Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Judith Turnbull Tel. No. 01835 826556  Email:

Link: Teams Live Event

No. Item


Minute pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Consider Minute of meeting held on 28 August 2020. (Copy attached).      


There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the meeting held on 28 August 2020.



APPROVED the Minute.



Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters - Police Scotland pdf icon PDF 1 MB


            There had been circulated copies of Police Scotland’s Scrutiny Report for Quarters 1 & 2 - 2020/2021.   Superintendent MacInnes began by explaining that the report was in a new format to ensure it directly correlated to the Local Police Plan.  The report also included a section on Local Police Plan activities.  He advised that Chief Inspector Stuart Reid had been promoted to a new role and that Inspector Jacqi Mcguigan would lead the local police team until a new local Area Commander had been appointed.   Superintendent MacInnes referred to the continuing impact of Covid-19 and that Police Scotland continued to follow the four E’s approach: Engage – understanding the regulations and changes;   Educate - by explaining what we can and can’t do;  Encourage - people to comply, Enforcement –  as a last resort for people who won’t comply.   He acknowledged the successful partnership working with the Council’s Emergency Planning Team and community resilience work in response to Covid-19.   Police Scotland recognised, that over the winter, mental health might come to the fore as people continued to live with restrictions.  With regard to police attendance at community council meetings he advised that Police Scotland’s IT policy meant they were unable to participate in meetings via Zoom but could use MS Teams.  However, local police officers were meeting with elected Members to develop other levels of engagement.  Local Area Command reports had also been adapted to be more area and Ward focused.


Superintendent MacInnes then highlighted the main points from the report.  Regarding missing persons, he explained that Police Scotland were implementing the Herbert protocol for people with dementia, a national protocol which would be rolled out to the Scottish Borders.   They were also developing an Autism protocol, focused on young people.  Both initiatives would be reflected in the Local Police Plan and improve the response to missing people.  In response to a question Superintendent MacInnes explained that the Autism protocol was still being developed and national engagement was taking place with the NHS and autism charities, following which the protocol would be discussed with local NHS Boards.    Superintendent MacInnes then referred to the rise in reports of domestic abuse incidents, explaining that because of Covid-19 more people were being confined to home which could raise tensions in households.  Police Scotland and partners were aware and were responding appropriately.  With regard to hate crime, there had been a small rise with 22% of such crimes against Police officers.  Detection rate for hate crime was up by 7% since the end of September.   Superintendent MacInnes then referred to the rise in reported sexual crime, 52% of which related to historically crimes.   Indecent and sexual assault reports were down, but there had been an increase in reports of Group 2 crimes including communicating indecent images.    Drug supply, production and cultivation had also increased by 12.5%.   There had been some good recoveries of controlled drugs in the Cheviot and Tweeddale areas.  Four warrants had been issued in the Eyemouth area and Class A drugs had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Progress Reports/Update on Service Matters - Scottish Fire & Rescue Service pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Update on Service and Operational Matters.


Performance Report. (Copy attached).


LSO Stephen Gourlay.

Additional documents:


With reference to paragraph 6 of the Minute of 7 February 2020, Local Senior Officer Gourlay began by advising that Bonfire night in the Scottish Borders had been quiet with no concerns.  In terms of SFRS response during the pandemic, one member of staff had developed the virus which meant that an entire Watch had to self-isolate.   The Watch staffing was covered and it had not affected SFRS response.   LSO Gourlay advised that development of the SFRS Local Plan would be deferred and a draft would be presented to the Board early next year to dovetail with Scottish Borders Council’s Community Plan.    The new domestic smoke detection standard was likely to be delayed by a year, subject to Scottish Government decision.  LSO Gourlay asked that if any Board members had any questions relating to service delivery that he be contacted direct as this would enable a quicker response.  LSO Gourlay concluded his report by advising that the rural full time Watch Commander for the Hawick cluster would commence in January, interviews were taking place remotely the following week.


