Members to receive a report providing information on Leicestershire Police operational and organisational response and also the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s organisational response to the Covid19 pandemic.
The Police and Crime Panel considered a report that provided information on the Leicestershire Police and Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s organisational responses to the COVID19 pandemic.
The ensuing discussion included the following points:
· The OPCC had been supportive of the police work around Covid 19, particularly through the provision of urgent funding and flexibility around normal arrangements, as an example by reviewing arrangements for domestic abuse services and providing around £100k towards additional support for victims during this period.
· Covid 19 had given rise to working in a much more digital way with remote meetings being held e.g. with the Chair of CPS, faith leaders and youth including the County Youth Council and the City Youth Council.
· A “What Matters to You” meeting was scheduled to take place to discuss issues that had recently arisen with “Black Lives Matter” organisers.
· Although the Covid 19 crisis had come about quickly and was extraordinary the Police had responded well and both Police and OPCC were now working towards the recovery phase including an ongoing piece of work via the Tactical Recovery Group to re-establish the night time economy, as generally the night-time economy was resource intensive and the impact of the night-time economy resuming was expected around July.
· Operationally the pandemic coincided with the launch of a new Target Operating Model that went “live” on 11 March 2020, the model effectively returned many resources to local neighbourhood policing and the panel were assured that the new model seemed to be working well.
· The partnership response and involvement of the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) was noted as set out in the report. Internally a Gold group structure was established on 3 March 2020 with specific strategic aims and objectives. The Gold group had been meeting regularly and was closely monitoring the impact of the pandemic.
· It was noted that overall crime levels had dropped however there was a considerable increase in ASB and reports relating to the Covid 19 restrictions with up to 200 reports a day at some points marking the busiest levels in calls since 2011. In terms of criminal justice, a backlog of cases was developing as the Court system could not operate as usual, on the plus side a virtual remand system was now fully in place.
· Mental Health issues were highlighted, and the panel noted more people were accessing the new route through health services.
· In terms of staff confidence, PPE and Testing, since the introduction of testing for key workers 21 staff had tested positive, very few requiring hospitalisation and mechanisms to support staff and risk assess were in place.
· In relation to longer term police resource, it was recognised the population in the county is likely to be greater over the summer months and the police force were looking to maximise the availability of police officers and staff whilst maintaining a work life balance for them and enabling them to take their leave. The new Target Operating model had also led to some extra capacity.
· Regarding financial implications of the Covid 19 crisis, unbudgeted costs had reached over £800k, some of that was due to income reduction such as East Midlands Airport policing, and cancellation of big events like Kasabian and Download. These costs continued to be collated with submissions to the Home Office who have indicated that unbudgeted costs will be reimbursed to Forces, however this is still to be confirmed. The OPCC welcomed any support from the panel in pursuing the reimbursement of costs from the Home Office.
The Panel recognised the significant efforts that have been made throughout these extraordinary times to adapt to the requirements of the pandemic and to maintain policing services within the communities of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and congratulated the OPCC and Force for coping with an unprecedented situation that has had a major impact on the country and whole of society.
1. That if required a letter on behalf of the Police and Crime Panel be written to the Home Office to request support for the Police to address the financial impact of the Covid 19 response,
2. That the contents of the report be noted.