Government Policing & Crime Policy

The Coalition Policy for Fighting Crime

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, launched  the governments new crime reduction policy on 2 March 2011. A New Approach to Fighting Crime  ".... was designed to give clear direction to the public, the police and their partners in four key ways."
                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The Policing and Social Responsibility Act 2011

The Policing & Social Responsibility Act 2011 covers five distinct policy areas: police accountability and governance; alcohol licensing; the regulation of protests around Parliament Square; misuse of drugs; and the issue of arrest warrants in respect of private prosecutions for universal jurisdiction offences.

The Act replaces police authorities with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners, with the aim of improving police accountability.

The Act:
  • Amends and supplements the Licensing Act 2003 with the intention of ‘rebalancing’ it in favour of local authorities, the police and local communities
  • Sets out a new framework for regulating protests around Parliament Square. Relevant sections of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 would be repealed and the police would be given new powers to prevent encampments and the use of amplified noise equipment
  • Enables the Home Secretary to temporarily ban drugs for up to a year, and removes the statutory requirement for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to include members with experience in specified activities
  • Introduces a new requirement for private prosecutors to obtain the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions prior to the issue of an arrest warrant for ‘universal jurisdiction’ offences such as war crimes or torture. The Government's aim in introducing this change is to prevent the courts being used for political purposes.

It sets out:
  • The case for change.
  • The new approach to fighting crime.
  • What the approach means for each of the key people   and organisations involved in the fight against crime.
  • How it will work in practice.
The intention is to give the police "... just one clear objective: to cut crime."  The policy places the police (and the emergent Police and Crime Commissioners) as the leaders of the fight against crime with an identified supporting role for Community Safety partners in keeping communities safe.

Home Office Business Plan

The Coalition Government  launched its updated Home Office Business Plan 2012-15 in May 2012.  The plan is divided into four sections - Coalition priorities, Structural Reform Plan, Departmental expenditure and Transparency and contains detailed linked actions.

Structural Reforms Impact on Community Safety Partnerships

The introduction of directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners   continues to be the number 1. As part of the development of this proposal, starting in  May 2011, the government intends to " Work with Community  Safety Partnerships in the interim period before the election of Police and Crime Commissioners to help them be more responsive to citizens,
voluntary and community groups and social enterprises".

What this will actually mean - and what resources will be made available to undertake such the project - have yet to be identified. However, the    previously pinpointed linkage between Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and CSPs is, through this narrative, again given a key role in   marshalling the community's voice.

The test bed for much of this work is presumed to be London - as with the roll-out of the revised system for the allocation of the Community Safety Fund. If this is the case then the development of a force wide Community Safety Partnership (for London) will be required.

Cutting Crime Together - Policy

The Coalition government's reform agenda was outlined in a letter sent to Community Safety Partnership Chairs on 17 December 2010. This letter (see link below) was jointly signed by the Home Secretary, Secretary of States for Health, Education and for Justice, and the Communities Secretary identified that:

"Cutting crime and protecting vulnerable people from harm matters to local communities. Places where crime is tackled effectively are also more likely to have thriving economies, healthier citizens and cohesive communities; and keeping communities safe is best achieved by local agencies collaborating effectively together". This is to be done through partnership working.

The letter gave "CSPs and Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs) ... greater freedom to work more flexibly and innovatively together". Identifying combining "...CSPs and LCJB arrangements, as has already been done in Gloucestershire, is one way to achieve this."

The letter identified "... prevention, early intervention, better education and rehabilitation and these need to be addressed by partnerships. Maintaining multi-agency services to protect the public is vital, for example, Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements to target the most serious violent and sexual offenders; case conferencing to protect the victims of domestic abuse; and the use of Integrated Offender Management to coordinate and focus work on those who cause most harm locally."

It also identified:

  • "The case for a radical shift of power from a centralised state to local communities....set out in the Department for Communities and Local Government Guide to the 'Localism Bill'..."
  • The introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners from May 2012 will give the public direct influence over crime in their local area.
  • Crime mapping down to neighbourhood level in the New Year will provide the public with the information to hold partners to account. 
  • The Ministry of Justice Green Paper, Breaking the Cycle, represents a fundamental shift towards ensuring that offenders pay back to victims and communities for the harm they have caused; placing more emphasis on the effective rehabilitation of offenders to stop them reoffending time and time again. 
  • That hospitals collect and share non-confidential information with CSPs to reduce violence locally.
  • Doing better with less - there will be a radical reduction in resources available to community safety partnerships. Such a reduction, combined with the proposals to give the new Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) control of the Community Safety Fund will significantly alter the way in which Community Safety Partnerships will work together to reduce crime and disorder.

The government is currently (2011) developing this programme of reforms which will impact upon the way in which Community Safety Partnerships delivered their programmes of crime and disorder reduction in England and Wales.

There are currently (Spring 2011) around 330 CSPs in England and 22 in Wales. They work with varying degrees of success and range from loosely based confederations which encourage the development of projects to tackle crime and disorder to well financed and tightly focused management boards who direct teams to deliver specific targeted outputs.

 Links

 

The London Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC)

Home Office Police and Crime Commisioners web page

Home Office PCC Update Bulletin page