Agenda item

Serious Violence Duty


The Committee considered a report of the Corporate Director of Resources which provided Members with an update on the Serious Violence Duty (for copy of report, see file of minutes).


Chief Superintendent Richie Allen, Senior Responsible Officer County Durham and Darlington Serious Violence Duty was in attendance to deliver a presentation that provided details of the partner workshops; agreement for strategic priorities; reporting mechanisms and structures set against the priorities; strategic needs assessment update and violence prevention fund (for copy of presentation, see file of minutes).


The Chief Superintendent reported that serious violence within the Partnership area remained stable for 2021/22 and 2022/23 with a 0.06 reduction. He added this cost each resident £208 for the partnership costs to tackle serious violence. He advised that the partnership area was below the national average for serious violence. Any serious violence was largely concentrated in urban areas such as Durham City and Darlington relating to the night-time economy. The majority of perpetrators were males under 25 with alcohol being one of the primary influencing factors in three out of ten cases and in terms of domestic abuse is four out of ten.


Councillor Potts referred to the data provided in the Youth Justice Service presentation that indicated that there was an increase in violence that contradicts the data from the police that was saying that the incidence of serious violence remained static and asked if there was a reason for this.


The Chief Superintendent responded it was partner data and indicated that the police data was possibly influenced as they are the first port of call but he wasn’t sure. He added that serious crime was more likely to come in on a 999 call when happening. He referred to the broad range of voices by having members who were not statutory bodies as part of the strategic partnership.


Councillor Potts referred to the HMIC report that downgraded the force to requiring improvement. He stated one of the reasons was that Durham had the worst repeat domestic violence statistics in England. He indicated that money would be better spent at the front end rather than a panel set up to look at this.


The Chief Superintendent responded that funding was based on activity and not panel-based work. He continued that by targeting funding in a positive way, where the data had highlighted they were able to target to reduce offending.


Councillor Potts referred to the newly recruited police officers and expressed concern that they would be placed within either communications or the newly proposed centralised custody suite rather than going into neighbourhoods where they would be, in his opinion, more effective. He didn’t think it would stop crime. His worry was that they money was not going to operational front line policing but instead to people to look at statistics.


The Chief Superintendent responded that the £700,000 allocated to the Police and Crime Commissioner was from the Home Office for the partnership activity and not the police although the Police could bid into this resource. The money would be spent on areas such as advocacy work, education etc.


Councillor Andrews referred to the increase in knife crime and people carrying knives and asked if part of their work would be looking at why it had become the norm for young people to carry knives.


The Chief Superintendent responded that they had early intervention programmes to change behaviours but needed evidence based data.


Councillor Charlton referred to the Strategic Needs Assessment Update and asked if they had been able to rectify the data that was difficult to obtain.


The Chief Superintendent responded that they had struggled with some NHS data and the differences in language used. He gave an example for data on location, the consultant would write upper arm where they required the location of the incident. He indicated that they were getting better and would keep developing and improving data. He stated there were some gaps in the data.


Councillor Charlton asked if this impacted their work.


The Chief Superintendent responded that it would be better if the data was complete. He stated that he had confidence in the police data.


Resolved: That the report and presentation be noted.

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