See the full text of this section in The Government’s Crime Reduction Strategy

 

Crime Reduction Strategy

 

Raising performance: the police and the Crime & Disorder reduction partnerships

Action Points

  • Clear, five year targets by April 2000 for every police force and local Crime & Disorder reduction partnership to reduce the crimes which most concern the public – vehicle
    crime, domestic burglary and street robbery;

  • Every Crime & Disorder reduction partnership to submit a progress report by April 2000;

  • A new national Crime Reduction Taskforce bringing together senior figures in the police service and local government to lead the drive for improved performance at local and
    national level;

  • A new regional rime Reduction Director in every Government Office for the Regions to scrutinise and support local Crime & Disorder reduction partnerships;

  • Crime statistics for every police division to be published for the first time from January 2000 to enable the public to compare crime rates for individual towns and cities,
    as well as police forces;

  • A national review of crime reduction performance by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, in collaboration with the Audit Commission and the Home Office;

  • An extensive programme of support for crime fighting partnerships, including training courses, regional seminars, consultancy support and a new crime reduction website;

  • More support for the police in the form of technological advances and extra resources;

2. The key to delivering reductions in crime on the ground is through the police and the local Crime & Disorder reduction partnerships set up under the Crime &
Disorder Act. Different police forces and local authority areas often show very different rates of crime. Sometimes this can be explained by social or demographic factors (small
rural forces tend to have less crime for example than large urban ones) but often there is no simple explanation. There is very little correlation between levels or changes in
funding and crime rates or between changes in police numbers and crime rates.

“Overall, the police service is spending more per head in real terms each year, but there is still no direct correlation between increased
spending and improved performance at the level of individual forces. The public will expect that increases in spending should, in time, lead to improvements in performance” 

Audit Commission, Police and Fires Services Performance Indicators, 1999

 3. Across government we are showing that this kind of variation in performance can be reduced if everyone working in the public service commits themselves to reaching the
standards of the best. That is what is at the heart of our best value initiative.

“A modern council � or authority � which puts people first will seek to provide services which bear comparison with the best. Not just with
the best that other authorities provide but with the best that is on offer from both the public and private sectors.” 

Modern Local Government � In touch with the People – DETR, July 1998

 4. In education, performance league tables, clear targets, a comprehensive national strategy and hard work by thousands of teachers have already this year led to improvements
in primary school literacy and numeracy scores.

5. In the health service, a national taskforce to disseminate good practice, challenging targets, regular monitoring and regional teams drawing on the skills of experienced practitioners
on the ground have meant that the number of people on NHS waiting lists (as of the 8 November 1999) was 73,000 below the published figure on 1 May 1997.

6. Making people feel safe in their homes and out on the streets is every bit as important as improving the education of our children or reducing the time that people must wait
for operations. As a nation we can and must do better in reducing crime � we should be near the bottom not at the top of the international league table for recorded crimes.

7. To reach this goal we must ensure that every local crime fighting partnership and police force is performing to the maximum of its potential. Reducing the crime rate in all
police areas to the level of the average would reduce recorded crime by 200,000. We want to aim even higher. That requires a number of key steps.

Clear targets for improvement

8. Many Crime & Disorder reduction partnerships have already recognised the importance of setting targets on crime reduction and have included specific targets in the three-year
crime and disorder strategies which each was required to publish by April 1999. However, these vary greatly from partnership to partnership. An analysis of the targets set by partnerships,
based on the first 150 community safety strategies received by the Home Office, reveal for example that targets for the first year for the reduction of vehicle crime range from
2% to 25%. For domestic burglary, year 1 target reductions range from 1% to 16%

Targets also vary widely in terms of the definitions of crime used, their timescales and the geographical areas to which they apply. Some partnerships
have set objectives without setting specific targets and a small number have deliberately avoided setting targets because they felt it would create too much conflict between partners.

9. From April 2000 the government�s new, best value system will provide a much clearer statutory framework for local target setting decisions. Under the Local Government Act 1999
all local authorities have to aim to match the performance of the best performing comparable authorities and services. Consistent with the provisions of this Act we are proposing
that every police authority and local Crime & Disorder reduction partnership will be required from April 2000 to set five-year targets (and annual milestones) for the reduction
of:

  • vehicle crime per 1,000 population

  • domestic burglary per 1,000 households

  • robberies per 1,000 population.

