Safer Arun Partnership meeting minutes 24 October 2023

Tuesday 24 October 2023 – 2pm
MS Teams virtual meeting


  • AB Cllr. Alan Butcher (Chair)
  • CR Carrie Reynolds (Arun DC)
  • AO Alex O’Keefe (WSCC)
  • DB Debra Balfour (NHS)
  • AL Amy Loaring (OSPCC)
  • LC Debra Balfour (NHS)
  • AC Cllr. Alison Cooper (member of Housing and Wellbeing Committee)
  • RW Insp. Ross Wickings (Sussex Police)
  • SL CI Sarah Leadbetter (Sussex Police)
  • RP Rea Painter (WSCC Early Help)
  • AC Adrian Carter (WSFRS)
  • DO Dax O’Connor (Arun DC)
  • LM Lee Matthews (Arun DC)

Apologies received:

  • Alistair Sherlock (Probation Service)
  • Liz Carter (NHS)

Agenda item 1:

DO welcomed everyone to the meeting and facilitated introductions.

Agenda item 2:

Confirmation of apologies given.

Agenda item 3:

Declarations of interest

AB declared an interest in item 8 as a town councillor and member of the Town Centre Action Croup.

Agenda item 4:

Minutes and matters arising from previous meeting on 24 July 2023

Vote taken and minutes agreed.

Agenda item 5:

Partnership Plan updates

Strategic Priority: Building Community Resilience
AO reminded the group that the community safety consultation is running and will close on 3 November 2023. Arun area currently in receipt of most response across the county. Results will be available shortly after poll closes and available for discussion by the partnership.

AO stated that recent report stated that over 40% of all reported crime is classified as fraud. WSCC looking at targeted work around this issue and to build very localised response, bringing together a wide range of partners and community groups.

CR confirmed that Arun DC Community Safety team are delivery fraud awareness presentations across the district to community groups and will continue to support WSCC to deliver messages.

CR noted that Community Safety team participating in town centre actions days to engage with members of the public, listen to their concerns, and to try and improve public confidence. Team also engaged in conversations with parish councils and elected members to highlight the work being done to tackle ASB and crime, both internally and through SAP.

Strategic Priority: Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour
CR confirmed that Community Wardens have started a programme of early education presentations to Year 6 pupils about ASB. A look at what ASB is, types of behaviour, and impact on people.

DO advised that Chichester and Arun Road Safety Action Group is ongoing and looking at anti-social driving hotspots and messaging.
Strategic Priority: Serious Violence

DO advised that the Arun Peer Group Conference has now been extended to include primary schools.

Strategic Priority: Reducing Drug and Alcohol Related Harm

Agenda item 6:

Partnership funding statement

DO presented the latest funding statement – unallocated balance of £68,019 as at meeting date.

Agenda item 6a:

Funding application
LM presented an application for grant funding of £3,000 to be used by Neighbourhood Youth Officers (Sussex Police) and Arun DC ASB Caseworkers for a ‘youth intervention activity fund’. Scheme will look to support young people who are coming to notice to authorities for their involvement in crime and ASB to access diversionary activities where cost is a barrier to them and their families.

Currently, officer only have an option to refer youths to REBBOT but activities on offer are limited to swimming passes. Not all young people see this as something they want to participate in. The proposed scheme will allow officers to work with young people to offer a bespoke activities tailored to their individual interests.
Proposal unanimously agreed.

Agenda item 7:

Youth provision and diversionary activities in Arun
CR opened a discussion about the lack of youth outreach provision across the district, and that there is currently an uncoordinated approach to youth work. Seems to lots of provision for those children who would naturally engage in clubs and activities, but we are distinctly lacking opportunities for detached youth work for those that don’t. Need for teams of expert youth workers who will go out to know hotspot locations, including town centres and rural pockets where ASB is reported.

CR outlined a draft proposal where youth providers are afforded the opportunity to tender to provide detached outreach work the whole district – 3 sessions per week of minimum 2 hours each, in four specific areas. To engage with young people and find out things like what their concerns are, what they want from services, what interest do they have and what provision is missing, how do they see their local community, how can they feel included, making positive choices.

This is an opportunity to build something that is bespoke to the needs of Arun, and to address issues on a much more local level.

Initial proposal is coped at around £39,000 for 3-4 months work.

After a detailed discussion, it was agreed that CR would finalise the proposal and send to all partners to consider.

ACTION: CR to share proposal with partners.

ACTION: DO to request responses from partners whether they are in agreement of not with funding proposal.

