Venue: Committee Room 1/2 - Port Talbot Civic Centre. View directions
The minutes of the meeting held on 17 February 2020 were
Members were updated on the Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) issues within Neath Town Centre and were provided with information in relation to the work that was currently being carried out around this high-profile issue.
The Head of Participation explained that the Partnerships and Community Cohesion Team was now part of the Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning Directorate and had been since January 2021; the Team was praised for the work they had been doing and continue to do across Neath Port Talbot.
It was highlighted that the Community Safety Team, which was a small team made up of 11 Officers, dealt with very complicated and complex issues; they had used, tried and tested methodologies around a problem solving approach to address the root causes of the issues. It was added that the Team had close links with key partners and internal teams, which were very inherent in the work that was needed to be carried out.
Aside from managing ASB within the County Borough, it was added that the Community Safety Team also managed areas such as Domestic Abuse, Hate Crime, and Community Cohesion; since the start of the pandemic, they also had responsibility of the Neath Port Talbot Safe and Well Service.
Members were informed that in July 2020, Officers were made aware of increasing concerns around ASB in the Neath Town Centre area; these concerns were raised mainly through social media, which was not a formal route of reporting into services. It was noted that residents and businesses had been speaking to local Councillors about issues relating to street drinking, noise nuisance, begging and other general ASB; it was perceived that the cause of these issues was due to the usage of the Ambassador Hotel by the Council’s Housing Option Service, since the start of the pandemic.
Officers stated that official reports to the Police and to Council staff were very low and it was felt that when looking at the issues raised on social media, this may not have been a true reflection of what was happening in the town, which was a concern for Officers.
The importance of reporting concerns and information in the right way was stressed; members of the public could do this in a number of ways. It was explained that if the evidence and the statistics were not included in the database to reflect what was actually happening in the area, it minimised certain powers and the Officers abilities in finding solutions to the problems.
Following these concerns, it was noted that the Community Safety Team called a partnership meeting to better understand the problems, look at who was at the centre of the issues and to consider an appropriate action plan to ensure the situation improved and did not deteriorate; the first meeting was held in July 2020, coordinated by Community Safety. It was mentioned that the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection chaired the meeting and the relevant Cabinet Members and ward Councillors also attended; there ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
Members asked if the following item could be moved forward to an earlier date:
· Update on Anti-Social Behaviour in general (all town centres and wider)
It was agreed that the Democratic Services Officer would liaise with the Chair and Officers to identify an additional date for the Committee to meet to discuss this item.
The Committee decided that the following items be included in the Forward Work Programme:
· Update on the work ongoing with the APB around substance misuse and the harm reduction work that was happening locally;
· Update on the ADDER project and funding. It was mentioned that the Police and Crime Commissioners Office were leading on this project, therefore the relevant contact should be invited to present.
Members noted the Community Safety and Public Protection Scrutiny Sub Committee Forward Work Programme for 2021/22.