Headlines: June 26th, 1998

The Home Office Minister Alun Michael has urged the Police and local councils to aim for an equal partnership in their efforts to meet the challenges of the Crime and Disorder Bill.

And he told the annual conference of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives that there would be no room for ‘criminally irresponsible’ attitudes of non-co-operation and competitiveness between individual councils when drawing up the essential first stage of the bill’s demands.

By April next year every council and the police force for each local area has to produce an up to date crime audit, which will give an accurate picture of the problems they are then charged by the bill to tackle.

Some have criticise the deadline as too tight, but the Minister said the Government’s intentions had been clearly signposted and work should already be underway. He said: “I’m simply not persuaded that it would be right to hold up implementation just so a few slackers can catch up at their leisure.”

He urged full consultation with citizens of each area, and said imaginative efforts must be made to involve people whose views might be missed by the usual methods. He cited older people unable to get out to public meetings, and lesbians and gays who might currently have little confidence in reporting the level of crime against them.