a ‘how to’ guide for community panels

a ‘how to’ guide for
community panels
Camden Community & Police Consultative Group – A Company Limited by Guarantee,
Registered in England and Wales, No. 5348915. Registered Charity No. 1111175
Funded by the Metropolitan Police Authority
The basics: what is the Met’s Safer Neighbourhoods scheme
Volunteers: the importance of community volunteers to SN
Getting started: how to set up a neighbourhood panel
The first public meeting
Day to day: the work of the panel
Support: how Camden police can assist community volunteers
Structure: how Safer Neighbourhood teams and panels fit into
the larger policing and consultation structure in Camden
Camden Council: how the council can contribute
Data: obtaining ward-based crime data and local crime information
Sample constitution
Appendix a
Sample agenda
Appendix b
Role of the Neighbourhood Panel
Appendix c
Sample fact sheet and questionnaire
Appendix d
Reimbursement forms
Appendix e
Camden community consultation structure
Appendix f
Community police structure
Appendix g
Community safety structure
Appendix h
Camden Community & Police Consultative Group
16 – 18 Whidborne Street, London WC1H 8EZ
t 020 7278 5459 f 020 7278 9027
[email protected]
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
The basics: What is Safer Neighbourhoods
Safer Neighbourhoods (SN) is a
new initiative that was introduced by the Metropolitan
Police in 2004 tackle the low
level types of crime that have a
high impact on local communities. The aim is to provide every
neighbourhood with a team of officers consisting of 1 sergeant, 2
police constables and 3 Police
Community Support Officers
The difference between these officers and other community police
is that it is the community and not
the Met, which sets their priorities.
Their job is to focus on issues that
concern people who live and work
in an area, whether it is anti-social
behaviour, graffiti, disorder or
other quality of life issues. And
most importantly, these officers
cannot be assigned to duty elsewhere in the Borough or in
London except under extraordinary circumstances.
By the end of April 2006, every
ward in Camden will have at least
a partial SN Team. Each Team will
establish its own neighbourhood
panel, which will be made up of
residents, community volunteers
and local businesses. Because
many issues of anti-social behaviour are not criminal, local authority representatives are invited to
panel meetings.
The purpose of the panel is to
meet regularly with the team sergeant and to agree upon a priority
list of local community safety concerns and issues that the team
should target. In addition to giving
direction and local advice to the
Safer Neighbourhoods team, the
panel is also involved in deciding
what type of action should be
taken and should have an input to
the problem solving approach.
The local community at large will
also have input into this targetsetting procedure through regular
public meetings and other forms
of consultation.
Volunteers – the
importance of community involvement in
Safer Neighbourhoods
Local community involvement is
key to the success of the Safer
Neighbourhoods scheme.
People who live and/or work in a
neighbourhood know what the
problems are in the area, what are
the causes and often how best to
tackle the problems. Safer Neighbourhoods teams work alongside
local communities and other partners, such as the local council, in
combating the issues that most
concern local people.
People can become involved at
many levels. Those who chair a
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
panel or become panel members
must commit to attend a number
of meetings a year and be prepared to pass on information and
advice, both to the police and to
the local community. Others may
decide they would simply like to
be kept on a mailing list, attend
the occasional meeting, and pass
on concerns and information to
panel members or the SN team.
Some members of the community
may decide it is enough for them
to simply know how to contact the
team if they need to do so.
Getting started –
how to set up a
neighbourhood panel
When a SN team has been designated for a particular ward, it
is the responsibility of the sergeant in charge to make initial
contacts with the local community. In many cases, the sergeant
will call upon people who have
been involved in community safety
issues in the past to set up a
small working group or provisional
The first important task will be to
meet with the sergeant to help
plan the first public meeting. In
addition to setting the date, location and time of the meeting, the
group should work with the police
to decide the agenda of the meet-
ing, determine who will chair the
meeting and appoint who will be
responsible for generating publicity (print media, flyers, mailing
lists, etc.).
