Headlines: August 29th, 2007

Local councils have been told they must reclaim the streets to tackle youth crime and restore order to communities. The Local Government Association has published a five-point plan, which its chairman, Sir Simon Milton, said represented core actions authorities should take to protect local people and save youngsters from a life of crime.

Publication of the plan follows a spate of gun-related murders, including the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool, which Sir Simon said had sickened the whole country.

The five steps set out by the LGA are to take back control of the streets through visible authority figures such as the police, community support officers and wardens; to show leadership and to work with all law enforcement agencies, sharing intelligence and operating joint patrols; ensuring that residents have access to people patrolling the streets so they can report intelligence and be informed about what action is taken; to make full use of all available sanctions and to adopt a tough licensing policy, seeking out and punishing premises that cause problems.

Sir Simon said, “Last week’s truly appalling murder of an 11-year-old boy has sickened the entire nation. The deeply worrying increase in gun-related crime among young people is something all authorities have a duty and responsibility to tackle head on at once.” Many agencies, he said, had responsibility for tackling youth crime and it should be the job of councils to ensure they all worked together to steer young people away from crime, and to protect the public.

“Councils must seize the agenda and re-claim the streets. There are many examples from across the country of local authorities doing excellent work to tackle youth crime, but the shocking and appalling number of murders on our streets this year shows there is an urgent need to do more,” he added.