Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Newtown St Boswells

Contact: Fiona Henderson Tel: 01835 826502 Email: 

No. Item


Chairman's Remarks


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and expressed his thanks to the previous Chairman, Councillor Moffat and Committee for their initiatives and excellent collaborative working and hoped that the Committee would continue this good work.






Minute pdf icon PDF 93 KB

Consider Minute of Meeting held on 10 February 2017.  (Copy attached.)


There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the meeting held on 10 February 2017.   



APPROVED the Minute.



Matters Arising


Senior Policy Adviser reported that all matters from the previous meeting had been taken forward and were complete.






Update on the Role of the Committee


Senior Policy Adviser gave an overview of the remit of the committee and he stressed its   advisory role for the Council. 







Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Additional documents:


5.1    Police Scotland

         Chief Superintendent Marshall thanked the Chairman for his remarks. He then went on to give an overview of the National and Divisional Police Scotland staff structure and how it linked to the local police structure. He mentioned that the police staff resources available locally could be provided to the Committee on a confidential basis as part of  a private briefing. The Chief Superintendent indicated that this would be his last meeting as he was moving to the post of President of the Association of Chief Superintendents.  He referred to the ongoing work on the National 2026 policing project – a 10 year strategy to achieve a sustainable operating model within the forecasted budget envelope. This strategy would result in a programme of transformation projects. He indicated that Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins was leading on a transformation project on a ‘local approach to local policing’ which would recognise that policing in rural areas such as the Scottish Borders was different from the Central Belt of Scotland and that this project would look at resourcing challenges.  Work was also ongoing to develop a new performance framework which would focus on outcomes rather than processes. On current police issues he highlighted the importance of counter-terrorism and the importance of the Prevent initiative; the concerns about the drug ‘Fentanyll’ and how rapid people can get addicted to it and the resultant impact particularly in premature deaths;  the significant increased  incidence of local anti-social behaviour incidents particularly by young people and the need for a partnership approach to this issue with a focus on early intervention and prevention; the slight increases in housebreaking and theft of motor vehicles which are crimes the police take very seriously and these are now often linked; the success of local drugs raids linked to serious organised crime with Operation Jigsaw seeing certain individuals targeted on a day of action earlier in the week; and the local initiatives being based to improve driver safety of young and old drivers.


 5.2   In discussion the issue of the local distribution of drugs was highlighted and it was indicated that Police Scotland builds up intelligence of this issue linked to organised crime groups and to assist this process it was important that anyone with any information on drugs matters should report this to the police. Also given the geographical location of the Borders a lot of cross border work was carried out by the police. In relation to the local availability of police resources it was indicated a different resourcing model was being applied by Police Scotland than the previous regional structure which meant that specialist resources were now based nationally and could be applied across Scotland as the need arose such as the search helicopter.  On local police resources the transformation project on local policing previously mentioned could make a positive difference.  It was indicated that there would be merit in raising concerns about local police staffing nationally as this might strengthen the case for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters pdf icon PDF 312 KB

Performance Report (copy attached)

Update on Service Matters

LSO David Farries. 

Additional documents:


6.1     Fire and Rescue Service

          LSO David Farries referred to the strength of local partnership working between the SFRS,  Police Scotland and the Council which had resulted in a lot good preventative and early intervention work with local communities.   He referred to the success of the local work of the SFRS in non-traditional areas such as the call outs for cardiac arrests and the use of home visits to help identify the need for wider help for vulnerable people.  He commented on challenges within the SFRS budget and the resulting structural changes being made to the service.  He referred to the single common duty system which came into force in April 2017 for the whole of Scotland. He indicated that communities in the Scottish Borders would see no change, and the new duty system would allow staff to work closely together on a more regular basis.   Members noted the importance of accepting invitations to attend events organised by the SFRS and Police Scotland


6.2    There had been circulated copies of the SFRS Performance Report covering the period 1 April to 30 June 2017.  The main issue in the report was about deliberate fires and the problems appeared to be particularly focused on Galashiels and District.   In summarising the report, Group Manager A. Girrity  advised that with regard to Priority 1: Reduction of Dwelling Fires, the SFRS had attended 18 dwelling fires in comparison to 22 for the same Year to Date (YTD) reporting period last year, this represented a 22% decrease.   Two of these fires had been started deliberately.