At the first public meeting, volunteers can be enlisted to serve on
the now formalised panel. It is the
responsibility of the police to
make sure that this panel is representative and diverse.
At the first neighbourhood panel
meeting, members will need to lay
down some guidelines, decide
upon the format, timing and structure of future meetings, and articulate what commitment will be
expected of neighbourhood panel
members. It must also be clear to
members, and the community,
how changes to panel membership will be made in the future
(see appendix a, sample constitution).
Most panels are composed of
between 10 and 20 community
members. Special care must be
taken to make sure that the panel
includes all sections of the local
community. Local councillors, as
the local elected representatives,
should also be involved in the
working group, though their role
may be limited to an advisory one
depending on the wishes of panel
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
The first public meeting
The SN team will put a great
deal of energy into bringing
along new faces to the first
public meeting, so it is important that this meeting goes well.
Preferably, the acting chair of the
panel or another member of the
public will chair the meeting and
not the police.
There should be distributed:
• concise explanation about the
purpose of SN (appendix d);
• clear information including contact details for the local SN team;
• questionnaire asking about local
policing priorities (SEE SAMPLE);
• sign-up sheet for those who
would like to be kept informed;
• volunteer form for those interested in joining the panel.
Most SN teams hold public meetings between two and four times a
year, so it is important to establish
a database to keep people
Day to day – the work
of the panel
Many panels meet bi-monthly.
The panel size must be kept
large enough so that these
meetings are always well
attended but not so large that
they become ineffective.
The purpose of the neighbourhood panel is to agree upon a
realistic and achievable course of
action to address the issues
raised by the
The panel will assess the information collected by police and other
sources and consider how to prioritise the community concerns.
About three tasks for action
should be agreed, with feedback
given at the next meeting. A communication strategy will also be
required to keep the whole community informed of the priorities
and the outcome of problem solving work. Police should ensure
that the priorities are achievable
within available resources, and set
a timescale for achievement or
feedback to the community. Partners may need to agree the level
of their involvement.
The panel will review priorities
agreed at previous meetings and
monitor progress. When a priority
has been resolved a new problem
will be agreed. The panel will also
adopt a problem-solving approach
and encourage local action and
multi-agency work.
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
Support: how Camden Police support volunteers
Camden police, assisted by the
Camden Community and Police
Consultative Group, will reimburse
panel chairs for modest out-ofpocket expenses and meeting
costs. In addition, the police will
pay for the writing and distribution
of minutes (appendix e), an oftenthankless task for which it is
sometimes difficult to find volunteers.
In addition, Camden Police hope
to work with Camden Council in
providing training for chairs of the
neighbourhood panels.
Structure: how Safer
Neighbourhood teams
and panels fit into the
larger policing and
consultation structure
in Camden
Police Structure
Each SN sergeant reports to his or
her police inspector. For purposes
of community policing, Camden is
divided into three large Community Tasking Units (CTU’s), each
headed by an inspector: a North
Unit covering the wards of Hampstead, West Hampstead, Frognal
& Fitzjohn’s, Belsize, West Hampstead, Fortune Green and Kilburn;
a Central Unit, encompassing the
wards of Highgate, Kentish Town,
Cantelowes, Gospel Oak and
Haverstock; and a South Unit,
including Regent’s Park, St Pan-
cras & Somers Town, King’s
Cross, Holborn & Covent Garden,
and Bloomsbury. Camden Town
has its own Unit covering Camden
Town & Primrose Hill ward. This is
the only SN Team headed by an
In addition to the SN teams in
every ward, the north, central and
south units each have a team of
16 officers who support the work
of the local teams and focus on
priority crimes.
There are other police in the borough whose remit is even broader
– officers in the Borough Support
Unit are not assigned to any particular area but instead are
assigned to particular tasks as
Officers involved in the Community Support Unit and the Borough
Support Unit comprise more than
one-fourth of all police working in
the borough (appendix f).
