Report of the Corporate Director of Resources (Interim).
The Chair asked the Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager, Tom Gorman to provide the Committee with an update in relation to the Quarter Four, 2020/21 Performance Management Report (for copy see file of minutes).
The Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager thanked the Chair and referred Members to the information as set out within the report pack. He added that as the report related to Quarter Four it also represented a year-end position which would include any impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that the report included performance information relevant to the remit of the Committee, including community safety elements under the “Connected Communities” and substance misuse performance information relating to “People Live Long and Independent Lives” The Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager explained that in addition there was the role of the Committee in scrutinising the Safer Durham Partnership (SDP), with the Chair of the SDP, K Wanley being in attendance to give Members an update at the next item.
Councillors were referred to the information within the report and asked to note there was a 12 percent reduction in recorded crime, year of year, with around 6,000 fewer offences and with theft offences down by one-third. It was noted this was felt to be as a result of the pandemic, with fewer people moving about there were fewer opportunities for crime, less vehicle journeys, and with non-essential shops being closed and more people working from home shoplifting and burglary offences had reduced. The Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager explained that there had been an increase in anti-social behaviour (ASB), with a 14 percent increase in total, being ASB reported to the Police or Council. He added that some new offences as a result of the Coronavirus Act 2020 were recorded as ASB, with 23 percent of all ASB reported to the Police relating to the Coronavirus Act, for example illegal gatherings. It was noted that the increase in the reports to the Council mainly related to those associated with people being in their homes more, such as noise nuisance.
The Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager noted fly-tipping had increased by 22 percent and explained the Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres had been required to close in response to the first national lockdown and, upon reopening, social distancing had meant increased queues in order to access the centres.
In respect of deliberate fires, the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) area had the highest number of deliberate primary fires and the third highest number of secondary deliberate fires.
It was added that areas with the second and third highest number of primary fires were Tyne and Wear and Cleveland, with Cleveland and Tyne and Wear being first and second in terms of secondary deliberate fires, highlighting that it was also a regional issue. It was noted that within the CDDFRS area, 68 percent of deliberate primary fires related to vehicles, an increase of 12 percent from the previous year.
In respect of reducing substance misuse, it was noted that the Council’s Drug and Alcohol Service had improved performance, with performance relating to alcohol just behind the national figures. The Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager explained that in relation to opiate drugs, performance was around the national level, and in relation to non-opiates there had been a similar improvement to that of alcohol services.
Members were referred to statistics relating to domestic violence and the Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager noted that the number of incidents involving alcohol had increased. He explained that the Domestic Abuse Bill 2021 was being considered by Parliament which looked to grant new powers for the Police and place new duties on Local Authorities. He noted that further information would follow once the Bill had obtained Royal Assent.
In relation to road safety, the Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager noted figures for the last three years showed a variable picture, with a decreasing long-term trend in terms of the number of people killed or seriously injured. He added that the first national lockdown of the pandemic had saw a reducing of 22 percent in the number killed or seriously injured, likely as a result of decreased traffic. He noted, however, that one death was too many, adding the topic was one the Committee had looked at previously. Members were reminded that engineering works are very rarely needed, rather education was a key focus of the road safety partnership in terms of the “Fatal Four”, use of mobile phones while driving, speeding, and drug/drink driving.
The Chair thanked the Corporate Scrutiny and Strategy Manager and asked Members for their comments and questions, adding Members could submit any further questions they may have via e-mail should they wish.
That the content of the report and presentation be noted.