Sustainability and Community Safety
Sustainability, Community Safety and Government
The UK government (currently Department of Communities and Local Government [DCLG] linked with Home Office) have been working intermittently on the issues of sustainability in Community Safety linked to the Habitat/Agenda 21 programme for some years. Most of this work was undertaken through the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Sustainability Unit but more recently a sustainability project specific to crime and disorder reduction has been agreed between DCLG and the HO.
This project is roughly speaking the linking of the Neighbourhood Management initiative with Neighbourhood Policing and neighbourhood community safety. The programme is in the very earliest stages.
The DCLG’s Neighbourhood Management programme is operational in 35 areas. In fact most of those areas found that when they established NM the big issue was the local delivery of crime and disorder reduction so that many have combined that with the overarching social and economic regen activities. What actually though is required is that all efforts to develop NM take on the NP partnership aspect and incorporate crime and disorder reduction.
The Habitat Agenda and Crime and Disorder Reduction
Community Safety has an important part to play in the sustainability of communities 1 and the achievement of the UN Habitat agenda - see Habitat Debate: A Safe City is a Just City. It can be linked, through the statutory strategic commitments of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act - see Law (UK) - to enviro-crime reduction and to urban crime prevention. The combination of these activities can be effectively achieved by linking targeted crime prevention work to a more comprehensive environmental and social regeneration programme - such as Home Zones (see links below) - and through multi agency enforcement work (jointly tasking the police, neighbourhood wardens, local authority staff etc.).
UK Legislation supporting the Habitat Agenda
The Sustainable Communities Act 2007 is intended to promote the sustainability of local communities encouraging the improvement of the economic, social well being (includes participation in civic and political activity) or environmental well-being of the authority’s area, or part of its area.
Local Authorities must have regards for a range of issues including those linked to community safety, such as:
(h) the increase in social inclusion, including an increase in involvement in local democracy,
(i) measures to increase mutual aid and other community projects,
(k) measures designed to increase community health and well being (considered to include crime and disorder and drugs misuse reduction)
Statutory Guidance is currently being developed and will clearly describe what this can mean to enable Safer Communities.
Neighbourhood Management & Neighbourhood Policing
As a vehicle for delivering the sustainability/community safety agenda Neighbourhood Management is ideal. There are a number of examples such as the Calderdale/Halifax ‘Ovenden and Mixenden Initiative’ and the North Tyneside Neighbourhood Management Project.
This is a small dedicated Neighbourhood Management Team (NMT) leads the development of the initiative, working with residents, community groups, councillors and service providers. It works very closely with the community safety service in Halifax and is integrated with the delivery of neighbourhood policing.
- Identifies local needs and priorities and then puts in place initiatives to improve the local area and get things done.
- is accountable to local residents and ‘visibly taking responsibility at the sharp end’.
- plays a major role in supporting voluntary and social enterprise activity, and in helping develop residents associations and community groups.etc
- Reduce crime and criminal damage
- Improve the street scene (litter)
- Improve residents perceptions local neighbourhood
- Increase the number of young people accessing support and services in community development
- Reduce the number of young people classified as Not in Education, Employment or Training ( NEETs)
- Enable local residents and elected representatives to influence service priorities and outcomes through establishing a Neighbourhood Management Board
- Have representative residents associations operating and increase the number of people who are members of residents associations and the number of residents who take part in voluntary activity
See links below for more detail.
This is very much a developing area of community safety and any ideas or links to new projects will be gratefully received.
Policy and Practice
Link to the Homezones Organisation web pages - aimed at providing transport safe or transport controlled areas but also describing a neighbourhood management infrastructure 'bendable' for other neighbourood safety and neighbourhood management purposes.
Web links to the pages describing this project and containing downloads for a brochure etc
A PowerPoint presentation introducing the issues and potential for sustainability through community safety given by Martin Davis to a November 2007 'Inside Government' conference.
Neighbourhood identity: people, time and placeA new study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) suggests that social class makes it difficult for regeneration projects to change the identities of local neighbourhoods and recommends strategies for tackling the problems