Headlines: November 21st, 2002

The first national three year Police Plan announced by Home Secretary David Blunkett sets out how the police in partnership with local councils, crime and disorder reduction partnerships, schools, health services, the private security industry, businesses, voluntary organisations, and faith communities can reduce crime. Model framework agreements setting out the respective responsibilities of local crime and disorder reduction partners will be developed over the coming year. Guidance will also be issued to councils on building crime and disorder reduction into the delivery of all local authority services.The promotion of community cohesion will be central to the work of the police. Communities fragment for many reasons but extreme vulnerability, high crime levels and the alienation of young people all play a part. Police forces will be required to improve their understanding of the needs of the communities they serve and the way they communicate with members of the public. The views of local people are to be sought and taken into consideration in setting local priorities for policing.

Chief Constables will improve partnership working with councils, housing associations, and private security companies through the establishment of a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme. These will allow the police to work in closer co-operation with street wardens and similar groups to maximise the exchange of intelligence and ensure that the resources available to enhance community safety are deployed to best effect. Chief Constables will be able to designate wardens, security guards and others as Accredited Community Safety Officers.

This first National Policing Plan is the cornerstone of the police reform programme. It sets out the strategic direction and a clear national framework for raising the performance of all forces and publishes the indicators against which performance will be judged. Before this Plan there was no single place where the Government’s priorities, performance indicators and plans for new developments came together.

The plan has been criticised by the Association of Chief Police Officers as too ambitious and likely to fail. The Association is concerned that there are too many targets resulting in increased bureaucracy, increased central control and a loss of local flexibility.

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