LOCAL FOCUS ON TACKLING CRIME WELCOMED BY COUNCILS
Local authorities have welcomed changes in the government’s strategy for dealing with crime as they believe it is a step towards a more locally-focussed approach to tackling the problem. The strategy – ‘Cutting Crime: a new partnership 2008-11′ is being heralded by ministers as signalling a renewed focus on tackling serious violence and keeping a tight grip on anti-social behaviour. The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said it would see a new era of simple, accessible local crime information.
The Local Government Association said the strategy promised councils, the police and local partnerships the freedom they needed to tackle problems which local people were most concerned about. It also recognised the role of councillors as community leaders with knowledge and expertise to make local partnerships work for the benefit of local people.
One of the key elements of the new strategy is for local partners to work to reduce crime, with fewer central targets to meet and less red tape. Instead there will be a new target based on public confidence which will encourage them instead to focus on the issues that matter most to their local communities.
Hazel Harding, who chairs the LGA’s Safer Communities Board, said, “Tackling crime and the fear of crime are consistently at the top of local councils’ lists of priorities. Councils are committed to getting people safely through the day and have a leading role to play in improving the safety of our neighbourhoods.”
It was good news, she said, that the Government had recognised the need to be more responsive to local priorities and was giving councils and their local partners the space to make a difference to people’s everyday lives. The LGA was now looking forward to working with the Home Office and Ministry of Justice to deliver this shift in emphasis.