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CORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE
To be published as HC 325-i
HOUSE OF COMMONS
TAKEN BEFORE THE
Home Affairs Committee
Tuesday 19 June 2012
Chief Constable Simon Cole and Inspector Steve Riley
Evidence heard in Public Questions 1 - 41
Taken before the Home Affairs Committee
on Tuesday 19 June 2012
Keith Vaz (Chair)
Mr James Clappison
Dr Julian Huppert
Mr David Winnick
Examination of Witnesses
Witnesses: Chief Constable Simon Cole, Leicestershire Police, and Inspector Steve Riley, Leicestershire Police, gave evidence
Q1 Chair: Chief Constable and Inspector Riley, thank you very much for coming this afternoon. We have been meaning to have you in for some time, but I am afraid our agenda has been rather fluid. I want to start by asking about the Fiona Pilkington case, which is obviously a national case, though it began in Leicestershire, and I appreciate that neither you nor Inspector Riley were involved in it in respect of the original complaints. Thirty-three calls to the police, a woman committing suicide: have the lessons been learned by not just Leicestershire Police but also all the other police forces that have to deal with such behaviour?
Chief Constable Cole: I should start by stating it is obviously a tragic case that has had a huge impact on my force, but I do think also on the approach to anti-social behaviour cases nationally. Have the lessons been learnt? There have been significant changes nationally over the last five years since the death of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter. The kind of things we have seen, both within my own force and nationally, are around how calls are taken, call handling done on a risk-assessed basis straight away rather than a tick box and a compartmentalised, "It is anti-social behaviour, so this happens." It is a more negotiated response. Certainly, there has been significant training. It is interesting; there are some complexities and linkages with the session we have just caught the end of. I think a partnership approach is quite common now and a case-managed partnership approach. Certainly that is what we are doing in Leicestershire.
Q2 Chair: But practically for individuals, and every one of the members sitting around this table have had cases of anti-social behaviour, they always come along and say, "We have contacted the police. Nobody turns up and the whole street is very upset about what is going on." Give me some practical examples of how it has changed.
Chief Constable Cole: Yes. Nationally, the numbers of incidences have reduced. I accept there are still over 3 million of them, which is a significant burden. In my own force, practically, we would now case-manage and risk-manage callers straight away and come to an assessment of the factors that maybe make them vulnerable or more vulnerable. If they were regarded as high risk, we will indicate that on our control system so that call takers immediately know it. I think we are not alone. I believe this Committee wrote about 18 months ago to forces asking about the call handling systems that forces had and whether they were able to identify repeat callers. Certainly my force is one of many forces that have changed those systems. We now do have a system that does customer relations management, to use a horrible phrase. What that means is our call takers know there is a history at an address, know there is a history from a phone number and can deal with it in a context rather than in isolation.
Q3 Chair: But in Sir Denis’s last report, I think Leicestershire was one of those forces that he felt had not reacted as effectively as they could.
Chief Constable Cole: That is not my recollection of what it said.
Chair: It isn’t? So he said you were doing all right?
Chief Constable Cole: I am in an interesting place, because Sir Denis’s next report comes out tomorrow.
Chair: We have got him in in two weeks’ time. I do not know any inside information, I have to tell you.
Chief Constable Cole: I do not either, Chairman.
Q4 Chair: But you are quite happy with what he said about your force?
Chief Constable Cole: I think what he said was that we must get better at recognising repeat callers and people who may be vulnerable, and I think we have taken steps to do that. People like Steve Riley have been at the forefront of that on a practical level. What is the information that reassures me? Well, the number of incidents has dropped quite significantly and the other thing we measure is satisfaction. Chairman, you said people say they call and we do not come. We measure satisfaction with how we have dealt with incidents, and over the last three years the percentage has gone up from the mid-60s to the mid-80s. That is an important thing that we look at, because what the callers describe and what victims describe has to be key in all of this.
Q5 Chair: The community trigger, the Government’s suggestion: five people ringing you up, you have to turn up, but 17% of the public supported that figure of five in the consultation. Some wanted it more, some wanted it less, and so it is going to be left to you locally to decide. What are the criteria that you will use?
Chief Constable Cole: Well, I think it is interesting, because the Committee may or may not be aware there are three forces that have already started work on this.
Chair: No, we are not aware of it. Which ones?
