Agenda and minutes

Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) - Thursday, 26th November, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Online Meeting - view the meeting at www.mybostonuk.com/youtube

Contact: Janette Collier, Senior Democratic Services Officer  01205 314227 email:  janette.collier@boston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

79.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Guests:

 

Representing Lincolnshire Police:

Chief Superintendent Chris Davison, Area Commander for East Lincolnshire

Chief Inspector James Trafford, Boston and South Holland

Chief Constable Bill Skelly

 

Marc Jones, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Matt Warman, MP for Boston & Skegness

 

There were apologies for absence from Councillor Viven Edge.

 

80.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To sign and confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 24th September 2020.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 24th September 2020 were agreed as a correct record, to be signed by the Chairman.

81.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

None.

82.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday 23rd November 2020.

Minutes:

None.

83.

POLICE RESPONSE TO ILLEGAL ENCAMPMENTS pdf icon PDF 117 KB

(A report by the Chairman, Councillor Paul Goodale)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

On 24 September 2020, the Committee received a report relating to an illegal encampment that took place on the open space on Woodville Road, Boston during July/August 2020.  The report set out the timeline of dealings with the illegal encampment, including the actions of Council officers, the reports made to the police and the police response. 

 

During that meeting, Members heard that the actions of the local police team during the incursion had been faultless.  However, they were not satisfied with the regional response of Lincolnshire Police and it was agreed to hold a special meeting and invite representatives from Lincolnshire Police, the Police & Crime Commissioner and the MP for Boston & Skegness in order for Members to put their concerns to them.

 

The Chairman explained that at the meeting in September, the Committee took the decision to fence off the Woodville Road open space and look at the security of BTAC’s other sites to try and prevent further illegal encampments. However, this was not enough. 

 

In particular, there was concern about the decision by the Police on 4 August not to revisit the site at Woodville Road despite a Council officer being threatened with physical violence.  The reason given by the police was that they did not have adequate resources to deal with a large-scale disorder, which they believed was likely to happen. This raised the questions: were extra resources available in the county; if so, could they have been deployed; if not, was assistance available from neighbouring police authorities and were there enough resources in Boston today if this incident was repeated.

 

The Chairman then invited the guests to share their views on the way forward to policing illegal encampments in the future and reassuring the people and local businesses of the town.

 

The Chief Superintendent expressed appreciation of the recognition of the actions of local police officers and then gave a summary of the police response to the incident.  This began at 12:54 on 31 July when the initial non-urgent call was received.  At 13:17 the force control room assigned a Boston police constable to deal with the incident; however, that officer was committed to a high-risk incident elsewhere.  The neighbourhood police were made aware of the incident and they made repeated visits to the site. However, Inspector Waters, knowing of the threat of physical violence and that tension was high, decided officers should not re-attend the site because, if the situation escalated, which he deemed probable, the police would not have sufficient resources to deal with it.

 

The Chief Superintendent considered that the use of the court process by Council officers had been the right course of action. There had been criminality, but no indictable offences and confrontation had not been necessary. The police had to consider a threat and use the “least possible force” in response to it.  It was considered that, had the incident escalated, the police would have needed 160 police officers to deal with it, putting them at risk of having to self-isolate.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.