A new community safety service created during the reshuffle

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HALTON Council plans to establish a specialist department responsible for community safety with domestic violence prevention, CCTV and law enforcement under its purview.

The new Community Safety and Protection Division will absorb the existing functions of other council departments with the aim of ensuring better coordination under a single divisional director.

The new department would operate as a “one stop shop” for all aspects of community and business security, as well as law enforcement. He would manage the council’s CCTV surveillance, law enforcement officers, a new domestic violence team and all aspects of emergency planning.

Changes to the internal board structure were discussed by Chief Authority Cllr Mike Wharton and the current portfolio holder late last year and were recently approved at senior management level.

A report to the council’s Safer Policy & Performance Board said: “At present there is a community safety section which sits within the community and environment department.

“He has a number of statutory duties – some of which have only recently been imposed on the council.

“Other related statutory tasks are carried out elsewhere on the board and do not sit in this section, which makes it difficult to coordinate a strategic approach. The section is also responsible for the application aspects and is responsible for the partnership with the police.”

The report adds that having different functions spread across the authority caused confusion among some councilors as to who held for what tasks.

He added: “Other aspects of security – community and corporate – and
execution sit in other parts of the council which sometimes
makes coordination difficult and has resulted in a lack of understanding
by members, as to who should be responsible for certain aspects of
work.”

The report says there will be enough roles in the new division to avoid any mandatory redundancies, with the changes expected to save the board around £32,000. It is hoped that the new division will become operational in early February next year.

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