Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Headqaurters, Newtown St Boswells

Contact: Judith Turnbull Tel No. 01835 826556  Email:

No. Item




The Chairman welcomed Chief Superintendent John McKenzie to his first meeting and advised that Chief Superintendent Clark had retired.  The Board extended their thanks to Chief Superintendent Clark and wished her well for the future   The Chair then welcomed Henry Coyle, representing the Scottish Borders Housing Network (SBHN) and Colin Bain from the Council’s Safer Communities Team. 




Minutes pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Consider Minute of Meeting held on 8 February 2019. (Copy attached).


There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the meeting held on 8 February 2019. 



APPROVED the Minute.



Matters Arising from the Minute


With reference to paragraph 3.2 of the Minute (Crucial Crew), the Senior Policy Advisor, Mr Scott, advised that the Council’s Corporate Management Team had endorsed the proposal to incorporate the GoSafe Scotland resource into the school curriculum.






Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters - Police Scotland


Chief Superintendent McKenzie began his report by advising that he welcomed his new role as area commander and working with the Board.  His focus would be on violent crime, antisocial behaviour, protection of the most vulnerable and improving the quality of life for people within the Scottish Borders.  He explained that there would be a number of challenges ahead, particularly in relation to missing persons and issues surrounding the misuse of alcohol, both of which would involve partnership working as these were not just policing issues.   He welcomed the Board’s scrutiny function and going forward suggested providing more localised information to assist the Board.  He advised that he was committed to the Community Action Team (CAT) and appreciated the provision of this valuable resource.  With regard to deployment of the second CAT he explained that this was an additionality and therefore required the recruitment of further officers.  The recruitment process could take three to six months.  However, he anticipated the appointment of three officers by September, with the full complement of six by the end of 2019.   He advised that Kenny McDonald had been appointed as the new Assistant Chief Constable for this area and would be engaging with Members in the next few weeks.


4.2         Chief Superintendent McKenzie went on to advise that he anticipated discussions with local authorities regarding a new Police Scotland contact assessment model, which was being piloted in Lanarkshire.  Following evaluation, there was an indication that the model might be introduced within J Division by early January.  He would bring back further detail following the pilot evaluation. He concluded his report by advising that the year would be challenging with a reduction of £200m from the policing budget nationally.  However, Police Scotland would continue to provide a quality service to the Scottish Borders and J Division. 


4.3         Chief Inspector Stuart Reid then presented Police Scotland’s Scrutiny Report for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019, copies of which had been circulated with the Agenda. 


4.4         Domestic Abuse – During the period there had been a 7.1% reduction from last year in domestic abuse incidents.  This reduction might reflect positively the work being carried out by Police and partner agencies.  However, the figure might also reflect that domestic violence was often under reported.   Chief Inspector Reid highlighted the work to tackle perpetrators and the support of victims through MARAC and MATAC which had contributed to the decrease.  In terms of sexual crime incidents, Chief Inspector Reid advised that numbers had reduced to 188 from 201 the previous year.     Mr Coyle, Scottish Borders Housing Network (SBCN) advised that they were working on early intervention in terms of domestic abuse and would discuss further with partners following the meeting.


4.5         Road Safety - There had been an increase in the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads by 33% and 18% respectively.  Despite targeted awareness in the motorcycle community, six of the deaths were motorcyclists, the circumstances attributed to rider or error/speed.  Mobile  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters - Fire & Rescue pdf icon PDF 229 KB

Performance Report (Copy attached)

Update on Service Matters


Draft Strategic Plan 2019-2022 Consultation (Copy attached).


LSO Stephen Gourlay.


Additional documents:


There had been circulated copies of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services (SFRS) Local Plan Performance.  Local Senior Officer (LSO) Gourlay began by giving an update on new appointments to the service, including the new Chief Officer, Martin Blunden.  He also advised that he had submitted a business case for two additional retained support officers; one to be based in Peebles, the other in Hawick.  LSO Gourlay then referred to the national negotiations around pay and conditions, explaining that the National Joint Council had recently met and as a result a formal offer was being discussed.  Hopefully, this would allow the continuation of the transformation agenda and the developing role of firefighters across Scotland.   Referring to the Newbridge Training Centre project, he advised that owing to issues with Scottish Power, completion of the facility had been delayed.  However, train the trainer events would commence late summer.


5.2       Station Manager (SM) Steve Mitchell then presented the SFRS Local Plan Performance report for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. 


5.3       Reduction of ‘Dwelling Fire’ – There had been 102 dwelling fires compared to 100 for the same period last year, 12 of which had been started deliberately.    Cooking accounted for 36 of these fires with a further seven attributable to careless disposal of smoking materials. 


5.4       Reduction of ‘All fire casualties (fatal & non-fatal)  - There was 20 casualties during the period, two more than the same period last year.  There was one fatal casualty over the period.


