Engaging The Community In Fight Against Crime

Major review produces proposals to reduce crime and increase public confidence

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A major review examining how to better engage communities in the fight against crime and raise public confidence in the Criminal Justice System was published today Wednesday 18th June).

‘Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime’ is the result of an in-depth, eight-month study headed by Louise Casey, former head of the Government's Respect Task Force.

The review contains more than 30 common-sense proposals to reduce crime, create safer communities and increase public confidence. The findings are strongly influenced by the views of nearly 15,000 ordinary members of the public and front-line staff, who have been canvassed by the review team since last October.

The starting point for the review is that without public action, support and confidence, the police and other criminal justice agencies cannot make communities safer. However, for the public to play their part, they need to see and experience services that tackle crime effectively, give them confidence and back them up.

Its conclusion is that radical change is needed to get the public more engaged in tackling crime and to halt the erosion of community spirit.

The report looks at five broad areas:
1. putting victims, witnesses and other law-abiding citizens first;
2. fighting crime and delivering justice for communities;
3. a new approach to crime statistics;
4. the citizen's role in tackling crime; and
5. freedoms and accountability.

The review's recommendations include:

  • Tens of thousands of criminals will carry out tougher and more visible punishments. Local people will be alerted to community sentences in their area by adverts in local newspapers and websites.
  • Courts Service to provide more information to the public on cases, sentencing decisions and what happens to offenders, on a regular and more consistent basis.
  • Greater protection will be given to vulnerable victims and witnesses including special measures such as anonymity for older or disabled people.
  • All PCSOs will get the power the power to detain suspects for up to 30 minutes, using force if necessary and issue on-the-spot fines for disorder.
  • Responsibility to produce national crime statistics will be take away from the Home Office and handed to an independent organisation in a bid to boost public confidence and "depoliticise" crime statistics.
  • Local monthly crime information will be published in all parts of the country by 2009.

June 18, 2008