The Commissioner & Chief Officers to be heard.
The Commissioner and Chief Officers were heard in public session and the following points were made.
· The Commander (Operations and Security) noted that those Members resident in the City, or attending the City in person, may have seen a small uptick in City attendance by the general public, although numbers were not significant. A further increase was anticipated during week commencing 7 September once pupils had returned to schools.
· The Commander (Operations and Security) continued, noting that crime and anti-social behaviour continued to be at low levels year on year, with recent increases in shoplifting and pedal cycle theft having plateaued. That said, there was some seasonality to these types of crime and so it remained to be seen whether these crime levels normalised in the coming months. Crime and anti-social behaviour continued to be a key focus for the Force despite low overall attendance in the City by the general public.
· The Commander (Operations and Security) noted that the night-time economy was bouncing back more rapidly than the day-time economy, with significant numbers returning to the City particularly with the recent good weather. This had given cause to some public order issues which had required a police response in co0operaiton with the City’s Licensing Team, particularly on the Broadgate Estate where there had been three weekends of unacceptable activity.
· In respect of COVID-19, staff absence was at 3% which was lower that at this point the previous year. The Force’s establishment was sufficient to meet forecast commitments. The next three days would see planned protests commencing that day with a small Byelorussian protest outside the London Stock Exchange, succeeded by two days of protest by Extinction Rebellion. The Commander (Operations and Security) assured Members that policing plans were in place, including for support to/from the Metropolitan Police in respect of Op BENBOW.
· The Commander (Operations and Security) concluded by noting that a considerable amount of work was being undertaken to enable sections of the Force to return to the workplace, through making those workplaces COVID-secure. The Commander noted that he had been tasked by the Commissioner to establish new ways of working to enable the Force to meet its responsibilities as a responsible employer in facilitating a safe return to work over the next few months. Planning had commenced for the traditionally busy Christmas period, acknowledging the fact that it was uncertain what impact COVID and new ways of working would have on that time of year.
· In response to a question, the Commander (Operations and Security) noted that at the outset of lockdown the Force had dealt with an increase in burglary of office premises, which had been addressed by an appropriate patrol strategy that was enabled by the fact would-be criminals were not able to hide in plain sight in crowds. The Force had had some successes in arresting suspects on the scene or making off from the scene(s). There had been a reduction in drug related crime due to the closure of licensed premises. The Commander noted that there had been a 15%-19% reduction in crime nationally, but a 54% increase in drug arrests in the Metropolitan Police area which, for the reason outlined above, had not been replicated in the City.