Chief Constable Cole: Manchester, Lincolnshire and Sussex have started literally in the last couple of weeks. The criteria that they are using, certainly Manchester who are doing it for the whole of the city of Manchester, are using three calls from an individual or five calls from a location. Interestingly, my personal view is I think that those calls from those locations will already be within people’s systems and people will already be dealing with them, and those people will be ourselves, local authorities, housing authorities. It could be quite a spread of people. ACPO has always been supportive of the trigger, and we think it is a good idea.
Q6 Chair: But we are going to get almost a postcode lottery. If you go into Leicestershire it is three calls and you are out; if you go into Hertfordshire it is five calls and you are out. Why do we have these local criteria?
Chief Constable Cole: I think that one of the pushbacks that I would have, and I think other colleagues would have, is that there needs to be a decision about how local this is and whether this is local for partners, be that at district, county or force level with police and crime commissioners, who will have a role in that, or whether we want a national system.
Q7 Chair: Should they have a role? Should the new police and crime commissioners for Leicestershire be the community trigger? If we ring them up three times, they should be the ones to-
Chief Constable Cole: I do not think that should be their role. I think they should have an oversight role. I would be surprised if anti-social behaviour does not come in any kind of strategic assessment or look at all the localities that this Committee covers. I think they should have a governance role, and they clearly have a governance role for the police, but this is probably the "and crime" bit of police and crime commissioners, which is around community safety partnerships and the broader partnership, who will be needed to deal with some of these issues because, candidly, one of the reasons that people have to call repeatedly is that these things are quite complex.
Q8 Chair: Inspector Riley, finally to you. You are on the frontline; you are dealing with this every day.
Inspector Riley: Yes.
Chair: I am not suggesting the Chief Constable is not, but you are out there commanding an area of Leicestershire. What do you think the public expect of the police that you are not able to deliver on at the moment in this area?
Inspector Riley: I think they expect us to arrive promptly and deal with their problems effectively. I think partially what we have to do is manage their expectations, and in terms of the call that we receive that is to put it into the context of everything else that is going on in the area. I think certainly in Leicestershire-I can only speak for Leicestershire-there has been a real cultural shift among officers in Leicestershire in understanding the ramifications of anti-social behaviour. We talk about how the police may be contacted by traditional methods on the phone. There are lots of other methods nowadays as well, face-to-face with officers, via email, text message. There are a lot of anti-social behaviour incidents that are reported to Keyham Lane Police Station, where I work in Leicestershire, that are over email, to a group email system that we pick up on and then we will work with those residents. So I think, to answer your question, where we perhaps could improve is managing people’s expectations, that we can’t just make these issues go away instantly. Sometimes it is a long process, but together with our partners we will try to resolve the issue for them.
Q9 Alun Michael: Chief Constable, you said that the number of incidents had fallen. By what measure? We know that there are a lot of areas where under-reporting is an issue, so what are the objective measures? Can you tell us that, as you put it, incidents have fallen, or is just that reported incidents have fallen?
Chief Constable Cole: Reported incidents have fallen.
Q10 Alun Michael: That does not really help, does it?
Chief Constable Cole: Well, as with anything, we can deal with what we know about. Yes, I can say reported incidents have fallen.
Q11 Alun Michael: An objective measurement, in relation to violence, is looking at the number of people who need treatments at an A&E. That is an independent measure, as distinct from reported figures. What sort of independent measure do you use to look at whether the reality is improving?
Chief Constable Cole: I think the other thing that we are doing is a very local response, which would be down to district and below that level, which would be for us through neighbourhood teams, asking local people, "What are the top three things that are your concerns?" and then doing something about that, and obviously we are not alone in doing that. Local councils are doing that as well, so that brings it together. The British Crime Survey-which I should now probably correct is the Crime Survey for England and Wales, I believe I now have to call it-always used to have some metrics in it about relative levels of reporting. I am very aware of your personal experience with the Cardiff accident and emergency set-up.
In term of reported incidents, what else can we look at? Overall confidence in the police for my area has increased as well, so that would suggest a good picture, but I would absolutely accept there are things that people have not reported, they maybe do not have the confidence, and that might vary from community to community for different reasons. So the way I think we can go about that is being accessible, visible, working through neighbourhood teams, working with other public authorities at a local level so we sort out what is really going on, because otherwise the figures are just sort of abstract things. They do not make a difference to people’s lives, do they, and that is what we are trying to achieve. The numbers are just an indicator of, "Is life improving or not?"