We will be discussing with the police service and local authorities the detailed arrangements for local target setting. For the police, where data is already available at force
level, they will need to set targets from April 2000 which aim to bring their performance level with the performance of the top twenty five per cent of their peers. Those police
authorities who are already in the top quartile will also have to show how they will seek to improve. By April 2001 our aim is to have data available to enable local top quartile
target setting at the level of local Crime & Disorder reduction partnerships as well. If all police forces achieve over 5 years the performance of the top 25% of comparable
areas, vehicle crime will be reduced by over 30%, burglary by over 20% and robbery by 50%. These are not out of line with improvements expected in other areas of public service.

10. Police forces and local councils will be required to include these targets in the best value performance plans they must publish by April 2000 which must also set out how
they intend to meet their targets. These plans, including the target setting arrangements, will be inspected by local auditors.

Reporting on first year progress

11. Alongside the performance plans for police authorities and local councils we will be asking each partnership in April 2000 to submit a progress report on its achievements
during their first year of operation, to indicate what action is proposed for 2000/01, and what quantified crime reduction targets they will be setting themselves for that year.
These reports will be scrutinised by regional crime reduction teams. The information will help to provide a central perspective on the direction of the partnerships and identify
those partnership areas in which further support or assistance may be needed.

Raising the game on ‘Beating Crime’

12. In January 2000 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary will lead a new inspection on crime reduction in collaboration with the Audit Commission and the Home Office. It
will include a �follow-up� to two previous studies �Beating Crime� and �Safety in Numbers� to see how far police and partnerships have adopted the lessons of those key reports.
The inspection will identify where opportunities to reduce crime and improve community safety are being fully exploited and where further improvements are needed to make partnership-working
effective in tackling crime and disorder.

An extensive programme of support for Crime & Disorder reduction partnerships

13. The drive for better performance goes hand in hand with support for the partnerships� work. An extensive programme of research, training and seminars has been put in place
to help the partnerships achieve real reductions in crime and disorder. This includes:

  • A 3-year programme of research to look in detail at the work of the partnerships, drawing out lessons to be learnt and drip feeding good practice back to the field in the
    form of published guidance, conferences and workshops.

  • A series of training courses covering effective partnership working and run jointly with the Local Government Association and National Police Training.

  • A round of regional seminars, aimed at senior local authority and police personnel, will draw on work the partnerships have carried out so far, and address any areas of concern.

  • Seminars targeted at health sector managers, covering amongst other things, the role of the health sector in Crime & Disorder reduction partnerships.

  • The development of consultancy and support services for partnerships in conjunction with Crime Concern and NACRO.

  • A seminar for probation service senior managers, run by the Association of Chief Officers of Probation to learn the lessons from the pathfinder partnerships.

14. And in January 2000, we will be launching a crime reduction website to give the public and professionals, information and progress on crime reduction issues and best practice.
This will be followed by an Internet based partnership network to allow exchange and discussion of crime reduction issues, with and between partnerships and to provide a forum
for assimilating best practice. We will also be launching a new publication focussed on strategic crime reduction issues, targeted at key decision-makers within the Crime &
Disorder reduction partnerships.

Clear information for the public

15. The public have a right to know about the performance of the services for which they pay through local and national taxation. Public scrutiny and feedback is an essential
part of the process of continuous improvement if services really want to be the best. Excellent organisations across the private and public sectors aim at maximising not minimising
the amount of information they provide to customers. In areas like education, the provision of much greater comparative information (for example about the GCSE or A�level performance
of individual schools or Local Education Authorities) has had a major effect in empowering parents and in encouraging poor performers to raise their game.

16. For too long recorded crime statistics have been presented in a way which inhibits rather than encourages the public to make informed comparisons about the relative safety
of their town or city. At a national level comparative data has only been published centrally for whole police forces (often covering several counties) rather than at divisional
level. As a result, while people have been able to compare crime rates in Devon and Cornwall with those in the West Midlands, they have not been able to make more relevant comparisons
like, for example, Plymouth with Exeter, or Sheffield with Cardiff Central.

17. We are determined to encourage an informed and constructive public debate about crime and about the performance of local police forces and local councils in tackling crime
and disorder. From January 2000 we will be publishing crime statistics not just for police force areas but also for individual police divisions (basic command units). For the first
time the public will have a way of comparing crime in their town with that in other comparable places and, where they are lagging behind, will be able to ask why. From July 2000
we will start to publish that data by reference to partnership areas.

National and regional leadership, support and scrutiny

18. To bring out the best from local councils and local police forces we need to provide strong leadership and support at a national and regional level to monitor progress and
offer practical advice and support.

