Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells

Contact: Kathleen Mason Tel: 01835 826772 Email: 

No. Item


Minute pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Consider Minute of Meeting held on 13 November 2015.  (Copy attached.)


1.      WELCOME

         The Chairman extended a welcome to those present.  He advised that Mr Paul Rooney had  stood down from the Scottish Police Association.   Mr Rooney had attended this Board over a number of years and thanks were expressed for all his help.


2.      MINUTE

         There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the meeting held on 13 November  2015.   



         APPROVED the Minute.



         With reference to paragraph 5(b) of the Minute, Chief Inspector McLean advised that there had been two incidents involving wheelchair users, with one resulting in the report of a hate crime which had been detected.   He further advised that there were no suitable facilities in the Tweeddale area for young driver courses, however if demand increased for these courses in this area this would be investigated again.  The Chairman advised it would be well received if these courses could be held in the Berwickshire area rather than just the central Borders.







Progress Reports / Updates on Service Matters

Consider progress reports and updates from:-


Police - Divisional Commander (DC) Chief Supt. Gill Imery. (Copy attached.) pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:


4.1    Chief Superintendent Imery advised that the new Chief Constable had commenced work with Police Scotland in January and that he was already meeting teams across the country and he planned to visit  local areas at an  early stage  and arrangements would be made for him to meet Councillor Moffat, Chairman of the Police, Fire and Rescue and Safer Communities Board.   Police Scotland would continue to evolve toward the ethos of prevention and partnership working to ensure positive outcomes.  This was a move away from the transactional targets that Police Scotland had started with.    The ethos of crime prevention and partnership working had been the approach taken within the Scottish Borders for many years. Chief Superintendent Imery advised that the budget would be challenging for all and Members would have noted reports in the press about the budget gap in Police Scotland for 2015/16.    Significant efforts were being made to close the gap by the end of March 2016 and plans were underway for next year’s budget in collaboration with the Scottish Police Authority.    The public inquiry into historical child abuse was Government-led focussing on institutions.   This abuse went back decades and the inquiry would have particular demands on those involved.       For the first time violence was showing some increase in the Scottish Borders with more  serious and common assaults compared with the same period last year. This  increase was not as big as other parts of the Division.  On a positive note the solvency rate for serious assaults was 89.7%.  The Chairman referred to meetings of Duns Community Council when parking problems at the Market Square, Duns were often discussed, and it was agreed that  Chief Inspector McLean liaise with Councillor Renton and the Duns Community Council about parking issues.


4.2    Chief Inspector A. McLean presented the Police Progress report covering the period April 2015 to December 2015 which had been circulated. The report detailed the figures for the six Priority areas to date and compared them to the figures for the same period in 2014/15.   In relation to Priority 1 – Protecting People figures showed an increase in the number of Adult at Risk Referrals made to partner agencies of 11% on 2014/15 figures, 100 more referrals were made, which was positive. Priority 2 – showed a 5.1% increase in Common Assaults reported TYTD compared to the same period last year.   This equated to 28 more victims compared to last year.    In respect of reducing the number of anti-social behaviour incidents there had been a 7.7% reduction (311 fewer incidents) in the year to date compared to the same time period last year.    With regards to increasing the reporting of hate crime,there had been a significant increase in the number of recorded victims of hate crime in the year to date and it was noted that this was largely due to the spike in offences occurring in Quarter 2.    Priority 3 Tackling substance misuse –  during the period 01/06/2015 to 03/01/2016, officers in the Scottish Borders conducted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Fire & Rescue - LSO Alasdair Perry. (Copy attached.) pdf icon PDF 301 KB

Additional documents:


4.4    LSO A Perry presented information on the restructure and budget implications within the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  He advised that he was being moved to a different post and arrangements for his replacement were ongoing.   He referred to service improvements because of closer working with emergency services.  The LSO Chief Officer’s fund was  being used to provide low level adaptations to prevent slips, trips and falls in the home and a programme of work was being supported with additional monies from SBC Cheviot Quality of Life funding.   Although not directly benefiting the service itself it would improve community safety.   In referring to the out of hospital cardiac arrest pilot he advised that fire officers in Hawick had successfully intervened and saved a person’s life.   ITV Borders were currently liaising with the Fire and Rescue Service in regard to a 23 minute slot which would encompass a standard day in a firefighter’s life focussing on partnership working and contributions made relating to safety in the community.   During the discussions which took place LSO Perry answered a number of questions relating to recruitment of fire officers who were now trained at a new centre at Cambuslang and of the progress in migrating the three control centres in Scotland to Tolcross, Edinburgh.   Group Manager A. Girrity explained that the high volume pump would no longer be in the area and that Hawick staff were undergoing training regarding water rescue techniques.      A request was made for information relating to ‘falls week’ and other initiatives in 2016 and a calendar of events would be issued to Members for their information.


