previously completed Bonfires on Public Land review.

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the assessments of progress on the implementation of the recommendations from the Committee’s previously completed review of Bonfires on Public Land.  This was the second progress update following the Committee’s agreement of the Action Plan in November 2022, with developments in relation to the outstanding agreed action noted as follows:


• Recommendation 5 (To further deter the construction and lighting of unauthorised bonfires, SBC identifies any alternative sites within the Borough where official bonfires may be able to be facilitated in the future): There was continued work to identify and accurately track bonfire hotspots, and this would continue throughout the year and approaching 2023 season.  Case Management Officers had been tasked with engagement activity over the next few months to identify potential sites and discuss with residents and businesses, and work was being undertaken with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council (SBC) Licensing and SBC Corporate Communications to identify and publicise organised events across social media platforms.


Further developments in relation to agreed actions previously signed-off in March 2023 as fully achieved were also relayed to the Committee.  Some minor errors on the enclosed information leaflets had been identified and corrected, and it was stated that Shrewsbury Town Council was no longer proceeding with their approach to unauthorised bonfires.  Incident reporting and recording was also being thoroughly investigated this year as there was a desire to understand why people were behaving the way they were – this would inform the Action Plan ahead of the annual bonfire season.


In related matters, the Committee began its questioning by highlighting problems with people bringing van loads of fireworks into an area.  Officers stated that it was difficult to counter such activity without intelligence, and the Council and its key partners relied on information regarding where fireworks were being stored and sold.  From a SBC perspective, reports of inappropriate firework sales or rogue products elicited a multi-department response from both the Licensing and Trading Standards teams respectively.


The issue of fly-tipping was raised by Members who also promoted the established online reporting mechanisms which had previously proved effective in reducing the availability of things to burn.  Assurance was given that people could be prosecuted for putting materials on bonfires, and that whilst fly-tipping rates were significant across the Borough, SBC recorded it differently to other Local Authorities.  The level of prosecutions for fly-tipping was low, but was only one means of enforcement – fixed penalty notices (FPNs) had been used (for a first offence only) without the need to go to court, though more significant fly-tipping was prosecuted where required.


With reference to the draft information leaflets included in the supplementary document outlining further progress on actions previously achieved, the Committee queried if there was any evidence that these posters worked, and commented that some had too much text.  Officers acknowledged that certain individuals who were minded to set fires would ignore such messaging, but that there was some evidence that fly-tipping incidents had reduced.  Leaflets / posters promoted reporting mechanisms and  ...  view the full minutes text for item CD/9/23


Safety of Staff in the Night-Time Economy pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To consider a report on this topic which was included on the scrutiny work programme for 2023-2024.


Further to discussions at the recent initial tri-partite meeting regarding this scrutiny topic suggestion, and following a subsequent request by the Chair, a report was presented to the Committee which highlighted the following:


• Background: In August 2023, a jointly commissioned Cleveland-wide problem profile of understanding violence in the night-time economy was undertaken by Crest Advisory (which could be shared with the Committee following this meeting), a think-tank who were experts in areas such as justice, policing and public safety.  The report highlighted a number of key findings which were relevant to consider in the context of staff safety in the night-time economy, although the safety of staff working within the night-time economy did not feature as an area of specific concern within the findings, despite those working in the night-time economy contributing to the report itself.  The profile also made clear that there was a lack of available baseline data regarding staff safety in the night-time economy.


• Current Measures: National Pubwatch was a voluntary organisation set up to promote best practice through supporting the work of local Pubwatch schemes.  Its aim was to achieve a safer drinking environment in all licensed premises throughout the UK.  The basic principle of Pubwatch was that its licensee members would agree to work together to improve the safety of their premises, for the benefit of their staff and customers.  It was also a means to discharge a part of a licensee’s health and safety responsibility to their staff and customers.


Incidents that occur within all the Borough’s town centres, including in the night-time economy, feature in the established Joint Action Group (JAG) which was made up of key partners across Stockton-on-Tees, including Cleveland Police.  Data in relation to incidents, emerging trends, intelligence and feedback were monitored on a regular basis and appropriate actions taken to address problems.  Over the past several years, there had been no recorded issues or concerns raised in relation to staff safety in the night-time economy – in addition, incidents involving staff were not recorded separately and therefore baseline information on the extent of this issue was not available.  However, the JAG, and the work of CURV (Cleveland Unit for the Reduction of Violence), ensures that key issues such as serious violence were closely monitored, and measures put in place could have secondary benefits to staff as well as visitors to the night time-economy.


In order to inform the development of the multi-agency approach to issues arising in the night-time economy, best practice from around the country was considered which can also be adopted here in Stockton-on-Tees.  This was co-ordinated via both Stockton Business Improvement District (BID) and also the wider Safer Stockton Partnership (SSP) which scrutinises both activity and results to ensure that the response was both efficient and impactful.


• Licensing: Licence holders should make provision to ensure that premises-users safely leave their premises.  Measures that may assist include providing information on the premises of local taxi companies who can provide safe transportation home and  ...  view the full minutes text for item CD/10/23


Chair's Update and Select Committee Work Programme 2023-2024 pdf icon PDF 191 KB


Chair’s Update


The Chair had no further updates.


Work Programme 2023-2024


Consideration was given to the current Crime and Disorder Select Committee Work Programme.  The next meeting was scheduled for 19 October 2023 and would include the latest update on progress of outstanding actions in relation to the previously completed Fly-Grazed Horses review.


Further to the discussions and agreement at this meeting in relation to the Safety of Staff in the Night-Time Economy topic, a debate ensued around which in-depth review the Committee should now undertake.  Given there were imminent developments anticipated in relation to disposable vapes, it was suggested and agreed that the Play Area Distribution, Maintenance and Physical Accessibility review should be completed first.  A draft scope and plan would therefore be presented for approval at the October 2023 meeting.


Attention was drawn to the addition of an ‘Other Information Sources / Updates’ section – this reflected some key crime and disorder / community safety issues (with links included providing further detail) which the Committee may be interested in scrutinising further (outside of any ongoing in-depth review work).  Members were encouraged to contact either the Chair / Vice-Chair or Scrutiny Officer if they had queries on any of the stated topics.


AGREED that the Crime and Disorder Select Committee Work Programme 2023-2024 be noted.