04 November 2008
The Caerphilly county borough has been selected as a "pioneer area" for a brand new Home Office led initiative, which will focus on the importance of community engagement and boosting public confidence in how crime is tackled and justice delivered in the area.
The borough is one of 60 areas throughout England and Wales, chosen as "pioneer areas" by the Home Office, following the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership's commendable work in reducing levels of crime in the county borough by 22.8% over the past three years.
The brand new initiative will aim to boost public confidence in how crime is tackled and justice delivered in the Caerphilly county borough – the employment of a dedicated Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Co-ordinator to work within the community safety partnership will play a leading role in achieving this aim.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, "The public have told us what they want from policing and the justice system – services that listen and act on their priorities.
But sometimes the criminal justice system can feel remote and appear more interested in supporting offenders than punishing them or protecting communities. We are determined to take action on this across Government.
I am grateful to the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership for signing up to take action to open up the criminal justice system so that the public can see the tough consequences for those that break the law and also driving forward the action needed so that the public know what their rights are from the police when they are suffering crime and anti social behaviour.
The new neighbourhood crime and justice coordinators will be a dedicated resource to act on the public's behalf to make sure that justice is done and seen to be done in their local communities."
The co-ordinator will also work to ensure that community payback in the local community is visible and tough and that the public know the rights that the new national "Policing Pledge" gives them.
The new co-ordinator will be a powerful force to take forward the radical vision set out in the Casey Review – "Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime", to give the public a greater say in the way their streets are policed and how offenders are dealt with. The new coordinator will work to:
- Let the residents of the Caerphilly county borough know their entitlement in the new Policing Pledge so that they know their rights, know who their local Neighbourhood Policing Team are, how they can hold them to account and the minimum level of service they should expect
- Open up the Criminal Justice System so that there are clear and public consequences for criminals that the public get to know about, including more visible community payback
- Ensure that services and support for victims and witnesses like separate seating arrangements at court are up to scratch
Unfortunately, despite significant decreases in levels of crime of 22.8% throughout the Caerphilly county borough over the past three years, research suggests that 58% of the UK public still feel that crime is the single most important issue facing Britain today.
This Neighbourhood Crime and Justice initiative will work by building on the work already being undertaken throughout the borough by the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership to help reduce this figure, and to also reduce levels of fear of crime, which remains disproportionately high.
The Caerphilly county borough was selected to be a pioneer area for the initiative because the Home Office are pleased with the way the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership is already progressing some of the key proposals outlined in the Casey Review – the Home Office report which will be used as the basis for the Neighbourhood Crime and Justice initiative.
The Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership already boasts:
- An extremely well developed PACT (Partnerships and Communities Together) process – since PACT began in March 2007, the process has engaged with over 15,000 residents and multi agency meetings have been held in all of Caerphilly county borough's 33 wards.
- The innovative and award winning CANDO (Community and Neighbourhood Directed Operations) initiative – CANDO works with communities throughout the Caerphilly county borough to identify solutions to local problems, which includes providing a high visibility presence to tackle the identified issues.
- A well established "Parenting Programme", which is primarily funded by the Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership and works with parents of youngsters who have either offended, or who are in danger of offending. It looks at ways of helping them to alter their child's behaviour and encourages pro social behaviour. Research suggests that better parenting is the top thing (58%) the UK public say would do most to reduce crime.
- Well formed links with the local Youth Offending Service (YOS) and Probation Service – people who have offended will often have to take part in community reparation work, as a means of giving something back to the community and making amends for what they have done. This may involve litter picks, gardening, working in charity shops, graffiti removal and all manner of other tasks. Research suggests that 90% of the UK public agree that community punishments for crime should involve some form of payback to the community.
Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, Cllr Lindsay Whittle, who is also WLGA spokesperson for equality, social justice and community safety said, "I am delighted that the Caerphilly county borough has been selected as a pioneer area for this excellent new initiative.
The appointment of a Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Coordinator will help us to build on our successes as being one of the frontrunners in Wales with regards to reducing levels of crime and disorder, and it will also give us the opportunity to look at further ways of engaging with the local community.
I hope that this brand new initiative will also illustrate our commitment to enhancing public confidence in the criminal justice system, by ensuring that our local residents can see the tough consequences for those who break the law.
This truly is an excellent initiative, and one that illustrates partnership working at its best – long may it continue."
The Safer Caerphilly Community Safety Partnership is a multi agency organisation, whose five statutory bodies are Caerphilly County Borough Council, Gwent Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, Caerphilly teaching Local Health Board and Gwent Police Authority. It works to reduce levels of crime, disorder, anti social behaviour and fear of crime in the local area.
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