Inspector Taylor Wilson
([email protected]) is the
Project Manager for Safer Neighbourhoods and co-ordinates the
start up of the wards and provides
ongoing support. CTU Inspectors
report to Chief Inspector Simon
Turner ([email protected]),
who is in charge of all community
policing. He, in turn, reports to
Superintendent Martin Richards,
one of three superintendents in
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
the Borough, and whose portfolio
includes all partnership work. The
Borough Commander is Chief
Superintendent Mark Heath.
Community Engagement Structure
The chair or representative of
each Safer Neighbourhood Panel
will be invited to attend a regular
meeting with the local CTU
inspector. These area-wide ‘cluster’ meetings will be attended by
the SN sergeants, a council officer
from the Community Safety unit,
and supported by information
from crime analysts. The purpose
of these meetings is to discuss
issues of mutual concern amongst
the wards and to share good
practise. One representative from
each of the four CTU’s will be
nominated to be the link member
with the Board of the Camden
Community and Police Consultative Group (CCPCG). In addition,
all panel chairs or a representative
are invited to be a voting members of the CCPCG.
The Camden Community Police
and Consultative Group is the borough-wide consultative body. The
CCPCG (camdencpcg.org.uk) is a
registered charity, funded by the
Metropolitan Police Authority
(MPA). Its purpose is to engage
members of the community with
police and the council in improving community safety in the Borough of Camden. It holds six
public meetings a year attended
by the Borough Commander and
lead members of the Camden
Council Community Safety Partnership. Subcommittees look at
specific areas of concern such as
stop and search, youth crime and
The administrator of the CCPCG
sits on the main working committee of the Community Safety Partnership. The chair is a member of
the SN Steering Group.
Camden Council: how
the council can
contribute to Safer
The police cannot address all
community safety problems.
Some are matters for Camden
Council or other bodies to
address. Poor street lighting,
security issues on estates, some
anti-social behaviour, street environment issues, etc., are matters
that need to be referred to local
The council is currently looking at
how best it can support Safer
Neighbourhood teams. Many
people find it useful to involve
their local councillors who can
expedite actions of council officers. Panel chairs may also bring
up matters for council attention at
the area wide CTU meetings.
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
Data: obtaining ward-based crime data
and local crime information
Currently, ward-based data can
be found on the main Met Police
You can also look at Camstats,
the on-line crime statistics website
for Camden:
Camden Police and Camden
Council are considering other
ways to improve the flow of information between all parties
involved in community safety,
including the crime statistics and
intelligence but this project is in a
beginning stage.
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
Appendix a – sample constitution
The name of the panel shall be referred to as the X Ward Safer
Neighbourhoods Panel, hereafter referred to as the XSNP.
To represent the views of X ward communities on community
policing issues and to work with the X Ward SN team and
Community Safety Partners to promote community reassurance
and community safety.
To work with the local police ward team to:
Identify issues of local concern that have an impact on levels
of crime, the fear of crime or the quality of life in an area
Assist police in community engagement
Assist in problem solving and crime prevention activity
Assist in environmental audits
Review priorities at regular intervals
Provide information to the community on progress of priorities
The Panel should aim to be broadly representative of the
community it serves in terms of a mix of: residents,
businesses, ethnic minorities, gender and age. Members will
have good community contacts and be able to galvanise
other local people into action. Full voting membership shall
be limited to community representatives.
Councillors representing X ward shall be invited to send one
member to attend the meetings to assist and advise the
XSNP, but they shall have no voting rights.
Council, and other statutory service providers and agencies,
may from time to time be invited to the meetings to assist and
advice the XSNP
The Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant has permanent voting
Admission to full membership may be considered at any
meeting, when it will be decided by a simple majority vote of
existing members who are satisfied that the new member
accepts the aims of the Constitution and is representative of
some part of the local community or group of people.
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
sample constitution, cont...
