Public Access Strategy

Reference code: 
PCD 284
Date signed: 
31 October 2017
Authorisation name: 
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, Policing and Crime

Executive summary

The Police and Crime Plan 2017-21 identified the importance of access and engagement of the public with London policing.  Proposals were put forward in the draft Public Access and Engagement strategy for improving access and engagement reflecting the changing way that Londoners were contacting the MPS, and the difficult financial position MOPAC is facing.  A consultation on the detailed proposals was carried out between 14 July and 6 October, and this paper requests approval of the public access strategy, with further work to be carried out on engagement.

Recommendation

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is requested to approve: 
1.    the Public Access Strategy attached at Appendix 1A, including
a.    changes to 3 of the 5 front counter facilities, compared to the original proposals, to be followed with further public consultation where appropriate;
b.    additional DWO Community Contact Sessions in the 9 (4 new and 5 existing) communities where travel time to a front counter by public transport is of 60 minutes or more, for a 6 month pilot period;
c.    Ruislip Police Station remaining in operational use;
d.    a Front Counter to be established close to Grenfell Tower for a minimum of 24 months, (subject to local discussion and agreement);
e.    the Safer Neighbourhood (SN) Bases remaining open to serve as DWO bases, as listed in Annex 5 of the strategy, and

The Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime is requested to note: 
2.    the capital receipts to be generated, estimated at £164m, and annual revenue savings of £8m
3.    that no SN base will be closed without an adequate replacement. In exceptional circumstances, where a landlord is demanding excessive rent increases, a temporary solution requiring greater travel distances may be sought enabling the SN base to close whilst a more cost effective solution is delivered.
 

Non-confidential facts and advice to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (DMPC)

1.    Introduction and background

1.1.    The Police and Crime Plan 2017-21 recognised how important public access and engagement is to ensuring that London is a safer city for all Londoners.  It identified the changing ways in which Londoners want to access services and information, and the need for the MPS to improve its channels of communication.  The range of access and engagement from Dedicated Ward Officers (DWO’s) being visible out on the beat to digital forms of access were described. 

1.2.    MOPAC made a commitment to consult with communities on how to ensure that public access and engagement was best tailored to meeting the needs of Londoners.  The consultation was launched in July and ran from 14 July to 6 October 2017.  

1.3.    The draft public access and engagement strategy referred to new on-line ways of reporting, more dedicated DWOs with bases closer to their community, and fully equipped to work and engage with the public on the go and at notified times and places, and one 24/7 front counter in every Borough.

2.    Issues for consideration

2.1    The 12 week consultation was carried out through a range of mechanisms in order to maximise the opportunity for Londoners to make their response. These included the Public Access Consultation online survey, acceptance of written communications (email and letter), and a joint MOPAC/MPS meeting was held in every London Borough. In addition, meetings were also held with specific interest groups such as elderly and youth, and offers made to meet with key stakeholders such as all council leaders and all local MP’s in London. 


2.2    The consultation was undertaken when the proposals in the draft strategy were still at a formative stage, and adequate time was given to allow those consulted with to respond.  There were 1,687 responses to the online survey and 900 written communications.  The borough meetings had over 1,500 attendees. We also received 8 petitions with over 14,500 signatures highlighting high levels of public awareness of the process.


2.3    All responses to the consultation were given careful consideration, and read and analysed. This analysis has then been taken into account in formulating the final Strategy. The consultation responses were analysed both by theme and on a borough by borough basis.  


2.4        An Equality Impact Assessment has been prepared, following feedback received during the consultation process which sets out the impact on various protected groups and any mitigation measures which will be put in place. 


2.5    Valuable feedback was received about public engagement throughout the consultation and this work will now be considered separately. A new approach to public engagement will then be announced next year.


2.6    Having heard the representations from Londoners our response to each of the issues identified has been addressed – see the various ‘Consultation Feedback’ sections in the strategy. 

3.    Financial Comments

3.1    The Public Access Strategy will generate £164m of capital receipts and this resource will be used to re-invest in the estate to be retained and in funding the Met’s capital programme to improve the equipment available to police officers.  This is a reduction of £6.5m compared to the proposals presented in the draft strategy and will be managed through anticipated increases in other capital receipts or a reduction in future capital projects.

3.2    The closure of the sites set out in the strategy will also deliver £8m p.a. revenue savings when all the changes are made.  This will contribute to the wider property savings target of £59m by 2021/22, and to mitigating the overall financial pressures facing MOPAC/MPS.  There will be financial implications resulting from the provision of a daytime front counter near Grenfell Tower, subject to local discussion and agreement. The changes from the proposals presented in the draft strategy result in reduced savings and additional costs, in total £1.3m, which will be added to the revenue pressures facing the MPS and addressed as part of the annual budget submission.

4.    Legal Comments

4.1    Section 3 (6) of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (“the Act”) provides the MOPAC must secure the maintenance of the Metropolitan Police force, and secure that the Metropolitan Police force is efficient and effective.

4.2    Section 8(3) of the Act provides that MOPAC must, in exercising the functions of the Office, have regard to its police and crime plan. Paragraph 1 of this report provides that MOPAC is satisfying this requirement.

4.3    In carrying out its functions, MOPAC may, under Schedule 3 paragraph 7 (1) of the Act, “do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of the functions of the Office”.  This includes, at paragraph 7 (2) entering into contracts and other agreements, in addition to acquiring and disposing of property (including land). MOPAC has the power to dispose of property (including land) under paragraph 7 (2) (b) of Schedule 3 of the Act.

4.4    MOPAC’s scheme of consent and delegation provides that the Mayor has delegated the approval of significant strategies to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime (“the DMPC”). The DMPC therefore has the power to approve this Strategy

4.5    MOPAC is required to comply with the public sector equality duty set out in section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010.This requires MOPAC to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations by reference to people with protected characteristics. The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The Equalities Comments provide the detail as to how MOPAC has undertaken this obligation.

5.    Equality Comments

5.1    In light of MOPAC’s section 149 Equality Act 2010 duties an equality impact assessment has been undertaken. The section 149 Equality Act duty is a continuing duty and consideration of that duty includes that due regard is given by MOPAC to its section 149 duty from the initial planning of the Strategy, through the consultation process (which included that the process itself was accessible and comprehensive), to the creation of the final Strategy.  

5.2    MOPAC ensured that the responses that were received during the consultation on the impact of its proposals on the “protected groups” and MOPAC’s evaluation of the impact were fully taken into account in the preparation of this Strategy. Ongoing regard will be had to these obligations when considering how to implement proposals in the Strategy and any impacts will be addressed at this stage. 

5.3    The Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) has been published alongside this strategy. 

6.    Supporting papers

Appendix 1 - Public Access Strategy
Equality Impact Assessment (EIA)