OK, time to take a look at the new crime strategy, Cutting Crime: a new partnership.
The Home Office is of the opinion that ‘it signals a renewed focus on tackling violent crime, and offers improved support for victims of violent crime. It also calls for maintaining and strengthening efforts to stop anti-social behaviour’.
Key elements of the strategy include:
strengthening the focus on violent crime - tackling violent crime by addressing the issues that drive violence, intervening early to prevent it, and responding robustly to violent crime through the criminal justice system, as well as providing services for victims
designing out crime - a new design and technology alliance of independent experts in design, consumer affairs and crime will look for more ways to use design ideas to stop crime - such as rendering mobile phones unusable if stolen
continued pressure on anti-social behaviour - bringing all areas of the country up to the standards of those communities that have the best records for tackling anti-social activity
focusing on the young - young people are often very concerned about crime, and are frequently victims of crime, so this strategy focuses on early intervention, and closer links between schools and police
So, apart from the emphasis on the issues above, what did I take from it?
Well, a lot of stuff within the strategy is already known and in the pipeline. Fewer targets, reduced bureaucracy, more local accountability, partnership standards, increased citizen participation, common performance framework and assessment, increased role of business and the third sector, to name a few.
It is interesting however, to see how youth has risen sharply up the agenda. Youth issues and crime have a significant effect on BCU performance and on public confidence. Ch Supt David Harvey at the YJB has been working on our courses at NPIA, Bramshill over the last couple of years helping develop BCU’s understanding of performance and youth issues. Looks like that work will become even more significant.
There is also a clear drive toward continuing to ‘join up’ service provision, with a thinly veiled big stick in hand (‘The Government will work closely with, and challenge if necessary, those organisations whose activities have unintended consequences for crime problems, setting a clear expectation that everyone needs to come together and play their part in delivering a safer society’.). Interesting to see how that translates into action.
There is also a possible recognition of the effect of performance targets on both the police service culture and methods of service delivery. The paper acknowledges that ‘Performance management and targets have driven strong performance. There is now space to build on success and make these more sophisticated, more responsive to local priorities and underpin a more mature relationship between government and delivery partners’.
However, at the risk of banging an old drum, one of the key areas for colleagues will be how they recognise the importance of public confidence and satisfaction as essential elements of an effective performance regime.
The Government intend to improve citizens’ opportunities to understand local crime issues by ensuring crime information is published in a more accessible way, at a more local level, and more frequently. They intend to increase local accountability and hold partnerships to account on how well they are engaging with communities to ensure that communities influence local crime and community safety priorities. There is a proposal for a Safer Communities PSA which will measure community satisfaction: public satisfaction with, and confidence in, local agencies. The police, local authorities and other agencies will be measured on how well they respond to those issues that matter most to their local communities.
With this involvement, influence and focus comes expectation, and the management of that expectation and the ensuing confidence (or lack thereof) will play a major role in determining whether a BCU or force is ‘perceived’ to be successful.
- Driving the value for money agenda
- Crime rates stable in England and Wales
- New crime strategy
- Action Plan for Tackling Violent Crime 2008-11
- Neighbourhood Crime Statistics – well, almost.