Agenda item

Annual Community Safety Partnership Scrutiny 2023

To receive presentations from the Police Borough Commander for Reigate and Banstead and the Leader of the Council, to review the work of the Reigate and Banstead Community Safety Partnership in 2023.


The Chair welcomed the Leader of the Council, Councillor Biggs, Borough Commander Inspector Jon Vale, Sergeant Rob Staplehurst, Justine Chatfield, Head of Community Partnerships and Isabel Wootton, Partnerships Team Leader, to the meeting.

The Leader reported that although Reigate and Banstead was a relatively safe borough, there was no room for complacency and that it was crucial for the Council to work effectively with local partners, through the Community Safety Partnership, to tackle community safety issues where they arise. Through the Managing Director, who is the Chair, and the combination of statutory and non-statutory partners, the Partnership is able to address issues facing individuals and local communities as well as borough wide matters. It focuses not just on addressing situations as they occur, but also on the prevention of anti-social behaviour and crime. In so doing actively preventing harm to persons and property across the area.

The Police are a pivotal member of the partnership, and the Council were pleased to welcome the new Borough Commander John Vale recently, bringing relevant experience with him from his recent post as Borough Commander for Epsom and Ewell. The Leader thanked Inspector Vale for attending the meeting this evening. Inspector Vale was joined by Sergeant Rob Staplehurst, who had been acting Borough Commander before Inspector Vale was appointed and is the sergeant for Redhill, Reigate and Merstham.

The Leader also thanked Alex Maguire who had been Borough Commander until the end of 2023, and is now Chief Inspector for Neighbourhoods for East Surrey.

A presentation had been provided by the Borough Commander in the agenda pack, which can be found here:

Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, 22nd February, 2024, 7.30 pm | Reigate and Banstead Borough Council (

The Borough Commander invited Members to ask questions on his presentation. In response, the following clarifications were provided:


The Borough Commander explained that reports of harassment were often complex and protracted and that there were always two perspectives of the issue. The Police needed to respond effectively, which did not always conclude with the desired outcome of the victim. Victims did, however, have the ability to submit a victim right to review through the Police website, which would lead to a review of the Police involvement in the investigation. He added that anti-social behaviour was linked to harassment and that ongoing anti-social behaviour incidents were closely monitored, with interventions put in place where needed. It was also confirmed that the Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Officer would gather evidence and, if appropriate, had the statutory powers to issue a Community Protection Warning to an individual committing anti-social behaviour or harassment, and if the behaviour did not cease, then this could be progressed to a Community Protection Notice.

Success from Epsom and Ewell

Members asked what work had been successfully caried out in Epsom and Ewell that could be replicated and be beneficial to this borough. The Borough Commander reported that he had developed effective work around Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG). Under Operation Shield, officers were trained to be Behavioural Detection Officers. This is a plain clothes role in the locality, especially within the night-time economy, transport hubs, and public spaces such as parks, where officers are specifically trained to identify predatory behaviours and hostile intent. This operation had been trialled very successfully in Epsom and it was the Borough Commander’s intention to apply these tactics to this borough. The Borough Commander had also previously carried out work around Safer Streets and would bring that experience to the implementation of the successful Safer Streets bid for Redhill.

Communication with the Police

In response to a Member question regarding contacting the Police, the Borough Commander confirmed that staff retention, and therefore retention of experience, in the contact centre was challenging. He recommended social media as being the quickest way to communicate with the contact centre.

In response to a Member question, the Borough Commander confirmed that the Police did not monitor social media community groups, however he would encourage councillors who are aware of policing concerns being discussed via these platforms to encourage residents to report their concerns to the Police.

Communication with victims of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)

The Borough Commander confirmed that it was challenging nationwide for the Police to earn residents’ trust. One of the main priorities of the Local Neighbourhood Teams was to build trust and confidence through in-person engagement with communities and community groups and identifying methods of support. Victims were supported through the process of reporting.

The Borough Commander also confirmed that the Police worked closely with partners at a local level to deal with VAWG and there was a VAWG Board in place.

