Headlines: February 19th, 2008

Serious violence makes up only about 1% of all crime, but a homicide, shooting or stabbing, and every case of sexual violence causes terrible suffering not just to victims, but to their families and it contributes to higher levels of fear in communities. The Home Office has published an Action Plan to tackle violent crime which it sees as one of the most important issues it faces.

The Action Plan sets out what the Government, together with the police and other delivery partners, will be doing to tackle serious violence over the next three years. The Plan will be taken forward within the overarching framework of the Government’s new Public Service Agreements, which prioritise serious violence for the first time.

The Plan includes a number of actions to get local agencies to work together better. This is because it is important for them to share information about the relatively small number of people in their communities at risk of involvement in serious violence, either as victims or offenders, so that early interventions can be made to prevent serious violence from occurring in the first place, or from escalating where it has already started. There will also be action to improve the care provided to all victims of serious violence, both to reduce harm and to help secure more convictions.

The Plan will be delivered through the local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships which bring together key partners such as the police, health services and local authorities. The Partnerships will be required to develop a strategic assessment or problem profile for violence which provides a clear picture of the local priorities.

The analysis will include victim and offender profiles, details of repeat victimisation and offending, location of offences, including ‘hotspot’ areas, details of alcohol and drug related offences, and use of weapons. From the analysis a problem profile will be created and it will include recommendations to allow managers to co-ordinate actions and allocate appropriate resources.

Responding to the Plan, Jan Berry, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: “Police officers remain dedicated to tackling violent crime and violent offenders, but I fear that much of today’s announcement is nothing more than sticking plaster solutions that do nothing to actually address the root of the problem, and the growing lawlessness and loutish behaviour we are experiencing on the streets.”

The Action Plan is available from the Home Office. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/violent-crime-action-plan-180208?view=Binary