Agenda item

Development of a Multi-Agency Prevention and Enforcement Team for Castle/North Bay

To receive a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Reference 13/277) attached.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report by the Deputy Chief Executive (Reference 13/277) outlining the proposals for the development of a multi-agency prevention and enforcement team, which would focus on a proactive, joint approach to tackling identified issues within Castle and North Bay Wards.  This item had been requested by Councillor Challen.

The Community Safety Partnership Manager and Safeguarding Officer presented the report.  The proposal to establish a multi-agency team has been presented to the Safer Community Partnership to identify key areas.  Scoping work to identify the problems has been carried out.  The proposal also forms part of a wider plan for the Castle/North Bay area, currently being developed by the Council and its partners through the Public Service Executive.  The title ‘A Multi-Agency Prevention Team for Castle/North Bay’ was considered to be long and residents would be consulted for suggestions for a more suitable name for the project.

The proposal has four key themes: physical regeneration, particularly regarding housing to encourage a higher quality rental market and address some of the issues around Registered Social Landlord stock; effective prevention and enforcement; support for vulnerable people and environmental improvements, both public space and private gardens.  The Place Survey in 2011/12 showed that only 57% of residents in the Castle Ward were satisfied with their area as a place to live.  The Ward profiles were available on the website for anyone to look at and the Community Safety Partnership Manager and Safeguarding Officer would e-mail them on request.  Lots of good work has been carried out in the Castle Ward, for example Community Angels and the aim is to work alongside these projects.  The proposal will also encompass the Night Time Economy Plan which is currently being consulted on.  Officers involved in the Night Time Economy Plan will also work with the Enforcement Team.

The Enforcement Team will be based in offices in King Street.  The project is being looked at by others around the country and will initially be a 12 month pilot using the decision making model.  An example of this would be a housing problem was identified, the team would investigate what harm was being caused, risks or threat, what to do about it and who to contact to resolve the issue.  Also to look at what difference the team are making to the area. There will be a focus on disruptive families and street drinkers.  Team Members would be managed on a day-to-day basis by their main employing authority/agency and co-ordinated by the Community Safety Partnership Manager and Safeguarding Officer.  The team will not be solely based in the office but have a visible presence on the streets, including use of a car.  A Police Sergeant dedicated to the team will provide a decision making element and be able to deploy staff.  Other members of the team will be Yorkshire Coast Homes, a Housing Enforcement Officer, Community Safety Officer, Fire Officer, Sanctuary Housing Officer and a Stronger Families Officer.  It was hoped that  a drugs and alcohol worker would join them. As well as multi-agency action there will be stronger communication between organisations, a proactive problem solving approach and each event will be mapped.  There will be a street by street approach to prioritise problem areas. 

Approvals were in place to establish the Enforcement Team and staff recruitment was underway.  A staff briefing will take place on the 7 August 2013 with the team commencing in August and fully underway by the end of  September 2013.  Funding was in place to commence some works and small scale environmental improvements, eg painting.  It was anticipated that external funding could be secured to fund specific projects to improve an area.

The Chairman commented that there were problems outside the lower super output areas.  eg the former St Mary’s Hospital site and would like reassurance that action would be taken when reported to the team.  The Community Safety Partnership Manager and Safeguarding Officer replied that they would react to reported problems outside the identified areas, however they had to have a starting point.

A member commented that there was a voluntary scheme in the North Bay but this had drifted apart.  There were huge problems in the North Bay area including people being threatened with dog attacks, lack of planning enforcement leading to degeneration of the area, and a particular social housing landlord.  The Community Safety Partnership Manager and Safeguarding Officer responded that talks were underway with the housing association and with the Police about which legislation to use and who can enforce it.  Planning Officers were not part of the Enforcement Team but would be consulted where relevant.

A member asked if the Enforcement Team would be working with the local CAP Group and should Councillors be involved as they were often the eyes and ears on local issues?  It was also felt that with less Council staff it would be more difficult to get results.   Another member commented that while it was good to see different agencies working together how were they going to ensure that the cultural change was embedded within the community, particularly in terms of the transient nature of the population?  A whole housing estate could be improved physically with double glazing, etc but that did not tackle the problems within the community eg anti-social behaviour.

Members commented on other issues such as rubbish in the streets and ways to encourage both residents and visitors to use the bins, including having ‘Keep our Town Tidy’ signs and more Council staff should report issues that they see to get them resolved.  Members also referred to problems with planning issues over windows, the inability to get money from government to provide support for people, the system generally not supporting people’s endeavours to resolve problems and a discussion took place on particular problems in Trafalgar Square.

A member proposed that one of the partner’s on the Enforcement Team could be Royal Mail.  This was a uniformed service who passes every door, every day and who would become aware of issues as part of their job.   Royal Mail could be included as part of a scheme to support vulnerable adults, with the support of the Communication Workers Union.  Another member suggested that milkmen could also take part in this scheme. 

The Community Safety Partnership Manager and Safeguarding Officer responded to members comments.  In relation to the suggestion for Royal Mail and milkmen to be involved there was a similar scheme in Hambleton & Richmondshire through the bin men.  Environmental issues were just as important as social issues, the Enforcement Team were not going to change things overnight but improve community engagement gradually over the next 12 months.  It was anticipated that works would also take place with the schools in the area.  In relation to the particular issues in Trafalgar Square the

Community Safety Partnership Manager and Safeguarding Officer would e-mail Councillors Sharma and Smith after this meeting to give them the latest information.

The Chairman thanked the Community Safety Partnership Manager and Safeguarding Officer for presenting the report which led to some useful information sharing and debate and suggested that she update the Committee at a future meeting including feedback on the Night Time Economy.

RESOLVED that the report be received and the issues be noted.

 

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