Exclusion Schemes: Midlands Conference
Date: 28 Feb 2013
Venue: The De Vere, Colmore Gate, Birmingham
Last in PAC’s regional conferences on Exclusion Schemes brings total attendance to over 300
Partnerships Against Crime’s fourth and final regional conference on Exclusion Schemes took place at the DeVere Colmore Gate in central Birmingham on February 28th.
In total the series of four conferences welcomed in excess of 300 delegates, the overwhelming majority of whom were looking to set up new, or further-develop existing, crime reduction partnerships.
The Midlands conference in Birmingham hosted over 70 paying delegates – from BIDs, BCRPs, shop- and pub-watches, local authority community safety groups and police. Delegate numbers were second only to PAC’s London conference in October.
The conference also featured more exhibitors than ever before including the Bank of England, DCRS, MRS, Littoralis, Facewatch and Radiotactics.
As with previous conferences CRP News editor Gabrielle Stirling started the ball rolling. She provided an overview of how Exclusion Schemes work, their legal basis and the obligations of Members. She explained the importance of Good Practice and certification and pointed to some of the challenges – and opportunities that the future will bring for Partnerships.
Julie Davies, Business Crime Manager at the Stoke on Trent Business Crime Reduction Partnership shared some of the lessons she has learned in her 26 years in the job. She explained how part of that job is to recommend individuals for exclusions at regular meetings – but without allowing partnership Members to know the identity of the individuals in question in order to ensure fair treatment. She also itemised the wide range of services that Stoke BCRP offers its Members including training on a variety of useful crime-reduction subjects.
It’s not all about exclusions in Stoke, however. The Partnership undertakes a regular programme of educative programmes with the aim of encouraging youngsters to avoid the kind of behaviour that can land them in trouble – and emphasising how an Exclusion can seriously damage their nightlife!
Tony Mernagh of Brighton & Hove BCRP spoke on how to set up a business crime reduction partnership, outlining the differences between ‘unincorporated associations’ and companies limited by shares and by guarantee. He also covered the benefits of become a Community Interest Company – just the job for larger crime reduction partnerships.
In addition to running its own partnership, Brighton & Hove BCRP also provides a full ‘out-sourcing’ service for other partnerships who can’t find the time or resources to do their own administration.
Radio technology was covered by Dan Faulkner, Channel Manager UK & Ireland for Motorola, who provided insight into the latest technology and how it has impacted radio systems. Radios play a big part in Business Crime Reduction Partnerships such as shop-watches and pub-watches, and are an essential part of most exclusion schemes. A local radio system linking businesses together is important for two reasons – it provides Members with benefits that are really important to them – and it can provide Partnerships, especially larger ones, with the means to raise enough income to fund themselves.
Continuing the technology theme after lunch, Charlie Newman of Littoralis, explained how online administration systems are now increasingly important for efficient admin of crime reduction partnerships. Indeed, according to Newman, certainly the larger Partnerships and, increasing, smaller ones too, need to adopt online systems to keep legal and ensure data integrity in line with obligations imposed under the Data Protection Act.
Then he showed how online administrations systems can reduce the amount of time spent on documentation, compliance and membership management, Mugshot management, incident reporting, communications, Exclusion management and intra-partnership information-sharing. The point of it all is to enable the Administrator to spend more time developing the Partnership and attracting new Members and less time on paper-pushing. But he warned: Administrators who don’t take the benefits of online administration seriously may be delivering sub-standard service to Members.
Last up was Bob Jones, Police & Crime Commissioner for West Midlands – the second largest policing area in the UK after London. Bob’s proudest boast is that he has always lived within one mile of his place of birth, and with his CV (Member and Chair of West Midlands Police Authority, member, deputy chair and chair of the Association of Police Authorities, member of the National Policing Board, National Criminal Justice Board, chair of Wolverhampton Community Safety Partnership, member of the National Crime Squad and National Criminal Intelligence Service) few people can have a better picture of local policing issues and the role of local crime reduction partnerships.
He emphasised how important it is to him to take a ‘bottom-up’ approach to crime reduction in the area and it’s their job instead to ensure that the voices of local people and communities are heard at the highest level. PCCs are, he confirmed, important potential funders of local Partnerships – they have substantial discretion on the matter of disbursing substantial funding. Partnerships should most certainly be communicating as often and as forcefully as possible with their PCCs, he said.
Q&As were lively following Bob’s presentation and opportunities were taken to question the PCC’s commitment to local community-led crime reduction initiatives. Questioning was sometimes relentless – but as Bob stressed, the role of a PCC is still very much being explored by the new incumbents.
The event was exceptionally highly rated by delegates.
CRP News is the official sponsor of the PAC series of regional conferences. Speaking of her involvement, CRP News editor Gabrielle Stirling says “We’re so pleased to be able to support PAC and I’m personally very impressed with the level of involvement that delegates show. I’ve been to conferences where most of the delegates slope off after lunch. No such thing at PAC! I think PAC is very much the right thing at the right time. I wish them all the very best going forward into their new round of regional conferences and Workshops.”