4.5    There had been circulated copies of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Performance Report covering the period 1 April to 31 December 2015.  In summarising the report, Group Manager A. Girrity advised that with regard to Priority 1: Reduction of Dwelling Fires, the SFRS had attended 82 dwelling fires in comparison to 60 for the same Year to Date (YTD) reporting period last year, this represented a 35% increase.   Six of these fires had been started deliberately although none in the last quarter.  Cooking and cooking appliances continued to be the most common cause of dwelling fires with the majority occurring in single occupancy dwellings, 25% of accidental dwelling fires involved persons over 65 years old.    Priority 2: Reduction in Fire Fatalities and Casualties, the report noted that there had been 15 fire related casualties in this reporting period, this was an increase of six compared to the same period last year.   The YTD period had seen one fire fatality, there had been six non-fatal fire casualties this quarter all suffering from slight smoke inhalation with one requiring  hospitalisation.   There had been no fire fatalities this quarter.    Priority 3: Reduction of Deliberate Fire Setting indicated that there had been 89 deliberate fires in this YTD reporting period, an increase of 12 in comparison to the same reporting period last year.   Conversely, comparison with the previous quarter had seen this type  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Safer Communities - Safer Communities Team Manager, Chief Inspector Tony Hodges. (Copy attached.) pdf icon PDF 242 KB


4.7    There had been circulated copies of the Safer Communities Performance Report covering the period 1 April 2015 to 31 December 2015.  Inspector T. Hodges advised that since his last report the Safer Communities Team had been very busy with the increased demands of the festive period and the recent unprecedented flooding throughout the Scottish Borders.   He advised that performance in relation to the indicators remained overall very positive.  He then went on to highlight the following:  in relation to gender based violence the figures were very positive which reinforced the current robust police processes and value of the Domestic Abuse Pathway project. Every incident was of course one too many but Safer Communities were continuing to prioritise high-risk cases through well-established multi agency MARAC and MATAC processes.   Training continued to be delivered to local police officers in respect of the Domestic Abuse Advocacy Service and processes in respect of referrals were currently being looked at with a view to reducing the time officers spend on related paperwork.   A concerning figure relating to the delivery of training to professionals was highlighted on page 3 of the report and this  training was  now being carried out via an online training module.  Inspector Hodges had requested that it be confirmed whether  or not this could  provide suitable statistics to inform future meetings of the Board.   Safer Communities supported Scottish Borders Rape Crisis in its successful ‘Reclaim the Night’ March in December. This took place in Galashiels and highlighted the violence against women agenda. It was supported by the local MP and MSP resulting in excellent media coverage.


4.8    The report on Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) indicated a small rise in the reported incidents and Inspector Hodges clarified that whilst the incidents reported to the police had indeed fallen – Safer Communities figures were based upon the reports made to all agencies including Registered Social Landlords.   Figures had now been received from Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) which meant a recalculation of the YTD figure which should now read 89.9 which equated to a very small rise of just over 2 incidents per 1,000 population which remained well below the baseline figure. In referring to the figure in red on page 5 of the report, figures were now available from SBHA which amended  the YTD  figure to 697 and the variance to –14% which was an  amber indicator as opposed to red.   This was explained by the festive period, with the number of interventions reducing owing to the festive holiday.    The 2015 Scottish Borders Household Survey had echoed the reasons why many people seemed reluctant to report ASB and the ASB Partnership intended to look at a suitable media campaign to address this in the next financial year.   With the exception of reports of vandalism all of the indicators in relation to Alcohol and Drugs were fairly positive despite the festive season.   The vandalism figure was still considerably lower than the baseline figure and was a smaller percentage rise than reported at the last  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Presentation on Rural Crime Prevention - Presentation Safer Communities.


pc Nick Walker, Crime Prevention Officer, Safer Communities Team,  gave a presentation on Preventing Rural Acquisitive Crime in the Scottish Borders.  He explained that rural crime incorporating wildlife crime, vandalism/fire raising and theft occurred outwith cities and towns with populations of less than 2,000.   Owing to farmers not implementing crime prevention techniques, theft had a significant impact on the business of the farmer; therefore it was important to do something about this.   Common examples of theft from farms and rural businesses were machinery/tools, quad bikes, ATV’s, tractors, livestock, fuel and oil.   PC Walker explained  how rural acquisitive crime was being tackled by means of six specific areas of work incorporating (a) direct crime prevention advice; (b) media engagement; (c) partnership “walk and talk” events; (d) forensic security marking; (e) rural “no cold caller zones”; and (f) SB Alert Messaging system. Crime prevention booklets had been produced  and sent to 1,100 farms; crime prevention presentations were given at local NFU meetings and crime prevention surveys were carried out at victim farms.  Demonstrations of security systems, crime prevention equipment and fire safety techniques were explained during partnership “walk and talk” events, and the next event was due to be held in the Tweeddale Area in the Spring.    In regard to forensic security marking, with the help of Police and SBC funding, 200 selected DNA marking Kits for farms had been purchased.  Each kit was unique to the farm it was issued to.   PC Nick Walker explained that the crime prevention processes in place had resulted in a fall in rural crime.    It was noted during the discussion that the NFU had not contributed financially to the DNA kits but they had promoted them.   The theft of livestock was a big issue in Tweeddale and Berwickshire, and PC Nick Walker  explained that a pilot study might be carried out with a farmer who was keen to be involved to explore the chipping of livestock.  A suggestion was made that similar presentations might be welcomed at the Area Fora.



NOTED and thanked PC Nick Walker for his interesting and informative presentation.




Dates of Future Meetings.


Future meetings of the Board were scheduled to take place at 9.30am in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells on:-     


         Friday 13 May 2016

         Friday 26 August 2016

         Friday 11 November 2016

         Friday 10 February 2017

         Friday 9 June 2017









Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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