Q12 Lorraine Fullbrook: The Government believes that anti-social behaviour varies significantly from one area to another, and therefore the White Paper has a more localised approach to how this is dealt with. Do you agree with this approach?
Chief Constable Cole: If I can start with Leicestershire and sort of work out, we think it is a very varied area. Steve works in a complex city; we then have rural areas that are complex in a different way. What we have tried to do is talk about harm because it does vary in terms of what it is and its impact, so if I go to meetings in my rural communities anti-social behaviour will be about speeding vehicles quite often. That is the biggest detriment to some village communities. That is a very different problem from the sort of stereotypical youths hanging around, so there does need to be an ability to have local solutions, yes. I am not sure I completely buy the sense that anti-social behaviour-you all represent a disparate set of areas in the country. I bet if we have a conversation, you will have similar themes in your towns, cities and rural areas.
Q13 Lorraine Fullbrook: Sorry, I am not sure. Do you agree with the localised approach or don’t you?
Chief Constable Cole: I think you have to have a localised approach in terms of solving the problems because to solve the longer-term problems you need a combination of people around the table, which is us, health, often with the mental health wing to it. You have just had evidence about drugs with a hint of alcohol. That is often part of it. That is best done at a local level around specific local problems.
Q14 Lorraine Fullbrook: So you would agree in essence with the Government’s White Paper?
Chief Constable Cole: I think, yes, local solutions are going to work best, and that is going to be enhanced, I think, by the police and crime commissioners, who will have an ability to be involved in that. I do not think there is ever a one size fits all solution to this, because it involves people.
Q15 Lorraine Fullbrook: But that is exactly what the Government’s White Paper is about, so I am quite surprised for you to be hopping and skipping there because it is about a localised approach. For example, in Greater Manchester, the issues that will happen there on anti-social behaviour will be completely different to those in my constituency in Lancashire, so it would be a different method of dealing with it and different things that are happening within the community at that given time.
Chief Constable Cole: I am sorry if I gave the impression of hopping and skipping.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Yes, you did.
Chief Constable Cole: I was not trying to hop and skip. I think you need a local solution. How much of a national framework you need in that, because some of the techniques-I think we probably all agree that a problem-solving approach using multi-agencies is a good thing.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Sure.
Chief Constable Cole: I don’t suppose there are many places will go a different route than that to try to solve it.
Q16 Lorraine Fullbrook: So I think you agree with the Government’s White Paper.
Chief Constable Cole: I think I agree. There is a danger I agree with you there, I think, isn’t there?
Lorraine Fullbrook: Okay, I think that is where we have got to.
Chair: Thank you.
Q17 Lorraine Fullbrook: I have not finished. It is about the national approach, as in how you all deal with it. Are there any aspects of a national approach that you find particularly frustrating and where you would prefer more freedom to develop solutions locally?
Chief Constable Cole: I should say that I recently inherited the local policing business area for ACPO. That includes the workstream on anti-social behaviour. Through that what we have tried to do was to get a sense of a national approach with the eight pilot areas who did the different call handling and risk assessment pilots, which were deliberately spread across different sorts of areas. The advantage of that is the discussion we have just had, which is local solutions that are tailored and people have ownership of. The disadvantage is what the Chairman has alluded to, which is there is some risk in difference. I think it depends. There is probably a political decision there about how bothered you are that it is different, because I think the Chairman used the phrase "a postcode lottery".
Are there things that frustrate? I think broadly ACPO feels it has been involved in the creation of this White Paper and we would welcome anything that streamlines the measures that are available, because it is quite complex. There are 19 different measures, and we would welcome the proposal to streamline. I think the challenge, the frustration maybe-and it links to the discussion you have just had about drugs for me-is we probably see the same people come back time and time again. So there is something about how as a society we can reduce recidivism, be that crime or anti-social behaviour, because we do see the same people coming through again and again, and there is probably a considerable overlap with the offenders into other offending types.
Q18 Lorraine Fullbrook: I do not agree with the Chairman when he says it is a postcode lottery. I do think that anti-social behaviour varies, depending on whether it is a rural or an urban area.
Chief Constable Cole: One person’s anti-social behaviour is another person’s good night out.
Lorraine Fullbrook: Yes.
Chair: Indeed, and members of the Committee are allowed to disagree with the Chairman on these issues.
Q19 Mr Winnick: Chief Constable, returning to the mention made by the Chair in your answers regarding the tragic case of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter, the fact of the matter is, as the IPCC report on the case stated, there were systems in place, were there not?
Chief Constable Cole: There were. Obviously it pre-dated me personally. The IPCC report points out that there could have been better sharing of information, both within the police service and with partners. I think that is the key issue. It also is generous enough to point out all the things that had happened in the meantime before its report was published, because there was a bit of a time delay. There were systems in place. They probably did not work as effectively as we would have wished and there was information that was not as effectively shared. In essence, as that report highlights, the acute level of vulnerability of the family was not highlighted and dealt with at the acute level that it was. What have we tried to do about that? We have tried to have a locally based structure, which we call Joint Action Groups, and I am sure that members of the Committee will have different groups in their areas, which gets people round the table. It has a product put in front of it that is about repeat locations and repeat victims and then the task of that group-and people like Steve would be involved in those groups-is to provide appropriate support and try to stop the patterns of anti-social behaviour.
Q20 Mr Winnick: It took the lives of two people to bring this about, didn’t it?
Chief Constable Cole: I understand absolutely the sentiment. I think the force has always maintained the position that it could have dealt with the incident differently and more effectively, and we have always said that. I think that the report acknowledges the fact that we have tried to change things as a consequence.
Q21 Mr Winnick: But it took two lives, Chief Constable. You are not disputing that?
Chief Constable Cole: I came in after that, so I inherited-
Mr Winnick: Yes, I understand, Chief Constable. No one is blaming you. It is just a question of whether one accepts that the suicide of the two could have been prevented and the suicide led to the changes that we are talking about now.
Chief Constable Cole: I do not think we will ever know if it could have been prevented, but I think we would accept that it has changed. I think probably my start point of what my evidence was is that it has caused my force, and I think policing in general, to look at anti-social behaviour in terms of its impact and its harm and it has probably accelerated that, absolutely.
Q22 Mr Winnick: Would it be right to come to the conclusion that not only in the area where you are the Chief Constable but throughout the police force as a whole the complaints about persistent harassment by youths or anyone else is taken much more seriously?
Chief Constable Cole: My personal view, and I used to police the West Midlands, which is where you represent-
Mr Winnick: I know. Yes, indeed. That is where you started.
Chief Constable Cole: It is where I started. At the time I was policing the West Midlands, the performance frameworks we were working to and the agendas we were working to started the move into neighbourhood policing. That was the significant change, because I think there was a recognition there that that sort of perception of a distant service in patrol cars that had some token neighbourhood presence that responded to things was not the most effective way of dealing with issues such as anti-social behaviour. The move to neighbourhood policing and the move into police community support officers were conscious moves by the service to try to change it, along the lines you have described.
Q23 Mr Winnick: Yes, but Chief Constable, coming back to my question, since the tragedy that occurred, the Pilkington case, would it be right to say that in Leicestershire and throughout the police force, including the West Midlands for that matter, such harassment or complaints about harassment is taken much more seriously?
Chief Constable Cole: I think it is, and I think that is supported by work such as the HMIC’s report, Stop the rot, and I think police authorities as well have also made anti-social behaviour a key part of the agenda and local framework. So that is a yes.
Q24 Bridget Phillipson: Chief Constable, you have talked a lot about partnership work and its importance in tackling anti-social behaviour. Who are your partners in Leicestershire and what potential barriers or difficulties do you face working with other agencies?
Chief Constable Cole: Yes. The partners are pretty broad, but in effect the district councils, the county council, the city council. We also have an elected city mayor. They are all key partners, as are the other blue light services. I am also leading for ACPO on some work around mental health. I would say as well there is a very big link here between substance abuse, also with mental health; so, a whole picture of local communities, Neighbourhood Watch, that whole sense of a community changing.
