Agenda and minutes

Safer Policy and Performance Board - Tuesday, 14th November, 2023 6.30 p.m.

Venue: The Board Room - Municipal Building, Widnes. View directions

Contact: Kim Butler on 0151 511 7496 or e-mail 

No. Item


Chair's Announcements


          There were no Chair’s announcements to be made.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 95 KB


          The Minutes of the meeting held on 12 September 2023 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.




          It was reported that no public questions had been received. 


Cheshire Fire Authority Draft 2024-2028 Community Risk Management Plan pdf icon PDF 68 KB


          The Board received a presentation from the Chief Fire Officer of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, which outlined the proposed changes to fire and rescue provision across Cheshire. 


          Cheshire Fire Authority was in the process of consulting on its draft 2024-2028 Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP), which outlined a series of proposals to help achieve its vision of a Cheshire where there were no deaths, injuries or damages from fires and other emergencies.  The aim of the CRMP was to deliver more fire prevention and protection activities in order to reduce risks in the community and it proposed several changes to the way in which emergency cover was provided for a better response across Cheshire. 


          Members were advised that 1.1 million residents lived across Cheshire and there were 28 fire stations and 35 fire engines.  Seventeen of those engines were full-time and 18 were on-call.  Members also noted that the main cause of fire was smoking materials and older people were 26 times more likely to die in a fire.  Other causes of fire included wildfires and lithium batteries.


          The draft CRMP aimed to deliver more fire prevention and protection activities to reduce risk in the community and proposed several changes to the way in which emergency cover was provided, in order to deliver a better response across Cheshire.  Details of the prevention, protection and response proposals were set out in the report. 


          The overall package of proposals would cost an additional £57k, however this would be funded through efficiencies within existing budgets.


          The consultation process started in October 2023 and would end in January 2024.  Thereafter, the initial feedback would be reviewed and the new CRMP would be launched in April 2024.  The new model would be implemented in January 2025.


Members of the Board were reminded about the joint working arrangements in place in terms of emergency planning which included the Fire Service as well as other partner agencies.  This included work with the 9 COMAH sites in Halton and the Safety Advisory Groups, which were run to ensure public safety for events such as Creamfields which attracted 70,000 people into the Borough every year. 


Following discussions, it was agreed that the Council would explore how the home visits made by the Fire Service could be optimised in Halton. 


          RESOLVED:  That the presentation be received. 


The Corporate Plan - The Big Conversation Update pdf icon PDF 85 KB


The Board received a presentation which provided an update on ‘The Big Conversation’. 


The Board previously received a report about the ’The Big Conversation’ at its meeting in June and were reminded that the initiative was about engaging with the public so that they understood the challenges that the Council was facing.  It was an approach between the Council and those who lived or worked in Halton to work together to create an improved Borough in all aspects of everyday life.  A stakeholder analysis and a Communication Plan had been developed in order to generate and establish as many opportunities as possible to involve all stakeholders in many different ways.


Members were advised that up until 13 November over 1,000 responses had been received and a breakdown of responses by source was provided.  The report outlined the promotion, consultation and engagement carried out so far, as well as the emerging themes.  The gaps and actions were set out and some examples were given to how these had been addressed e.g. visits made to Riverside College and Family Hubs in both Runcorn and Widnes; information had been shared via social media to target relevant groups; and iWalkers had targeted those wards with low responses.  


It was noted that the consultation would end on 30 November 2023, after which an analysis would be undertaken to identify the key priorities.  January and February 2024 would see further consultation with stakeholders prior to the Corporate Plan being finalised in March, ready for its launch in April 2024.


Members of the Board discussed the report and they suggested that further youth organisations be approached; these would be identified by the Board.  They also suggested that the Catalyst Museum be contacted.  


RESOLVED:  That the Board


1)    note the report; and


2)    continue to endorse the approach to facilitate ‘The Big Conversation’.


Councillor Aimee Skinner left the meeting.


Anti-social Behaviour tools and powers pdf icon PDF 79 KB


          The Board received a report from the Executive Director – Environment and Regeneration, which provided an overview of the tools and powers that were available to the Council in response to anti-social behaviour.


          The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 sets out powers to tackle anti-social behaviour and the guidance for Local Authorities was refreshed in March 2023. 


The legislation required the relevant local agencies to be satisfied that the specific legal tests and safeguards set out in the legislation were met before the 2014 Act powers were used. These tests were intended to help ensure the appropriate and proportionate use of the powers and that they were used to target specific problems or specific circumstances.  Those powers were:


·       Early and Informal Interventions;

·       Civil Injunctions;

·       Criminal Behaviour Order;

·       Community Protection Notice; and

·       Public Space Protection Order


Members were advised that the Council worked collaboratively with partner organisations to tackle anti-social behaviour.


The Board discussed the report and following discussions, Members were advised to email the community enforcement mailbox with any concerns.  They were also reminded that they could direct residents, who had ongoing anti-social behaviour issues, to the Council website where they could request an Anti-Social Behaviour Case Review.  It was noted that there were criteria for this which was outlined on the website.  


RESOLVED:  That the Board note the contents of the report.


Youth Diversionary Activity pdf icon PDF 76 KB


          The Board considered a report from the Executive Director – Environment and Regeneration regarding the diversionary activity for young people in the Borough. 


          VIBE was commissioned by the Council to deliver engagement with young people three nights per week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) in both Runcorn and Widnes.  Youth Workers target hotspots identified by the Safer Halton Partnership and support young people by developing relationships and connect them into positive activities. 


          VIBE had extensive partnership work in the Borough with a number of agencies and funding sources including:


·       Good Choices – funded by Cheshire Police;

·       Positive Vibes Programme – funded by Cheshire Police;

·       Short Breaks Group Support Service (Saturday Club) – funded by Halton Council;

·       Vibe Outdoors – Sports Short Breaks – funded by Halton Council (Short Breaks Grant);

·       Inclusive Needs Club – funded by Halton Council (Young People’s Grant);

·       Where’s Your Head At? – funded by The Arconic Foundation;

·       Detached Youth Club – Hallwood Park & Palacefields – funded by Riverside;

·       Detached Youth Club – Windmill Hill – funded by Windmill Hill Big Local; and

·       Halton Youth Cabinet – funded by Halton Council


During the school summer holidays 2023, VIBE was one of many providers who engaged with children and young people in holiday activities and food sessions at Crow Wood Park, Runcorn Ski Centre and Windmill Hill areas.  This was funded by the Department of Education. 


The Council also commissioned VIBE to:


·       Provide a youth club targeting support for young people impacted by parental drug and alcohol use; and

·       Develop and deliver a resilience programme targeted at young people at risk of county lines and exploitation. 


RESOLVED:  That the Board note the contents of the report.


Mischief, Halloween & Bonfire Impacts pdf icon PDF 54 KB


          The Board received a verbal update on the experience and impacts of Mischief Night, Halloween and Bonfire Night across the Borough.


          Members were advised that according to Police reports, it had been one of the quietest periods over the last few years.  There had been some hotspots in some locations across the Borough but, overall the feedback received had been positive.  


          Members of the Board also reported that they had received information about some incidents, one in particular where some cars had been vandalised on Mischief Night.   It was suggested that some incidents had gone unreported. 


          It was noted that in previous years, money had been allocated to clean up the Borough following bonfires and damaged cause on Mischief Night. However, as this service was not required in 2022, no budget had been allocated for this year.  The service had again not been required during the Mischief and Bonfire period 2023.


          RESOLVED:  That the Board note the report.