            Group Commander (CG) Jaffray then presented the SFRS Local Plan Performance report for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020, copies of which had been circulated with the agenda.   GC Jaffray summarised that there had been a slight increase to 38 in dwelling fires from the previous year;  61% of these originated in the kitchen, with 29% involving cooking appliances.  There had also been an increase to nine of fire related casualties.  There had been no fire fatalities during the period.  GC Gourlay explained that Road Traffic Collisions had decreased due to Covid-19 restrictions which had meant less traffic on roads.  It was anticipated this figure would unfortunately increase as restrictions were lifted.   Deliberate Fire Setting had also decreased in the period to 79; many of the fires were attributable to anti-social behaviour.   There had also been a reduction in special service categories from 42 the previous year.   Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals (UFAS) had also decreased, although still an area of concern.   In response to a question regarding UFAS caused by equipment failure, GC Jaffray advised that when fire crews attended a UFAS they categorised the failure in order that they could tailor advice to duty holders to alleviate any problems.  There was also a UFAS champion who analysed incidents for trends.  However, no specific cause or premises had been identified.   CG Jaffray acknowledged that 13% of UFAS related to educational premises and the SFRS were available to work with the Council to drive down incidents. 


GC Jaffray then went on to discuss the SFRS Prevention and Protection activities for Quarter 2 (1 July to 30 September 2020).  He explained that fire safety audits had now recommenced with officers now visiting premises.  Care homes were still an area they were unable to visit but advice was given over the telephone.   Fire home safety visits had also been introduced and focused on high risk individuals referred from partnership referrals. Eleven visits  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


The meeting was adjourned between 10.30 am and 10.50 am.


Safer Communities Performance Update and Key Activities pdf icon PDF 885 KB

To consider report by Safer Communities & Community Justice Manager. (Copy attached).


There had been circulated copies of the Safer Communities performance report for 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020    The Safer Communities and Community Justice Manager, Mr Jones, was in attendance.  Mr Jones began by advising that staff restructuring within the service had taken place.  With domestic abuse staff now permanently funded by the Council and changes to anti-social behaviour officers to achieve more resilience.   Some staff were also still relocated to community assistance hubs for the Covid-19 response.   As a result mediation figures were down as the officer had also been heavily involved with the travelling community.   Mr Jones then discussed the report.  With regard to anti-social behaviour, the five year trend had been going down.  However, during Covid-19 incidents had risen with new cases referred to the core group.  Mr Jones explained that one of the issues was that officers were unable to physically meet people and often a more direct approach was helpful.   Early intervention works would be monitored to analysis the effectiveness of different approaches.  Youth warning letters from the Police Community Action Team had been issued to parents to highlight situations where young people had come to the attention of police officers when evidence of ASB was present.  Face to face mediation had also been restricted but would hopefully normalise as restrictions reduced.   Mr Jones then advised that although domestic abuse incidents had risen, referrals have gone down as there appeared a slight reticence in being referred to the domestic abuse service.  However, victims were able to self-refer at any time and information was available on the Council’s website.  Repeat referrals were being analysed to consider additional support required.   Mr Jones advised that although figures showed a reduction in contact targets, new clients to the domestic abuse service were being contacted within 24 and 48 hours, 100% of the time.  Referring to the increase in MARAC numbers, Mr Jones explained that that this was important as these cases related to the most serious and a multi-agency approach was required to minimise risk.  CEDAR referrals was also being sustained over the period using MS Teams and by telephone.  To conclude, Mr Jones advised that accident levels had decreased.  Drive Wise and motor cyclists training would be reintroduced when Covid-19 restrictions allowed and the Community Safety Officer returned to his substantive post.  In response to questions, Mr Jones advised that incidents of domestic abuse have risen.  Advocates undertook a risk assessment of all contacts to maximise an individual’s safety and minimise the likelihood of perpetrator actions having a negative consequence.  Superintendent MacInnes added that there had been an increase in calls, some related to Covid-19 restrictions.  He would find out from police analysis if there had been an increase in reporting time.  It was indicated in discussion that RSLs had maintained their phone service and increased digital contact with tenants, they had also undertaken proactive welfare calls for tenants to raise any issues.   The Chairman thanked Mr Jones for his report and the work his ream were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled to be held via Microsoft Teams on Friday, 5 February 2021 at 9.30 am.


The next meeting was scheduled to be held on Friday, 5 February 2021 at 9.30 am.





Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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