In cases where a perpetrator of VAWG moved to another borough, that individual would be managed via a partnership forum, such as the Community Harm and Risk Management Meeting.

Safety in Whitebushes

A Member reported that there was an issue with Whitebushes residents travelling to and from work at East Surrey Hospital, who did not feel safe, especially with a lack of CCTV cameras in the area and did not feel confident in reporting incidents to the Police. The Member expressed a desire to work with the Police to improve this issue.

Keyless car theft

The Borough Commander confirmed that keyless car theft was treated seriously. This type of theft was usually committed by organised crime groups and was being combatted by Operation Dungeon, which targeted organised crime groups, who usually came from outside the county. The Chair added that the most recent police newsletter discussed this issue, and set out some effective counter-measures for residents to take to protect their vehicles.

Priory Park

Sergeant Staplehurst confirmed that cannabis use and dealing in Priory Park had been targeted with a specific operation leading to a number of arrests and convictions, which had also resulted in a decrease in offending in this area. The Police were working with the Joint Enforcement Team to patrol Redhill and there was an intention to extend this to Priory Park in the summer months.

Diversionary tactics to tackle youth crime

It was confirmed that the YMCA was carrying out youth outreach work in Merstham and that the Police were planning engagement, events, and activities to put in place diversions.

Clear, Hold, Build project in Redhill

Members asked for an update on the Clear, Hold, Build project in Redhill. The Borough Commander confirmed that plans and a partnership model to deliver the initiative were in place. It was anticipated that this would commence at the end of March 2024 and would continue to implement longer term change. It was confirmed that Clear, Hold, Build was a national project, with each police force being asked to support wider community safety partnerships in delivering these projects. It had been decided that the Surrey Police pilot for Clear, Hold, Build would take place in Redhill, partly due to the strength of the existing partnership.

County Lines

It was confirmed that County Lines was a national issue and that there was an experienced team across Surrey and Sussex to deal with this problem, working closely with neighbourhood teams and counterparts in the Metropolitan Police. Work was carried out to identify vulnerable victims to prevent cuckooing.

Rural Engagement Team

It was confirmed that the Rural Engagement Team had essential knowledge and expertise, with a Rural PCSO, supported by a wider team covering the county.

Working with Croydon Police

Following a Member’s question regarding criminals coming into the area at night from Croydon, Sergeant Staplehurst confirmed that a close working relationship had been established with the Metropolitan Police, particularly in Croydon, with monthly meetings being held and the sharing of intelligence and information where appropriate.

Pavement parking

Following a question regarding responsibility for dealing with pavement parking, the Borough Commander confirmed that it was not always clear who was responsible for enforcement. Most issues with parking laid with Surrey County Council, however, dangerous parking and obstruction were Police matters. The Borough Commander encouraged reporting of pavement parking to enable the issue to be dealt with effectively.

Improving outcomes and visibility

The Borough Commander confirmed that the number of charges being brought to court was increasing.

Resources were finite and needed to be deployed where they were most needed. Instances of crime and anti-social behaviour were recorded, and this evidence-based data was needed to achieve greater resources. Social media was used well, and a newsletter was produced by a volunteer, both of which provided opportunities to reach more people. The Police were keen to identify other contacts who could share their information to the wider community. It was also important to share good news stories.

Linking crime and design measures

The Borough Commander confirmed that there were four or five Designing Out Crime Officers across the county who support in reviewing planning applications and new developments, but also to identify vulnerabilities, such as homes, premises or shops that have been targeted for burglary several times.

Policing by consent

The Borough Commander confirmed that the Police were keen to increase general respect for the law by engagement with communities to help them feel confident about challenging low level behaviours. There was not currently any training offered for residents on challenging behaviours.

Engaging with minority communities

The Borough Commander confirmed that a significant amount of work was being carried out around seldom heard communities. However, this could be challenging if the Police were not aware of the existence of specific communities, and opportunities for engagement needed to be identified. He welcomed suggestions from Members.