The number of panel members shall not exceed __ number
(between 10-20)
The first AGM of the XSNP shall be held no later than
eighteen months after the inaugural meeting and once in each
calendar year thereafter, but not more then fifteen months
after the holding of the preceding AGM.
The XSNP shall call an Annual General Meeting for the
purposes of receiving the Annual Report of the Panel and the
statement of accounts; of accepting the resignations of the
Officers; of electing Officers for the coming year; of making
recommendations to the Officers and voting where necessary
to amend the Constitution.
The secretary shall give at least 14 clear days’ notice in
writing to each member.
Officers of the XSNP shall be: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and
Treasurer, nominated and elected from the membership.
The quorum for the AGM shall be not less then 10 members
and will be open to the public.
Other public meetings will be advertised widely and held at a
time and venue that would achieve the maximum participation
of the public. Open public meetings will take place ____ (3 or
4) times a year.
Meetings of the XSNP will (or will not) be open to the public
and held at least bi-monthly. Not less than 14 days notice
shall be given. The quorum for ordinary meetings shall e not
fewer than 6 members.
If any member does not attend three consecutive meetings
without giving an apology to the satisfaction of the panel or
fails to abide by the terms of reference or conduct of
business, the Panel will have the right to remove that member
from the panel by a two-third-majority vote of members
present at a meeting.
The sergeant, as a permanent member of the Panel, may
propose to the group that any member may be removed for
the above reasons.
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
sample constitution, cont...
A member may resign at any time by informing the chair in writing.
Offensive behaviour, including racist, sexist or inflammatory
remarks, shall not be permitted at any meeting, and shall
constitute a breach of reasonable behaviour. If the
unreasonable behaviour persists then, following a simple
majority vote, the member or members responsible shall be
excluded from the remainder of the meeting.
Members may not use their position on the panel for partypolitical purposes either during meetings or as a
representative of the panel outside meetings.
At all meetings except those dealing with alterations to the
constitution, decisions shall be taken by a simple majority of
those members present and voting. Any alteration to the
constitution shall be taken by the approval of a two-thirds
majority of members present and voting.
The chair shall have a second casting vote in the eventuality
of a tie vote at any meeting. The chair shall also have a
representative role of the panel entering into correspondence
with councillors, council and other statutory service providers
and agencies, and members of the public. The chair shall also
be responsible for setting the agendas of meetings in
consultation with the SN sergeant.
If the Panel, by a simple majority, decides at any time to
dissolve itself, it shall give at least 21 days’ notice of a
meeting to all members.
If such a decision is confirmed by a simple majority of those
present and voting at the meeting, the XSNP shall have the
power to dispose of any assets it holds.
This Constitution was adopted as the Constitution of X Ward Safer
Neighbourhoods Panel at a meeting held at _____ on date.
Signed ............................................................................. (Chair)
Signed ............................................................................. (Secretary)
Date …………………………………………
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
Appendix b – sample agenda
Welcome and introductions
Attendance and apologies for absence
Record of attendees (including organisation they represent if applicable)
Set time limit for the meeting and business to be discussed
Agree minutes of last meeting & update on priorities agreed at last meeting
Discuss current community safety issues requiring attention
Agree which issues will be the next set of priorities. Record reason for choice,
action to be taken and reason for the priorities being selected
Any other business
Agree time and date of next meeting
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
Appendix c – role of SN Panel
Seven steps to community engagement
1. Research
Contribute any local knowledge or information about the community,
such as contact details or organisations that may wish to be involved
2. Engage
Neighbourhood panel members can assist with meetings or activities
by arranging them or helping with communication and publicity
3. Public Preferences
As above panel members can take an active role in gathering
information on the issues that concern local people
4. Investigational and Analysis
Panel members can take part in visual audits of the neighbourhood
and collate information from environmental surveys. At this stage the
different community concerns are assessed and analysed by police
and partners
5. Public Choices
This is the key role for the neighbourhood panel. The panel assess the
different concerns raised by community at public meetings or other
consultations and decides which should be priorities. These should be
choices that are informed by research and analysis from step 4
6. Plan and action
Panel may be involved in some of activity. Non-enforcement activity,
such as communication with the community may be carried out by the
panel to help publicise what is happening
7. Review
The panel should be part of the review process and agree when a
priority has been completed or requires further work
This is cyclic process, return to step 1 after the first round of activity
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
Survey completed by :
(Please enter your details, e.g. department, address incl postcode and house No)
(please enter map
(please enter the dates
(please describe how you see the
(please describe the people you
(please state why you think the
(please state what change
number location where
and times when you see
problem taking place)
see involved the problem)
problem is happening)
would aleviate the problem)
the problem exists)
the problem occuring)
Template created by Steve Kong Partnership Information Unit, August 2005
Camden Safer Neighbourhood Teams
Panel Funds Protocol
The MPS through the Camden Safer Neighbourhoods project supports
panels and recognises that volunteers occasionally incur expenses on
behalf of the panels.