5.5       Reduction of ‘All Deliberate Fires Excluding Dwellings’ – There had been 135 incidents during the period, a 10% decrease.    Many of these cases were linked to anti-social behaviour, with 23% occurring in the Galashiels and District Ward.  With regard to prevention activities SFRS continued to target risk areas and worked with community partners when appropriate.


5.6       Reduction of ‘Special Service – RTCs’ – The SFRS attended 86 RTCs which represented a decrease of 6% compared to last year.  Hydraulic rescue equipment was used on 31 occasions to extricate persons trapped in vehicles. 


5.7       Reduction of ‘Special Service Casualties – All’ - There had been 94 Special Service Casualties during the reporting period, a 7% decrease in since last reporting year. 


5.8       Reduction of ‘False Alarm – Equipment Failure’ – There had been 951 false alarm signals, of which 645 related to equipment failure – an increase of 41 since the precious year.  With regard to the SFRS’ enforcement policy for UFAS, LSO Gourlay explained that the SFRS had a multi stage approach, including enforcement correspondence, visits and audit of the premises. 


5.9       In response to a question regarding the Out of Hour’s Cardiac Arrest scheme, LSO Gourlay advised that firefighters were committed to this scheme and it was hoped to reinstate and roll out the pilot across the Scottish Borders.   It was noted that the Community Planning Strategic Board had congratulated the SFRS on this scheme and their partnership working which provided a valuable resource to the community.  Regarding deliberate fires,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 10.50 am to 11.05 am.


Safer Communities Update and Key Activities pdf icon PDF 2 MB

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


There had been circulated copies of the Safer Communities Performance report covering the period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.  Mr Colin Bain, Senior Safer Communities & Community Justice Manager, highlighted the main points:-


6.2       Priority 1 – Reduce the level and Impact of Gender Based Violence through effective partnership working.  The number of incidents reported during the period was 1.005, 77 incidents lower than 2017/18.  Referrals to DAAS had also reduced.  Referrals to all domestic abuse services was similar to last year, with more support being received by the most vulnerable clients with complex needs.  The Gender Based Violence Strategic Assessment had been completed and would form the basis of revised reporting to the Scrutiny Board.


6.3       Priority 2 – Reduce the level and impact of Substance Misuse through effective partnership working.   Proactive drug enforcement activity had resulted in an increase in disclosures to RSLs for consideration around potential tenancy breaches.   Mr Bain highlighted that the number of alcohol related issues had increased by 1% this year, due to the proactive work being done when policing events and addressing ASB concerns in the community.  In response to a question, Mr Bain explained the referral process.  Mr Coyle added that RSLs referred to appropriate agencies to support tenants in order to sustain tenancies.  Mrs Simpson advised that the voluntary sector worked with a number of organisations across the Scottish Borders, they could access funding and would be pleased to provide support. 


6.4       Priority 3 – Reduce the level and impact of Crime and Antisocial Behaviour through effective partnership working.    ASB and vandalism had remained consistent to the same period last year.   The report advised that there had been a 7.5% reduction in people being monitored for antisocial behaviour, Mr Bain explained the significance of early intervention in partnership with RSLs and a consistency of approach. It was noted that referrals to mediation had been lower and that the Mediation Officer had taken on an additional role as Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer and balanced demand across the two functions.   Mr Coyle advised that a noise app had been piloted and he could provide feedback.  SBHN had also been piloting CCTV achieving a reduction in fly tipping which had a positive impact on communities.


6.5       Priority 4 – Reduce the level and impact of Poor Driver Behaviour through effective partnership working.  Group 7 motor vehicle driving offences had risen since the same period last year with a detection rate of 91%.   The successful Drivewise project continued and had been redesignated as a charity, dates had been set for further over 65 sessions.  Planning was underway for a Schools’ Countryside Day, with road safety a key feature for community safety. 


6.6       Priority 5 – Reduce the level and impact of incidents in the home through effective partnership work.  The Go Safe Scotland resource, was being embedded in the school curriculum.  Subjects such as spotting hazards, poisoning, burns, choking and falls has been incorporated, in addition safety equipment was suggested in the inputs.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Dates of Future Meetings

The next meeting is scheduled to be held on Friday, 30 August 2019. 


The following dates have been confirmed by Council for 2019/20.


Friday, 8 November 2019

Friday, 7 February 2020

Friday, 15 May 2020.


Following today’s meeting members will have an opportunity to view one of Police Scotland’s Armed Response Vehicles.


The next meeting was scheduled to be held on Friday, 30 August 2019 at 9.30 am.


7.2       The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and commended the work of the police, fire service and safer communities’ team and the level of cooperation between services and partners.  He then invited attendees to view one of Police Scotland’s Armed Response Vehicles, temporarily located in the Members’ carpark. 



NOTED the next meeting was scheduled to be held on 30 August 2019.






Scottish Borders Council

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