What are the barriers? The biggest barrier I think is around perceptions around data and information sharing. I always wonder if the Data Protection Act had been called the Data Sharing Act whether the world would be a different place. I think there is an issue there about, firstly, overcoming understandable perhaps cultural barriers about what we can share and why, but also then about how do we do it. We have just moved in recent months to a shared database where we are case managing anti-social behaviour, which partners all have access to. We are in the early months of that. It is quite different, but it does give you that whole picture that was perhaps missing in the case that Mr Winnick has asked about. The other barrier will be around training. I think the other thing that we cannot predict is the impact of the age of austerity on all those different agencies and whether all will want to maintain such a focus as they currently do on anti-social behaviour.
Q25 Bridget Phillipson: It is interesting that you refer to data sharing because during our hearings last week into child exploitation that was raised there, that people sometimes misunderstand what can or cannot be shared and that really, in order to keep people safe, data protection should not be used as a barrier to prevent sharing of information.
Chief Constable Cole: I absolutely agree.
Q26 Bridget Phillipson: In my area, one of the key partners in tackling anti-social behaviour and working with the police is the major housing provider, the major housing association, but the difficulty that I sometimes see in constituency cases is where you have private landlords who are the landlord, and the difficulties in engaging private landlords in taking their responsibilities seriously when there are problems with tenants. Is that your experience as well?
Chief Constable Cole: Certainly we would engage with housing providers, and my understanding of some of the White Paper is it would enable an extension of the use of perhaps civil level powers by housing providers, which I would see as helpful.
Inspector Riley: Certainly from my point of view at a local level, yes, that is the case. Our neighbourhood teams would tend to engage with those sort of private landlords and those providers and generally our partners in housing will have good links with them anyway. There are other measures you can take against private landlords further down the line if you have persistent nuisance or anti-social behaviour from a premises. But yes, it can be an issue from time to time.
Q27 Bridget Phillipson: Just again in terms of the constituency cases that I see, sometimes I think there can be confusion about there being clarity or it being a neighbourhood dispute. I appreciate that these issues are complex and sometimes it is a simple case of disputes between neighbours, but I am sure you will see cases as I do where one person may complain as being a victim of harassment, there will then be a counterclaim by the person who is doing the harassing, and then there is the suggestion of mediation, which often is not appropriate. It can get quite messy.
Inspector Riley: Yes. I can give examples where exactly the situation you describe has taken place and mediation has worked between the parties, and I can give you examples of cases where it has been going on for seven or eight months, where due to the vulnerability of both persons involved-and it was a noise dispute between two adjoining houses-it was managed at quite a high level involving partner agencies and the police for a sustained period of time and resulted in having a significant amount of resources being put into it. When people refuse to engage in those circumstances, how you can ever solve it is a very difficult question.
Chief Constable Cole: I think that point Steve just made plays out. A number of these issues are about behaviour, accepting responsibility, and I was struck by the evidence you just heard, particularly from the lady, I think her name was Annette, who sat here, around you can take a horse to water, but how do you get people beyond that point of sort of enforcement when they will completely, properly engage and change something about their behaviour, which might be how they live their life and the noise they make, it might be about drink, it might be about drugs? I think that is the real challenge, and how far we are prepared to go to enforce that is a big issue.
Q28 Bridget Phillipson: Just one final question. How effective do you feel ASBOs have been in tackling anti-social behaviour, and what do you think about the new measures and how they will work?
Chief Constable Cole: I guess we should remember that it did not exist once, and there were lots of cases where they have worked. I think why I am supportive of some of the streamlining proposals is that quite a complex landscape has developed there. While we are sat here talking, there are officers, PCSOs and housing officers trying to make all this work and there are so many options that they sometimes revert to the one that they are most comfortable with, which might not be the right one, so I am supportive of anything that can streamline that. Broadly, I am aware of the breach figures, but there are lots of punishments that get breached that are imposed by courts. There are lots of cases where they have worked, but I think there is a case for streamlining it and making it more easy to use, and I think that builds on what Steve said, which was around I think what the victims want is to see something happen. They want to see they have made it happen, and it could be a big step to report something, "Well, what has happened as a consequence and has it got better?" and I think some of the proposals could enable that.
Q29 Nicola Blackwood: One of the major concerns that I have arose from visiting a learning disabilities charity in my patch, where I was horrified to learn that the majority of those present with learning disabilities had experienced some level of bullying, harassment or anti-social behaviour in their area. The Government has published its hate crimes strategy, and I just wondered how you saw that playing into your anti-social behaviour way and how you saw greater training for those on the frontline. It seems that most officers want to be able to deal with this issue, but perhaps are not quite confident in dealing with it.
