The Health, Wellbeing and Financial Resilience Portfolio Holder, Councillor Suzie Pye, presented the new South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Plan 2019/20 which recognised and sought to continue the effective collaboration in place between South Lakeland District Council, Barrow Borough Council, Cumbria Police and partner agencies, including Safer Cumbria. The Plan had been approved at a meeting of South Cumbria CSP on 9 April 2019 and formed part of South Lakeland District Council’s Budget and Policy Framework. It aimed to reduce crime and enable local communities to remain safe and reassured, without fear, or threat, of crime. The CSP had agreed five priorities – protecting vulnerable people; domestic abuse; substance abuse and drug supply; violent crime and anti-social behaviour, key deliverables for which had been agreed for completion throughout the year.
Members were informed that a report on the CSP was presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee twice annually, the last occasion having been on 26 April 2019 (O&S/77 (2018/19) refers). The Plan had been recommended for adoption by Council by the Cabinet at its meeting on 5 June 2019 (CEX/11 (2019/20) refers).
In presenting the report, Councillor Pye stressed the fact that the key message was that prevention played a vital role in tackling these issues, for example by improving education alcohol misuse and working with licensees to reduce the likelihood of alcohol-related crimes.
Councillor Pye referred to crime statistics in South Lakeland and reported that, comparing April to June in the previous year with this year, all crime was up by 3%, violence against the person (mainly without injury) was up by 16% and sexual offences down by 7%. The Police had stated that there were two significant contributory factors to rising reported crime. Firstly, the continued increase in confidence from members of the public in reporting crime and, secondly, statistics had been impacted by greater compliance by officers with crime recording practices, something which had been recognised nationally by the Office of National Statistics.
Councillor Pye commended a recent project which had already made an impact on young people in South Lakeland. This was a Theatre in Education project tailored specifically to South Cumbria which had been taken to nine secondary schools across South Lakeland and Barrow, focussing on the day to day pressures faced by secondary-aged children and how they might build up a resilience to that pressure. The performances had been supported by workshops which the schools had been able to further develop later in the classroom. This year, the same group had been commissioned to write and perform another piece, this time tackling County Lines Drug Activity. The performances and workshops had taken place in June and had been very well received. Students had been engaged and enjoyed the performances, learning valuable lessons in a dynamic way. Councillor Pye extended an invitation to Members to meet with her for further information.
Councillor Pye moved the recommendation contained within the report and was seconded by Councillor Dyan Jones, Climate Emergency and Localism Portfolio Holder, who commended, in particular, the work which had been carried out in schools.
Members expressed support for the Plan and were keen to see a reduction in crime figures. Reference was made to the excellent presentation which had been made at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in April and thanks expressed to those involved for their work. Whilst Cumbria was a wonderful place in which to live, the importance of acknowledging that crime existed within the area was stressed. The need to protect those most vulnerable within the community, and in particular in relation to domestic abuse in small villages, was raised.
Councillor Pye thanked Members for their support which was a testament to the work carried out. In response to a query raised in relation to an increase in road incidents, she advised that she did not have updated statistics, however, undertook to make enquiries at the next meeting of the Partnership.
It was subsequently unanimously
RESOLVED – That the South Cumbria Community Safety Partnership Plan (2019/20) be adopted as part of the Council’s Budget and Policy Framework.