A national Crime Reduction Task Force

19. A new national Crime Reduction Task Force is being established, chaired by a Home Office minister and drawing in senior experts from local government, the police service and
other organisations to drive forward this crime reduction strategy. It will provide a focus for the work of the local Crime & Disorder Reduction partnerships and provide impetus
to improving performance nationally, regionally and locally. Local Crime & Disorder reduction partnerships are key to achieving maximum impact on crime reduction, so the task
force will ensure that the partnerships receive adequate support, guidance and advice on good practice. Its remit is both to improve the support that the partnerships receive,
and at the same time to help raise their performance.

Regional Crime Reduction Directors

20. We will be raising the importance of crime reduction within the Government Regional Offices by creating regional crime reduction directors in every region. They will be of
equal status to the other directors in the regional offices and will lead teams to work with the partnerships in each region. We will be seeking high calibre people with a commitment
to reducing crime and a track record of achieving change. The posts will be openly advertised and we are keen to secure people from a range of backgrounds and services. The national
task force will help steer the work of the regional teams, which will include secondees from police, local government and other services in the region. The teams will have a broader
remit, to include: identifying and disseminating good practice within the region; organising workshops and forums to support crime reduction work; establishing and maintaining
regional networks relating to crime reduction; liasing with the crime reduction partnerships in the region.

Although statutory responsibility for crime and disorder rests with the Home Secretary and was not transferred to the National Assembly for Wales, the Assembly has decided that
one of its priorities is to support communities and promote freedom from crime. The Assembly has responsibility for some of the key partners in the local Crime & Disorder reduction
partnerships, such as local authorities and health authorities, and is particularly supportive of their work. Preventing crime and disorder forms part of the National Assembly�s
broad social and economic agenda and this is reflected in a number of Assembly initiatives spanning education, training and social inclusion, many of which mirror the initiatives
detailed in this strategy. The Crime Reduction Programme covers England & Wales and the team of National Assembly staff play a part in determining the criteria for the various
initiatives and in the selection of successful projects in Wales which they then also monitor and support.

New resources, tools and technology for the police

21. To fight crime effectively the police in particular need new tools, technology and recruits. The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) provided an additional �1.24 billion for
police funding over the 3 year period from 1999-2000, 2001-2002. We have also been re-directing resources into front-line policing by requiring every force to make 2% efficiency
gains.

A new Crime Fighting Fund

22. In addition to the extra money from the CSR settlement we have announced a ring-fenced crime fighting fund, part of which is to be used to recruit, train and pay 5,000 police
officers over and above the number that forces would have recruited over the next 3 years. �35 million new money is available to kick-start the scheme in 2000-01 and further sums
will be available in the two succeeding years.

Strengthening intelligence-led policing

23. Advances in information and communications technology present a significant opportunity for the police service in their efforts to detect and deter crime. We want to harness
the advantages of new technology and strengthen the emphasis on intelligence-led policing.

24. The National DNA Database: the Government has provided additional funding of �34 million to double the number of offender and crime scene samples entered onto the database
during each of the next two years. The extra money will enable half a million extra DNA profiles to be added to the database. This should mean thousands more matches and detections,
and many more criminals taken out of circulation.

25. Automatic fingerprint matching: NAFIS, the National Automated Fingerprint Identification System will give every police fingerprint bureaux in England and Wales instant
access to national fingerprints and scenes of crime marks databases. Searching the system will take minutes rather than days or weeks with the old manual system. Since the NAFIS
pilots began last year over 8500 identifications have been made. By the time NAFIS is fully implemented the system will be capable of supporting a database of over 6 million ten-print
sets and over 2 million crime scene marks. It will be possible to process over one million fingerprint comparisons every second.

Improving police communication

26. We need to bring police communications into the digital era so that police officers can get secure, instant access to the information they need – photographs, maps, car registration
numbers � when out on patrol. The Government has made available �50 million of new money towards the cost of a new national communications system – the Public Safety Communications
Radio Project (PSRCP) � which is planned for introduction across England and Wales by mid 2004, and in Scotland during 2005.

 

Raising performance

 

Tackling vehicle crime

 

Dealing with disorder and anti-social behaviour

 

Dealing effectively with young offenders

 

Dealing effectively with adult offenders

 

Helping victims and witnesses

The Government’s Crime Reduction Strategy, Contents

 

Last update:  16 July 2001

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