Chief Constable Cole: I also lead for ACPO on mental health and disability issues-
Nicola Blackwood: So you are the perfect person to talk about it. Excellent.
Chief Constable Cole: I am currently involved in work with the EHRC, who published Hidden in Plain Sight, the report on hate crime. I think what we can do in terms of training and familiarising officers, you have raised specifically learning disabilities-it is Learning Disabilities Week this week, I believe, is it not?
Nicola Blackwood: It might be.
Chief Constable Cole: My sense would be that what we have tried to do in my own force is make sure that officers and staff can see things that might mean in that particular situation somebody is vulnerable, and that might be about learning disability, it might be about physical disability, and it is purely situational, and they need to be able to recognise that. So I think it is giving people the ability at 2 am when it is happening to say, "I am concerned here." What we have then done is create a framework of referral, which we have invested in, because often those are not going to be sorted out at 2 am by the first officer that attends, but they need to be able to recognise what may make somebody vulnerable. We will all have different tolerance levels to anti-social behaviour and different perceptions of it. So I think it is important that we get people to that level of understanding so they can flag up, "This may be an issue." That is where the information sharing bit comes in, because probably then we need a combination of it may be an advocate on behalf of an individual, it may be a voluntary group, but we need the right people around the table to say, "How do we sort this out?" So I think the answer is to raise officer awareness, and not just police officers, officers in other agencies as well.
Q30 Alun Michael: Can I just raise a supplementary point in relation to the anti-social behaviour orders? The whole point was to make it easier to persuade people to report and give evidence by meeting the civil burden of proof, and therefore being able to use professional witnesses and so on, and therefore to put people on the understanding they are at risk of criminal prosecution and punishment. Has part of it worked, do you think, in your experience?
Chief Constable Cole: The fact is that although about 40% are breached, we should not lose sight of that means that 50%-odd are not, so it has worked and it has worked in the sense that it has achieved to an extent what you described. You were the architect of it, as I recollect.
Alun Michael: That is why I asked the question. Thank you for that.
Chief Constable Cole: There is always a danger. In the Government White Paper, the figure that is quoted is 42% are breached, but of course that means 58% weren’t.
Q31 Alun Michael: Yes. Are you satisfied in the Government proposals that this issue of enabling people to feel confident in reporting and giving evidence will be maintained?
Chief Constable Cole: Going back to the point about local, people will make that decision on a very local basis. They are not going to look at the national statistics on these things. They are going to make a judgement about do they trust their local authority, do they trust the local neighbourhood team to do something about it, what is the experience of others who have reported-that kind of confidence will be generated locally.
Inspector Riley: I think sometimes some of the frustrations around anti-social behaviour orders is the length of time it takes to compile one and get one before the courts. Sometimes when you go to victims of anti-social behaviour, managing their expectations, as I said at the beginning, "This is not going to be a quick process, but work with us, we will protect you as much as we can in the interim", but it does take a period of time, and the evidential burden, I know it is a balance of probabilities but what is asked for is quite significant.
Q32 Alun Michael: But the streamlining is going to be the biggest practical element?
Chief Constable Cole: Yes, and I think if it can be streamlined then that will give people more confidence in terms of that.
Q33 Alun Michael: Thank you. The concept of anti-social behaviour is a problem that we have fairly recently defined, in the last 12, 13 years, but there are a lot of the factors that underlie this, the issues we were hearing about earlier in relation to drugs, drink, dysfunctional families, a whole series of issues there. What is your view about the hope of finding ways of tackling some of those underlying factors?
Chief Constable Cole: I think that has already started, and I am not saying it is a perfect world. I think one of the reasons for a reduction in my own force area, and I would guess it plays out nationally as well, is that there is some join-up around why people are behaving in that way. Is it because of a troubled family, as I now believe we should call them, is it about drugs, is it about drink, and then what is the access to those services? I think that has already started. The challenge in what is proposed is if somebody has an order that says, "You will no longer drink", are we going to get to the point where we imprison somebody if they breach that order? That is the sort of logical extent of that is where you are going to go, isn’t it? You are going to get to that point. I think that kind of problem-solving work is crucial.
