Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Contact: Fiona Henderson Tel: 01835 826502 

Link: teamsliveevent

No. Item


Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 206 KB

Consider Minute of meeting held on 14 May 2021.  (Copy attached).


1.            Welcome and INTRODUCTIONS

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the online meeting, particularly Mr James Ayling who was attending his first meeting as the NHS representative.


2.            Minutes and Matters Arising

2.1       There had been circulated copies of the Minute of the meeting held on 14 May 2021. 



APPROVED the Minute.



Police Scotland pdf icon PDF 1 MB

(i)              Update on Service and Operational Matters


(ii)             Performance Report.  (Copy attached).


(iii)            Police Chief Superintendent John McKenzie

Additional documents:


3.            Progress Reports/Updates on Service Matters - Police Scotland

3.1       With reference to paragraph 3 of the minute of 14 May 2021, there had been circulated copies of Police Scotland’s Scrutiny Report for Quarter 1.  Chief Superintendent McKenzie introduced the Q1 report, highlighting the main points from the report.  He explained that as the vaccination programme advanced and COVID restrictions ease, the changes in behaviour, criminality and policing demands predicted in the Q4 report of last year had begun to materialise.  There had been a dramatic fall in ant-social behaviour calls; the unprecedented demand experienced during the previous 12 months attributed in most part to breaches of COVID regulations.  Domestic offending remains a concern and had impacted too on common assault figures.  Extortion and sexual offending continued on an upward trend, a significant proportion of which was perpetrated remotely via the internet or other modes of telecommunication, and was non-contact in nature.   A significant proportion of sexual offending was also non-recent in nature, more reflective of victims’ willingness to come forward, rather than a current change in offending. Housebreakings had also risen in number, a symptom of more people spending more time away from their homes.  Scottish Borders did appear out of kilter with other areas of the country and detection rate and wider performance measures compared very favourably.  As previously discussed, it would be of limited value to use 2020 performance    figures as a benchmark and 5 year average figures had been included in order to provide context.  While the recent events had been significantly challenging, the most challenging may still lie ahead. While absence through either illness or self-isolation had impacted on resources, there had been benefit from a vast reduction in court business, planned events and the night-time economy had ceased, and all but essential training had been suspended.  With effect from September there would be a doubling in court hearings, with simultaneous sittings at both Jedburgh and Selkirk, resulting in doubling of witness citations.  A number of events were due to recommence in the coming weeks and months; Kelso ram sales, Tour of the Borders, Tour of Britain etc.  


Training would recommence, and a dedicated resource in the Scottish Borders had been secured to deliver standard and emergency response driving courses. A qualification which was essential given the vast areas and distances covered and would greatly improve operational effectiveness.  The re-emergence of the night-time economy would  cause demand profiles to change, and  the SB-CAT shift patterns had recently altered to better service peak demands for anti-social behaviour and violence.


The United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, arguably the largest and most significant policing event in Police Scotland’s history would be held between 1 November and 12 November 2021. The demands and expectations would be immense and officers from across the entire United Kingdom and beyond would be drafted in to assist. The Scottish Borders would provide officers and specialist resource, and plans were well advanced in terms of maintaining service provision in the Borders. 


To  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Scottish Fire and Rescue Service pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Update on Service and Operational Matters.


Performance Report.  (Report and 2 appendices  attached).


National Consultation on Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals.


LSO Stephen Gourlay.



Additional documents:


4.            Progress Reports/Update on Service Matters - Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

4.1       With reference to paragraph 4 of the Minute of 14 May 2021, Local Senior Officer Gourlay introduced the SFRS Local Performance Plan for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, copies of which had been circulated with the agenda.   The LSO advised that it had been a challenging period but locally they were looking forward to blended working arrangements for partnerships and training. Nationally, the Scottish Government were committed to supporting the modernisation of the SFRS, central to this was broadening the role of firefighters in Scotland.   There would also be a consultation around the management of Unwanted Fire Alarm signals.   LSO Gourlay further advised that local fire stations were being used to deliver asymptomatic testing, as part of a partnership approach, which had received a positive community response.  