We acknowledge the support and assistance of the Camden Community
and Police Consultative Group, a non-profit organisation, in
administering a reimbursement system to cover these expenses.
The CCPCG will pass on to the chairs, on behalf of their respective
panel, a one -off grant of £50. This money is to be regarded as a ‘kitty’
and will be passed on to succeeding chairs so that volunteers need not
ever be ‘out of pocket’. It is intended to pay for small incidentals that
are needed to support the meetings and additional panel work.
We will through the CPCG re-imburse the money spent from this kitty
via a simple system of claim forms with valid receipts.
Also within the scope of this protocol will be the fees for venues of Panel
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12.12.2005 Inspector T. Wilson
Camden Panel Re-imbursement Form
Ward Name…………………………………………………………………
Amount required…………………………………………………………..
Reason for
Receipt / Invoice attached……………………………….…………………
Received by…………………………………………………………………
Paid on………………………………………………..…………………….
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19.12.2005 Inspector T. Wilson
Camden Safer Neighbourhood Teams
Panel Secretary funds Protocol
The MPS through the Camden Safer Neighbourhoods project supports
panels and recognizes that expenses are incurred to support the
functions of the panel.
We are prepared to support the panels with the secretary duties. Often
this is a difficult role to fill but it is a much-needed role.
We are prepared to reimburse each panel of £50 per bi- monthly panel
meeting. This will be for the preparation and distribution of formal
minutes by that panel and for maintaining the panel’s database.
A copy of these minutes will be forwarded with the claim form to
Camden C.P.C.G. who will administer this scheme on our behalf.
We acknowledge the support and assistance of the Camden C.P.C.G.
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12.12.2005 Inspector T. Wilson
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Note: all panel chairs are invited as members of the CCPCG. One representative
from each Area Panel will act as a link to
the CCPCG board.
Camden Town and Primrose Hill
Safer Neighbourhood Panels
Kentish Town
Gospel Oak
Community Tasking Unit Central
Central Safer Neighbourhood Area Panel
Safer Neighbourhood Panels
Regent’s Park
Somer’s Town and St Pancras
King’s Cross
Holborn and Covent Garden
Community Tasking Unit South
South Safer Neighbourhood Area Panel
Safer Neighbourhood Panels
Hampstead Town
Frognal & Fitzjohn’s
Fortune Green
West Hampstead
Swiss Cottage
Community Tasking Unit North
North Safer Neighbourhood Area Panel
Board of the CCPCG
The Camden Community and Police Consultative Group
Links to Haringay
and Barnet SN
Appendix f – community consultation structures
Appendix g – community policing structures
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
a ‘how to’ guide for community panels
Safer Neighbourhood
Community Tasking Unit
Camden Police
Camden Community &
Police Consultative Group
Camden Community &
Police Consultative Board
Local Strategic Partnership
Various strategic and
operational groups
tackling the Six priority
CSP - Commissioning &
Performance Management
Community Safety
Partnership Executive
Appendix h – community safety structure