Awareness of Police resources

The Borough Commander confirmed that there were a large number of Police officers within the county, with a significant number fulfilling roles that did not exist in the past, such as cybercrime and domestic abuse officers. These officers would not have a visible street presence.

Retail crime

Sergeant Staplehurst confirmed that a Neighbourhood Specialist Officer worked with the shop community in Banstead. Retail crime and anti-social behaviour had increased in the last 12 months and was becoming more of a priority. Work was being carried out to tackle retail crime and to implement prevention, and it was hoped that the success of work at Sainsbury’s in Redhill could be replicated in other areas.

Youth engagement

It was confirmed that two Youth Engagement Officers carried out school visits, as well as wider engagement with young people. They offered a specific lesson package to schools for Years 4 and 7.

Justine Chatfield, Head of Community Partnerships, introduced the work of the Community Safety Partnership, which was a statutory partnership led by the Council, and played an important role in bringing together key partners to identify and tackle local community needs, setting the direction and resolving strategic issues. Within the Community Safety Partnership, was the Joint Action Group (JAG), and the Community Harm and Risk Management Meeting (CHARMM). Between the strategic group and the operational group, strong partnership working was provided in the borough. The Community Safety Partnership action plan, guided the work of the partnership and focused around the four priorities of tackling anti-social behaviour, protecting the vulnerable from harm, preventing violence against women and girls, and domestic abuse.

A presentation had been provided by the Community Partnership Team in the agenda pack, which can be found here:

Agenda for Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, 22nd February, 2024, 7.30 pm | Reigate and Banstead Borough Council (

Several advance questions had been submitted regarding the Community Partnership presentation. The advance questions and responses can be viewed here:

Document Advance Questions and Answers OS 22 february 2024 | Reigate and Banstead Borough Council (

The Head of Community Partnerships invited Members to ask questions on the presentation. In response, the following clarifications were provided:

Housing Associations

It was confirmed that Raven Housing Trust, as the largest housing association in the area, attended the Community Safety Partnership meetings, but other housing associations did not attend. It was confirmed that the Council Officers enjoyed good relationships with the other housing associations and would involve other housing associations in community safety partnership matters, as appropriate.

Identifying and tackling problems

It was confirmed that communities identify problems to the Community Development Team, which are then addressed. A part time Anti-Social Behaviour Officer was in place. The number of domestic homicides in the borough was higher than in other boroughs so this was recognised as an issue. There was also a focus on providing opportunities for young people.

Fly tipping

The Leader confirmed that part of the problem with fly tipping was around educating residents about who could collect their waste, communicating the need to employ a licensed waste carrier. There was also a need for understanding of what constitutes fly tipping, for example leaving rubbish at bring sites.

JET Team

It was confirmed that the JET team worked on a rota basis and that there was currently no intention to expand this team.

How can Councillors help

The Borough Commander confirmed that regular meetings were held with certain wards for ongoing concerns, which provided more structured engagement and recognised councillors as community leaders. The Head of Community Partnerships confirmed that ward councillors were made aware of incidents in their wards. She asked that councillors contact the Community Partnership team and the Police regarding any issues that they became aware of. Community Safety colleagues and many other organisations and groups including the Police regularly attended Community Development Partner Network meetings. These quarterly meetings share information and to work together to tackle local issues. The Leader confirmed that an email address would be setup for councillors to use to contact the Community Safety Team.

Youth provision

It was confirmed that the YMCA bus was an asset that could be widely used throughout the borough in time. This was not the only initiative funded by the Safer Streets programme, other youth work was associated with the bus. Health colleagues were also talking to the YMCA about use of the bus in the borough for health programmes with schools. The Leader highlighted the breadth of youth provision provided by community groups and confirmed that a piece of work was in progress to identify youth services already in existence and identify any gaps.

The Chair and the Managing Director both thanked Inspector Vale, Sergeant Staplehurst, and the Community Partnership officers for their presentations.

Supporting documents: