Headlines: April 1st, 2003

More areas are to get targeted support to help local police forces build partnerships to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. The Home Office Minister, Bob Ainsworth, has announced five new policing priority areas  in Nottinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Durham, Sussex and Norfolk.The new areas – covering Mansfield, Salford, Hastings, Easington, and Great Yarmouth – will join the Grange Estate, Stoke, Camberwell Green in Southwark, Rhyl’s West Ward, and Little Horton and Canterbury in Bradford where projects are set to continue. The extension of the scheme follows significant success in reducing crime and providing public reassurance in those existing priority areas since their launch last year.

Mr. Ainsworth said that police forces would receive support to focus on building community confidence and reducing crime through partnership working at all levels and he said he was pleased to be able to extend the positive experiences of the policing priority areas to more regions where the scheme was most needed to tackle crime and reduce public fear of crime. He said the priority areas had demonstrated that targeting small communities with particular problems could lead to significant improvements.

“It is vital that those neighbourhoods facing particular difficulties receive the expert advice and support they need to engage communities and build partnerships to include the police, local residents and crime and disorder reduction partnerships,” the minister said. “The police cannot win the fight against crime and nuisance behaviour alone. It is vital that all of us support local partnerships between police, public and other agencies  to bring about real change in the way we tackle local issues together to  strengthen our communities,” he added.

All policing priority areas receive Neighbourhood Renewal funding or the Communities First Fund in Wales. The Police Standards Unit will provide 250,000 pounds for start up costs and there will be limited additional funding for specific purposes.

One of the original Policing Priority Areas, in Bristol, has been absorbed into a wider collaboration exercise between Avon and Somerset constabulary and the Police Standards Unit. The role of the PSU in policing priority areas is to offer support, monitor performance and enhance effective policing and partnership working identified through good practice elsewhere.