4.2       Local Senior Officer Gourlay then went on to highlight the main points from the performance report, explaining that dwelling fires, all fire casualties, deliberate fires had all decreased.  Road traffic collisions and special service casualties had increased slightly on the same period last year and unwanted Fire Alarm Signals had also increased.  He explained that the SFRS had attended 365 incidents during the reporting period, and  false alarms had accounted for 62% of emergency calls.   There had been no major incidents in the year to date.   With regard to Prevention and Protection activities, an update had been circulated with the agenda.   Although performance activity had been severely curtailed because of restrictions, the SFRS had recommended high risk home safety visits and would start visiting businesses and schools when it was appropriate to do so.  Regarding the trends relating to all deliberate fire and UFAS with a peak in quarter 1 explained that deliberate fires increased during the lighter nights, drier weather and Easter holidays and they had an appropriate tactical action plan in place. The decrease in UFAS was probably due to schools returning, with primary schools and nurseries being one of the largest offenders.   In terms of reducing unwanted Fire Alarm Signals, SFRS were consulting on options in relation to operational response to Automatic Fire Alarms between 19 July and 11 October 2021


LSO Gourlay then referred to the updated 2021 SFRS Local Fire and Rescue Plan, copies of which had been circulated with the agenda.  He explained that the priorities remained the same with the focus on delivering in partnership.     In response to questions regarding flood rescue he discussed the resource for swift water rescue in the Scottish Borders and opportunities to upskill stations for flood level response based on past incidents.   He would arrange a demonstration later this year when restrictions allowed.  With regard to cross border support he advised that cooperation happened but the percentage was small.


It was reported that due to the Coronavirus pandemic the Youth Engagement Work had not been delivered although contact with many partner groups had been maintained, providing advice via social media and delivering  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Safer Communities Update and Key Activities pdf icon PDF 926 KB

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




5.1       With reference to paragraph 5 of the Minute of 14 May 2021, there had been circulated copies of the Safer Communities Performance report from quarter 1 - 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.  The report explained that as COVID-19 restrictions lifted the Unit was re-assessing working practices to match public health and corporate guidance, although some face to face activities remained restricted.  Mediation services had been heavily impacted by COVID-19 lockdown measures as face to face meetings, which were the preferred method of mediation, were currently not possible.  Outside site visits had been undertaken in certain circumstances to better understand the problems being experienced.   The mediation officer had been committed to the Gypsy Traveller liaison role during the pandemic, in particular Victoria Park, Selkirk and a number of unauthorised encampments.  The number of domestic abuse incidents reported to Police Scotland in quarter 1 of 2021/22 was 336, an increase of 6 incidents (1.8%) higher than 2020/21 at the same point.  The number of referrals to the Domestic Abuse Advocacy Support (DAAS) service in quarter 1 of 2021/22 was 129, which was an increase of 28 incidents (27.7%) higher than 2020/21 at the same point. Repeat referrals to the DAAS service in quarter 1 of 2021/22 stands at 30.8%, only slightly above the target of 30% and the number of clients contacted within agreed timescales was significantly higher than the 80% baseline and currently stands at 93.9%.  In terms of successes, it was reported that DAAS, as a telephone based service, had continued to offer an unbroken service to the highest risk clients throughout the COVID-19 restrictions and had been awarded £2500 from the NatWest’s Circle Fund to provide emergency safety measures e.g. phones to high risk victims of domestic abuse, which complimented the existing Victim Support Fund and expanded the level of support that could be offered.  There were 8 requests from partner agencies for domestic abuse/risk assessment training sessions which was a key function of the DAAS service as it directly influenced the number of referrals and “hard to reach” clients could be offered a more accessible service through working with the agency in a way best suited to their needs.  MARAC continued to be held every four weeks via MS Teams and this had significantly improved attendance of agencies.  CEDAR had been able to adapt the groupwork programme for mothers and their children to recover from their experiences of domestic abuse.  A CEDAR early years domestic abuse recovery Borders pilot was being planned to support pregnant women and children under 4 who have experienced domestic abuse. Support for the pilot had been provided by the Children and Young People’s Commissioning group as part of the COVID recovery programme and it was envisaged that two groups would be delivered in 2021-22.    Road safety remained a key focus for the team and for the team’s priority areas of focus, accidents involving motorcyclists showed an increase in  casualties in quarter 1 when compared to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Dates of Future Meetings

To note the next scheduled meeting is due to take place on Friday, 5 November 2021 at 9.30 am via MS Teams.



4.            Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled to be held via Microsoft Teams on Friday, 26 November 2021 at 9.30 am.




Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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