I was struck by the evidence about the impact of alcohol that I just overheard. My sense would be if you look at public services as a whole, there is a bit that would probably be called "failure demand" in some circles and we are often picking that up, which is where interventions have not been effective-some of them are by us, some might be restorative justice or mediation-and then we are trying to deal with the consequences of that. So I think some of the changes to the landscape, it is really important that things like health and wellbeing boards and the commissioning groups around GPs look perhaps beyond the obvious medical landscape and look at the wider society. I am speaking to somebody who I know is a PCC candidate, there is a big role for PCCs in that, in the new world, just as there is a role for authorities in it now. But I think a PCC perhaps will be able to put some impetus behind that debate.
Chair: I am sure Mr Michael is relieved to hear that you think there is a role for PCCs. You are not applying for the south Wales job then?
Chief Constable Cole: I do not reside there, Chairman, so I could not.
Q34 Chair: Have you been consulted by Keith Bristow on the National Crime Agency? Have you had any meetings as a Chief Constable as to how that will affect Leicestershire?
Chief Constable Cole: Yes, Chiefs have been briefed and there is imminently-
Chair: We understand briefed, but have you been asked about the role of Leicestershire in the new-
Chief Constable Cole: Yes, absolutely, and what I was just going to say is that all the Assistant Chief Constables Crime are about to have, I believe, a seminar session working through how that works, because I think the key thing is about how assets are tasked, so who is going to own which crime group, target them and what is the relationship in terms of tasking the resource.
Q35 Chair: So that is one goal. We had Chris Simms and Lynne Owens here about privatisation. Is Leicestershire’s name among those authorities that they speak on behalf of in respect of the discussions?
Chief Constable Cole: It is, yes, and we are also named. Lincolnshire also have an OJEU, the procurement notice. We are listed on both.
Q36 Chair: What is happening about that? Are you outsourcing anything from Leicestershire?
Chief Constable Cole: Well, as we are sat here now, without even going into those contracts, we outsource about £8 million of a £170 million budget. That is things like interpreters, care in custody. That will extend. One of the things, probably answering Mr Michael’s question, is NHS-commissioned care going into police custody blocks is a very interesting addition to this debate and also the debate before around drugs. I think there is a real opportunity in that. We already outsource £8 million on the basis that these are functions that we need to have done that support what we do but they are not core to what we do.
Q37 Chair: But are you part of this new bidding process?
Chief Constable Cole: Absolutely, yes. We are listed on there, because I think it will give us an option to consider when we see what the next CSR-
Q38 Chair: So you have a list of things you want to have outsourced at the moment?
Chief Constable Cole: No, that is going too far. I have a set of functions that are not about warranted powers that I would be interested to know whether someone could do better and/or cheaper.
Q39 Chair: So you want to go on the date but you haven’t bought your frock?
Chief Constable Cole: Yes, I have the shoes but not the frock.
Q40 Chair: Okay. To you, Inspector Riley, you have just been quoted about stop and search in Leicestershire. The EHRC is very critical of Leicestershire’s record on this in terms of stop and search. Anything to tell the Committee about that?
Inspector Riley: I met one of the EHRC members yesterday. He said he was impressed with how far we had come on our journey in the last 18 months, both in terms of the processes we have in place and some of the analysis we can do around our stop-search now. I think we are at a bit of a crossroads in Leicestershire now, where we still have an element of disproportionality in terms of who we stop-search, but those numbers are very, very small. It may be that there are some other factors that come into play around that that we need to examine, but I know we have certainly given a contract to a local university to conduct some independent research away from us to see if they can shed any more light on that, but our journey in the last 18 months has been significant.
Q41 Chair: Last Saturday, of course, somebody was murdered in Leicester in Gypsy Lane. Was that anti-social behaviour? There were allegations that a gang went into a shop. Can you update us on what is happening?
Chief Constable Cole: My sense would be, yes, there would be an element of anti-social behaviour. There was an incident involving a group going into a shop. There was then a subsequent incident involving the deceased, as he now tragically is, and an altercation with the group. We are investigating that. We made seven arrests last week. They are all on bail and that investigation continues. We are getting really good support from local people. We need some more of that support in terms of information to support the potential prosecution of people, but it goes without saying it is a dreadful and tragic case, and yes, there was an altercation 11-ish on the Saturday evening.
Chair: Chief Constable, Inspector Riley, thank you very much for coming in to see us.