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10 Ways to Tackle Crime

September 18, 2012 8:25 PM
By Cllr Duwayne Brooks, Liberal Democrat lead on the LGA Safer Communities Board in Fighting Crime - Locally by the Lib Dem LGA group

Introduction

Cllr. Duwayne Brooks

Cllr. Duwayne Brooks

With the elections of Police and Crime Commissioners in November, I felt it was timely to remind people of the contribution local councils and councillors can make to fighting crime and creating safer communities.

Having led for the Liberal Democrats on the LGA Safer Communities Board, I felt it was important that the views of our councillors were heard very loudly. After all, it's local Lib Dem Councillors who will know their ward and community far better than any elected Police and Crime Commissioner will ever do.

We know, as Lib Dems, that the 'tough' option is working hard to prevent crime happening in the first place, and when it does to look at different ways that can support more traditional approaches to justice.

We sometimes hear from our opponents that the Lib Dems are not tough enough on crime. But we have shown at all levels of government and parts of the country that in fact the opposite is true.

As well as speaking for the LGA Lib Dem Group on Police and Crime Panels, we lead on tackling Anti Social Behaviour, Restorative Justice and Community Panels. Labour and Conservatives like to think that the way to fight crime is to sound 'tough' - then sit back and do nothing. We are taking action.

Be it working with the community to find local solutions to fighting crime such as Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Community Justice Panels or working with other groups such as businesses, the NHS or Housing Associations, this booklet is full of good ideas to make our communities safer places to live.

The booklet (and see Tackling Crime) contains just few examples of the Lib Dem record of action on fighting crime it would take more than one booklet to list them all! Other examples of action to fight crime include...

10 Ways to Tackle Crime

1. Bristol - Under the Lib Dems, crime levels have gone down due to effective local co-ordination between police, the council and other agencies. New priorities for Police Community Support Officers were drawn up to make them even more responsive to the needs of communities. Burglaries are down by 20% against a year ago, with 148 fewer victims. Violent crime is down by 14.6%, with 426 fewer victims. The numbers going into custody have also significantly reduced over the last 3 years.

2. Liverpool - A widespread scheme to install alleygates across the city, run by the then Lib Dem Council, cut domestic burglaries by up to 37%. Also see the article to show how ward councillors can make a difference in fighting crime and anti-social behaviour, no matter who is the elected Police and Crime Commissioner!

3. Cardiff -Under the Lib Dems, Cardiff Council worked with the police and the local NHS to help tackle anti-social behaviour generated by excessive drinking. They used anonymised data from local Accident and Emergency departments to map violent incidents. They then used 'saturation zones' in certain streets to limit the numbers of alcohol licences permitted. A four year study saw 42% fewer woundings compared to 14 similar cities in England and Wales.

4. Oldham - Under the Lib Dems, a "minimum pricing" scheme was established to crack down on drink related Anti-Social Behaviour - the subject of a BBC Panorama documentary. Oldham couldn't force a higher price on establishments so reviewed the licences of each of the 22 bars and clubs that sell cut-price drinks. They were told that if they want to sell alcohol at less than 75p a unit -about £1.88 for a strong pint of lager -they will have to change the way they operate. Customers were only allowed to buy just two drinks at a time and outlets could be made to provide extra door staff as well as paying for police officers to watch over the bar.

5. Sutton - Lib Dem Sutton set up the Safer Sutton Partnership in 2004. Brings all local public services covering community safety (council, police, schools, mental health, volunteers) together under a single line manager. Over the last 7 years this has meant reported crime has fallen by 27.5%, violence against the person down by 37%, motor vehicle theft down by 48%.

6. Kingston - working with the police and businesses via the Kingston First partnership, they signed a contract to manage the licensed taxi ranks to help young people get home safely. In the early hours of the morning, around 4,500 late night revellers are trying to get home so this needs some management! The Lib Dem council's work to support the Rose Theatre and planned later hours for shop opening means there is also a more diverse range of people attracted into the town centre at night.

7. Watford - Watford Community Housing Trust, working with the Lib Dem Council and police, launched the Positive Social Behaviour Award. The first recipients were three young people who saw an old woman collapse, retrieved her belongings, arranged for help and comforted her until an ambulance arrived. This is being adopted by other councils keen to celebrate the positive contributions made by young people.

8. Bedford - A 'Bobby Van' service provided over 600 vulnerable residents in Lib Dem Bedford with support during the 12 month period to the end of January 2012. 143 residents were elderly or vulnerable victims of crime from mainly burglary or attempted burglaries, 383 homes were fitted with added security measures to prevent the person becoming a victim. Victims of domestic abuse were also provided with personal and home security.

9. Northumberland - following the Scottish Government's decision to have a minimum unit price for alcohol, the Lib Dem led council are consulting with the public to hear their views to see if a similar proposal could work south of the border to tackle binge drinking and the anti-social behaviour associated with it. The opposition Labour Group have attracted widespread criticism for proposing lower alcohol prices to attract 'booze tourism'!

10. And don't forget Islington and Somerset's work to promote a liberal, community based approach to tackling anti social behaviour and prevent crime. Both Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Community Justice Panels have been proved to work and have been put into use by other councils.