6.3    Priority 2: Reduction in Fire Fatalities and Casualties, the report noted that there had been 6 fire related casualties in this YTD reporting period; this was an identical figure for the same period last year.   Further analysis showed that two casualties went to hospital for precautionary checks suffering from slight smoke inhalation or burns.   Four casualties received first aid at the scene and did not require any further treatment.  There were no Fire fatalities during the reporting period.


6.4    Priority 3:  There had been 67 deliberate fires in this YTD reporting period, an increase of 35 in comparison to the same reporting period last year.  A breakdown of these figures showed that 91% of deliberate fires during the YTD period involved grass, woodland or refuse.  Half of these incidents occurred within the Galashiels & District Ward.  Previous experience indicated that there was a direct correlation between the increase of deliberate fire setting, drier weather and longer daylight hours.


6.5    Priority 4: Reduction in Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) indicated that the SFRS attended 20 RTCs, 11 less than the same reporting period last year; a slight decrease in the previous quarter comparison.   There had been 13 RTC related casualties in this YTD period including one fatality.  During the YTD period, the SFRS used Hydraulic Rescue Equipment on 8 occasions to extricate casualties.   Information was also presented relating to special service casualties.


6.6   Priority 5 related to the Reduction of Unwanted Fire Alarm  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


The meeting adjourned at 11.40 a.m. and reconvened at 11.50 a.m.


Safer Communities and Key Activities pdf icon PDF 781 KB

Safer Communities and Community Justice Manager – Graham Jones.  (Copy attached.)


7.1     There had been circulated copies of the Safer Communities Performance Report covering the period 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017.  There had been a major effort in the Scottish Borders over the last 5 years to tackle domestic abuse.  The reported incidents of domestic abuse to the Police were still increasing which was to be expected because of the Council project and it was heartening that the number of repeat referrals to the Domestic Abuse Advisory Service was decreasing.  Funding for the domestic abuse service had been secured until 2020 and it would be crucial for the future of the service to secure funding in order for it to survive past 2020.  Mr Graham Jones, Safer Communities and Community Justice Manager, highlighted the key points in the report.


7.2     Strategic Policy 1 – While the number of domestic abuse incidents reported to the Police had increased the number of repeat referrals to the Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support (DAAS) Service had been on the downward trend suggesting that clients were receiving the support they required on the first occasion they accessed the service.  While the overall referral number to DAAS had fallen the number of first time users of the service had been fairly consistent over its lifetime.  There had been an increase in referrals to DAAS in part due to the introduction of a direct referral mechanism from the Vulnerable Persons Database (VPD).  Existing clients who are subject to a further domestic abuse incident reported to the Police were referred to the service again so that contact can be made immediately with the client and additional support and advice provided.  DAAS had maintained their target of responding to referrals by the police within 24 hours on 90% of occasions and within 48 hours 100% of the time for referrals from other agencies. The reason for police referrals being at 90% was a consequence of referrals being received over the weekend.  The number of police referrals was twice that of other agencies or individuals referring into the service.  Over 50% of those people referred to the service complete a risk assessment and safety plan. The aim was to increase referrals but the trend for the last 3 years had been downward.


7.3     Strategic Policy 2:  The demand for the Best Bar None scheme by licensees had been high with applications up on last year to a total of 33.  Applications closed in September 2017.  Licensed premises apply and are assessed against set criteria and if the required standard was achieved an award was made, bronze, silver or gold and premises can re-apply to be assessed again to receive a higher award.  Safety Advice in relation to finding a used needle and/or syringe had been re-issued through the media.


7.4     Strategic Policy 3: There had been a 24.9% increase in the number of group 1 – 5 victims recorded in the year to date when compared to the same time period in 2016/17, this equated to 186 additional victims.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Dates of Future Meetings

Friday, 10 November 2017                 9.30 a.m.

Friday, 9 February 2018                     9.30 a.m.

Friday, 18 May 2018                           9.30 a.m.


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


         Friday, 10 November 2017

         Friday, 9 February 2018

         Friday, 18 May 2018







Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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