Agenda item 8:

Littlehampton Town Centre
This specific location has been brought to the SAP meeting due to the negative impact that alleged crime and ASB are having on the perception of the town centre as a safe place. Community tensions are currently heightened around youth ASB, street drinkers, drugs, shoplifting, and the fear of violence.

Individually, partners are all carrying out pieces of work to address the issues raised. However, there is a need to co-ordinate the partnership response and take the opportunity to highlight the actions being undertaken to provide reassurance to the public.

AB redeclared his interest in this item as a town councillor and member of the town centre action group, and also outlined the reports he has received about the high levels of nuisance behaviour and crime which often starts as low level but can lead to more serious incidents.

AB stated that the town centre action group is a forum that can get the message out regarding the work that partners are doing.

CR informed the meeting that there is a clear increase in negative comments across various platforms including local social media, direct reports to ASB team, the voice of community advocates, and to the town council. Previous mention of a public protest at the perceived lack of action from agencies did not materialise.

CR outlined the response from ADC Community Safety team includes directed patrols by Community Wardens to include a High Street presence in the evening, Community Safety officers engaging with public and businesses to understand their views, and the ASB team taking a tougher approach to individuals engaged in ASB; includes issuing of CPWs and CPNs, and sharing reports with Licensing where off licences are selling alcohol in breach of their licence. Intelligence also being submitted by officers around criminal activities.

RW advised that Op Sonar has been embedded as part of the police response, and there is a need to look at longer term solutions too. Proposed the removal of benches outside Sainsbury’s where street drinkers meet. NPT officers to engage with the community to hear what those long term solutions are.

SL spoke of experience with similar concerns elsewhere in the county and highlighted the work that police and partners did to engage with community, to make it a shared community problem and asking to gain input from the community itself. The negative narrative seen on social media is not helpful, so how can we work with the community so that they also want to make improvements.

AB stated that police presence is an important aspect of addressing the issues and giving people some reassurance. Town Centre Action Group is looking at long term ideas and consulting with shopkeepers to get ideas to improve the situation. Commentary online at the moment is pretty disastrous so does need a response.

DO confirmed that Community Safety team are attending the community market stall, alongside PCSOs, to engage directly with the public and ask for their views on the town centre, and what they want to see from agencies.

AC commented on the significant investment in the town centre recently and noted that community tensions should be addressed at the same time. Effort should be made to disrupt the type of activity that is going on. Short term action and engagement with community needed to get community on board to support us in terms of longevity.

RW confirmed that short term additional officer patrols took place in Bognor earlier this year, with Safer Streets funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner allowing for overtime to be paid. This funding is no longer available to provide the same in Littlehampton.

AC commented on the positive impact made by Community Wardens in providing a reassuring presence. Negative comments about the problems persist, but it would be worse had they not been there. Presence of Community Wardens should not mean that we lose police, communities should be rewarded for beefing up their own response. It is also important that partners create trust in the community which in turn can help to increase reporting.

AB agreed that improving reporting by public is important and noted that this does need to be backed up with action.

SL also agreed with the need for reporting of incidents to be improved. Reports are discussed at hub meetings, are used to pick up on trends, and inform how resources are deployed. There are various methods of reporting including 101 or online, use Crimestoppers or Operation Crackdown. The Local Action Team is ideal to drive forward that work.

AL aware of some funding streams that might be useful for work to engage with young people. OSPCC running a pilot in Brighton in relation to immediate justice programme which is a reparative action scheme – an individual, adult or young person, is recommended by police to carry out a community action as opposed to receiving a criminal record.

DO keen to share the actions from the Local Action Team – has spoken with LTC who are willing to utilise their social medic to promote activity and will share outcomes via the town centre action group. Reminded partners that SAP funding has been set aside for the local action team to help fund quick wins and we are open to all suggestions.

DO raised issue of roof running and asked AC if fire service would be able to help share messaging around the dangers of this activity as crews are often the first on scene to deal with. AC in agreement.

Agenda item 9:

Community Safety survey -
This was mentioned earlier at agenda item 5 by AO.

ADC elected members event -
DO informed the meeting that the Community Safety team were hosting an event in November for all elected members to highlight the work done by the team, and that a stand would be promoting SAP and the partnership work it carries out. It is hoped that information can then be fed back to communities by councillors.

2024 meeting dates -
All partners agreed to schedule quarterly meetings for January, April, July, and October 2024. DO proposed the January meeting taking place in person – agreed.