Headlines: March 1st, 2004

Fourteen police forces are to get financial help to build community partnerships to tackle crime, under the Policing Priority Areas scheme. The seven hundred thousand pound funding has been announced by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett.The funding will support the creation of new Priority Areas to help forces promote effective partnership working in specific neighbourhoods. The policy is based on evidence that co-ordinated and targeted action by the police and other agencies cuts crime and anti-social behaviour and can help to turn round communities that are facing problems. The announcement brings the national total of PPAs to twenty-seven since the idea was launched in March 2002.

The 14 new areas are in Luton, Hartlepool, Barrow-in-Furness, Derby, Bournemouth, Bolton, Havant, Hull, Norwich, Harworth in Nottinghamshire, Sheffield, Ipswich, Slough and Nuneaton. Each of the Priority Areas is closely defined and they can be individual estates or streets, which will benefit from support in developing effective local partnerships to tackle fear of crime and anti-social behaviour. The areas are chosen on the basis of the individual characteristics and the latest phase of funding includes an element of self-selection by participating forces.

Mr. Blunkett said he hoped the good practice which had made existing and completed PPA projects across the country such a success would be repeated in other areas where crime and anti-social behaviour had taken hold. Reform of the police service had seen communities becoming more involved in how their police forces operated but he wanted to see deeper, stronger connections developing between the police and communities across the country.