Multi-Agency approach: Background
At the heart of the Crime and Disorder Act is the requirement that agencies work
in partnership. Partnership working is not new and the concept has been developed
over a number of years. Key stages in its development are:
Home Office Circular 8/1984 laid down the principle that crime prevention should
be a significant and integral goal of local and national public policy. It stressed
the need for a co-ordinated approach and joint strategies involving partnership.
The Morgan Report (Safer Communities: the Local Delivery of Crime Prevention
through the Partnership Approach” Home Office Standing Conference on Crime Prevention.
August 1991) introduced the concept of �community safety� and emphasised that crime
reduction should be �holistic� covering both situational and social approaches. It
noted that crime reduction was a peripheral issue for major agencies and a core activity
of none of them (Home Office 1991: 3) and advocated the development of multi-agency
crime prevention co-ordinated by local authorities. The Morgan Report identified
six elements crucial to multi-agency crime reduction work: structure, leadership,
information, identity, durability and resources.
Safer Cities was launched in March 1988 by the Home Office as its contribution
to the Action for Cities Programme. A local steering committee with representatives
from local government, police, probation, voluntary bodies and commerce was established
in each project area. The steering committee’s terms of reference were:
to act as a focus for a local multi-agency crime prevention partnership;
to set priorities for the project and oversee the implementation of community
to facilitate contact and co-operation between local agencies and interests.
The general approach to the development of crime management strategies within Safer
Cities drew upon the problem solving (or problem-oriented) (Sutton 1996). Project
co-ordinators were tasked with undertaking a crime audit and develop a three-year
strategy and annual action plans. In 1992, a second phase of Safer Cities was announced.
Forty new schemes were established, each running for three years.
Crime and Disorder Act 1998: the consultation document Getting to Grips
with Crime: A New Framework for Local Action published by Home Office in September
sets out the Government�s intention to provide
a new legislative framework to maximise the contribution of all the key partners to
crime prevention and community safety and one which gave local people an opportunity
to contribute to the process. The document acknowledged the importance of the Morgan
Report and its assertion of the need for broadly based multi-agency approaches to
crime prevention, and the need to involve voluntary and business sectors as partners.
It noted that one of the biggest barriers to progress was seen as the lack
of a statutory role for local authorities.
Crime prevention strategies should be targeted on a manageable geographic and demographic
area to provide a recognisable community upon whose needs they could focus.
The document made it clear that there were no cost implications for this proposed
�It costs nothing to make crime one of the factors which is routinely considered
when, say, new policies for the delivery of social services are planned, or new housing
estates are built . . .�
�The proposals set out in this paper are not about requiring local government to
deliver a major new service, or to take on substantial new burdens. Their aim is
to give the vital work of preventing and reducing crime a new focus across a very
wide range of local services, including . . . those provided by local authorities.
It is a matter of putting crime and disorder considerations at the heart of decision
making, where they have always belonged.