Question 1: from Cllr H Dhindsa
The Government’s new ‘Drug Strategy – Harm to Hope’ requires the formation of a local dedicated Drug and Alcohol Strategic Partnership. The government’s newly formed Combating Drugs Unit – as part of it’s 10 year drugs plan to cut crime and save lives – has requested this countywide partnership. Representation on this multi-agency partnership includes a senior police leader and the local Police and Crime Commissioner. Can the PCC share with the panel how this fits with her current Police and Crime Plan and what resources and plans are currently dedicated to tackle this and whether new funding has been allocated by Government to implement the new Drug Strategy to:
a. The PCC
b. Derbyshire Police
c. Any other partner agencies.
The Police and Crime Plan aligns directly with ‘From Harm to Hope’ – the Government’s ten-year drugs strategy to cut crime and save lives. I can confirm that Derbyshire Constabulary has recently established a strategic Combating Drugs Partnership, through which a county-wide action plan will be jointly developed and managed, with agencies held to account for delivery. Derbyshire Constabulary are committed to working in partnership to tackle the supply and misuse of controlled drugs to help clamp down on anti-social behaviour, reduce neighbourhood crimes including burglary and protect people from the harm caused by serious and organised criminals. A key element of the Strategy is developing first class treatment and recovery services. Derbyshire Constabulary recognise the importance of working in partnership to improve early identification and diversion into treatment services. To further support this aim, additional Home Office funding has been secured to enhance drug testing on arrest (DToA).
Derbyshire Constabulary has a number of operational teams dedicated to tackling drug-related organised crime, child and criminal exploitation and emerging threats posed by drugs gangs operating across county lines. Additionally, through established tasking and co-ordinating processes, the Constabulary has access to additional resources and specialist capabilities through the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) and continues to build on well-established partnership safeguarding arrangements, to help protect vulnerable people from the harm caused by offenders connected to drug-related criminality.
This was a very important strategy, but it is clear that this will need new funding to make it happen, and I would urge the PCC an the partner organisations to ensure it is properly resourced in order to make it happen. Are you able to give an indication of where this funding will come from?
One of the Key aspects of this 10 year Strategy was that the government was putting a duty on all organisations working together and work was currently being carried out by partners through the Combating Drugs Partnership about how best to use the funding available. I can provide you with details of the funding coming to Derbyshire
Question 2: from Cllr H Dhindsa
In response to a question from Cllr Alan Barrow, at the last PCP meeting, the PCC gave the following information on the breakdown of officers by gender and ethnicity:
‘Derbyshire is a leading force for the recruitment of female officers. From the start of Uplift counting to end of July 2022 the force have recruited 493 police officers, of which 237 (48%) are female officers and 18 (3.75%) have stated their ethnicity as B.A.M.E. There are significant plans in place to increase the number of black and minority applicants. The force monitors all of this closely to look at any adverse impact in the processes and utilise positive action officers to try to improve attraction recruitment in this area. At the end of July 2022, the proportion of female officers was 39% and the proportion of black and minority officers was 3.2%’
It was pleasing to see that Derbyshire Police are leading in gender representation. However, the proportion of Black and Minority Officers is disappointingly low, despite the work of the national Police Uplift Programme Unit as well as the Constabulary. Can the PCC share what significant plans strategically she has taken to tackle this under representation and how does the 3.2% proportion of black and minority officers compare with the black and minority population make up of Derby ?
Derbyshire Constabulary has a target of an additional 283 officers over the three years of the National Police Uplift Programme. They are on track to meet this target four months early by the end of November 2022.
The Chief Constable has oversight of our BAME attraction strategy through the Attraction, Recruitment and Retention Board that she personally chairs.
The Constabulary still uses the 6.7% BAME figure for Derbyshire from the 2011 census as a comparator as the 2022 census data on ethnicity is still to be released. The Recruitment and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) teams have been active throughout the Police Uplift period by undertaking engagement seminars in schools, colleges, universities, at force headquarters and online. Various social media outlets have also been utilised. Events have been targeted at schools and colleges in under-represented areas, and communication campaigns in diverse communities via their PCSOs, as well as representatives at events from their staff networks, including their Race Equality Network.
The Constabulary’s police officer attraction and recruitment campaigns up until the middle of this year were mainly focussed on securing a high volume of quality candidates in what is a very competitive recruitment market with other police forces also seeking to recruit additional officers. Their attraction campaigns were therefore really broad to deliver the high volume needed.
The Constabulary were now prioritising and focusing their attraction on under-represented groups. A full review of the county is being undertaken to ensure their outreach and engagement is correctly targeted. Their Positive Action and Recruitment Engagement teams have rolled out a series of events in communities to achieve the results they are looking for, including the Derby Mosque, the Derby All Nations for Christ Church (ANFC), Derby City Council and Futures for Business. Derbyshire Constabulary are also working with an external partner to deliver courses aimed towards people from lower socio-economic backgrounds to facilitate careers within the Constabulary. The Constabulary’s Positive Action team continue to host enhanced. support and guidance sessions for individuals who are eligible from underrepresented communities.
From how I read the response it appears that ethnic minority representation is not being seen as a priority. It describes the priority as being to get Police Officers recruited to a certain level. The priority should be about increasing ethnic minority representation both locally and nationally. There is now a golden opportunity to improve our ethnic minority representation in Forces.
I am looking at recruitment issues in Derbyshire as a whole which includes Derby City. A lot of work is being undertaken by the Constabulary to attract candidates from the BAME community and also in retaining them once appointed. We are working hard to deliver on that. The latest recruitment cohort pre summer saw 11% from the BAME Community. My focus is on being very representative whilst having regard for experience and skills and ensuring we get the right people for the job and then retaining them.