Headlines: July 13th, 2009

Thirty-five areas are to benefit from a three million pound scheme to prevent burglary and personal robbery. The Vigilance programme offers training and extra resources to parts of the country which have seen a rise in the crimes in the last year.

The measures also include action against known offenders in an area, including surprise visits by police officers, text messages reminding them to keep appointments with probation officers and for job interviews; and the targeting of prisoners released from short term sentences who are thought to be more likely to offend again.

The programme will be led by Derbyshire’s Chief Constable, Mick Creedon, who also leads on acquisitive crime for the Association of Chief Police Officers. He said the aim was to ensure local areas had the necessary tools, training and plans to tackle burglary and robbery before they became entrenched. “We will review progress in targeting these offences over the next year and hopefully use learning from Vigilance to create a national model on acquisitive crime,” he added.

The 35 Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships were invited to be part of the scheme as they had early signs of rises in burglary and robbery over the last six months. In the majority of areas the rises were relatively modest and overall crime rates are low. The programme of support will last for one year and will then be reviewed.

The Home Office Minister, Alan Campbell said: “Our priority is protecting the public and making sure people feel safe in their homes and on our streets. Burglary has fallen by 55 per cent since 1997 but we must stay on the front foot and address the challenges we face as soon as they start to emerge.”