Community Crime Prevention Projects
Arlington Racial Harassment Monitoring Project
This was a racial harassment project in a Labour run London borough. The aims of the project were: to collate information on racial harassment within diverse public agencies, to raise the profile of racial harassment as a problem; and to develop and co-ordinate racial harassment policy. The project brought together senior personnel from various local authority departments, including housing and social services, the police and the probation service, as well as representatives of various ethnic minority groups. The project had a borough-wide focus and was staffed by a council administrator.
Churchway Anti-Crime Project
This project was part funded by a local Safer Cities initiative. It straddled two inner London boroughs (both Labour controlled). The project constituted one of the first joint initiatives between the two boroughs in the field of crime and its prevention. The history of relations between the two councils had involved little collaboration or mutual support. Consequently, the project was seen as an important step forward in establishing inter-borough working relations. The project brought together senior officers from both councils, alongside the police, probation service, community workers and community representatives. In part, the project sought to identify and raise the profile of the geographical areas as a political entity for the purpose of further funding, particularly from the Single Regeneration Budget. The project's main concerns were with co-ordinating policy and strategy in relation to the management and prevention of prostitution and drug related offences, for which the area had a well-known reputation. Addressing these issues, through high profile interventions, was seen as an important step in the economic regeneration of the area.
This project was aimed at crime prevention on a ‘high crime’ council estate not far from the Churchway area. The project was led by one of the councils involved in the Churchway project, an inner London (Labour controlled) local authority. The partnership also brought together representatives from the police and the local community. The council had developed a reputation in the 1980s as being an ‘anti-police’ authority. More recently, the council had attempted to shed this image by raising the profile of ‘partnership’ work with the police in particular.
Greengage Bicycle Theft Project
This project was a replication of a successful crime prevention initiative conducted in Amsterdam and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Justice. It was established in a reasonably affluent town in the London commuter belt. It was located in the county in the South East of England in which the survey of police and probation officers (reported in Chapter 4) was conducted. The aims of the project were: to address the problem of bicycle theft and to raise the profile, and promote the use, of bicycles as an alternative means of transport in the area. Second-hand bicycles (unclaimed from the police pound) were restored, painted a distinctive colour, and left at identified places for people to use. The project was established by key workers in the police, the local authority (a Conservative run borough council), and the probation service. The project gained significant financial support from private businesses. The council worker was a self-proclaimed cycling enthusiast and the project relied heavily upon the energy and enthusiasm of all three of the lead project workers. The project involved no direct community representation, but was considered by the workers as ‘for’ and ‘in’, even if not ‘by’, the ‘community’.
Highfield Crime Prevention Group
This ‘partnership’ began as an initiative between the local council and the police to co-ordinate crime prevention throughout the borough. The Conservative controlled outer London authority set up a multi-agency working party to look at how it should address crime prevention in the light of the Morgan Report and associated government circulars. There had been no established history of council/police co-ordinated action. The former had taken the firm view that crime prevention was a police responsibility. Hence, the council were largely perceived to have been ‘pushed’ by central government into some action, rather than having ‘jumped’ into a partnership approach.
This was an initiative focused upon an inner London (Labour controlled) local authority housing estate. A multi-agency group directed a number of front-line workers from the participating agencies. Incorporated agencies included the police, social services, neighbourhood officers, local authority representatives from the executive office, housing department, community safety unit, community workers, local community, and tenants association representatives. The aim was to reduce certain types of crime on the estate—most notably burglary and vandalism—through a multi-focused approach. For example, the police established a ‘police surgery’ on the estate to provide local people with a place to report crimes without having to go to the more remote local police station, the council neighbourhood officer successfully sought and attracted funds for a music rehearsal studio for the local community centre and the council also embarked upon architectural modifications and environmental design aimed at crime prevention.
Northley Multi-Agency Partnership
This project was a city-wide Safer Cities partnership, in the North of England, which brought together senior representatives from the police, probation service, the council, the health service, prominent interest groups, the voluntary and business sectors into a steering committee. Administered by a co-ordinator with limited secretarial support, and in line with similar schemes around the country (see Tilley 1993) the project had three years of government funding (approximately £100,000 each year) enabling a programme of small grants to be administered. The partnership aimed: to draw up a detailed crime and community profile of the city; to grant aid high profile and innovative community safety initiatives under the headings of ‘fear of crime and victimisation’, ‘neighbourhood community safety’, and ‘young people and community safety’; to monitor and evaluate projects and disseminate good practice; and to develop an exit strategy which would extent the initial work of the project and link the community with the private sector.
This involved a series of related community crime prevention initiatives in a deprived area of a city in the North of England. The area straddled three different council wards. The initiatives drew upon city council and central government funding, paralleled by bottom-up attempts from within the community to establish their own residents' association in order to engage with public and private sector agencies, and to attract funding into the area. The area had a mixed and transient population with a high number (p.318) of students attending the two local universities and other higher education colleges. There was a high level of local youth unemployment. The area was the site of minor street disturbances between local youths and the police. There was a particularly high burglary rate in the area, with an annual peak of recorded burglary in the months of September and October with the arrival (and return) of the student population as the principal victims. One of the central conflicts within the area revolved around the relations between the student population and the local residents, many of whom resented their apparent wealth, the attention that they received from certain local traders and publicans, and the disturbance (noise and litter) that they caused. The problem of private landlords buying up properties to rent to students further exacerbated relations.
South Ornley Burglary Project
This project was a joint police and local authority initiative aimed at giving free advice and assistance in upgrading the physical security of properties in an area of high burglary. The council was a Labour controlled London borough. The area was not exclusively council owned property but a mixture of forms of private tenure. The project involved the police, the local authority community safety officer, and community representatives working with private sector contractors. The initiative was in part a response to local residents lobbying the council and demanding that ‘something be done’ in the area. This lobbying was led by the local neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, who for some time had advocated council intervention. A number of other residents were unsupportive of the initiative, in the fear that it might attract unwanted and adverse publicity to the area. As a consequence, there was a particularly low take-up rate of the assistance offered by the scheme in the area.
Tenmouth Anti-Burglary Initiative
This project was a replication of the Home Office funded Kirkholt demonstration project (see Forrester et al. 1988; Forrester 1990). It aimed to reduce burglary through the systematic collection and collation of information (including data from interviews with offenders and victims); and to target repeat victims in the co-ordination of crime prevention. The project was established by the police and probation service. Both organizations seconded a full-time officer to the project during its two-year life span. The project had no obvious geographical boundaries, with a diverse ethnic population and housing tenure, and was spread over two police ‘areas’ of south and central Tenmouth which included eight local authority wards. The project was managed by a multi-agency committee incorporating senior police and probation officers, as well as representatives from Victim Support (the chair of the committee), the local authority, and a variety of (p.319) ‘community’ groups. It was situated in a large commuter belt town, in the county in which the survey of police and probation officers (reported in Chapter 4) was conducted. The eventual aim of the project was that by the end of the secondment period it should be community ‘owned’. The project report written at the end of the secondment period declared the aims to have been: ‘To devise a joint plan between the statutory and voluntary agencies, commercial sector and the community towards frustrating the activities of burglars and the fear they provoke—and make it work!’
Westbridge Drug Project
This was a local authority led initiative which drew together senior personnel from the police, probation service, social services, the health authority, and the council (a Labour run London borough). The project was co-ordinated and administered from the council's crime prevention unit which, since the mid 1980s, had developed a history and reputation for innovative work with the police. The aim of the project was to develop, adopt, and co-ordinate an approach to drug abuse prevention, emphasizing the health and safety, as well as the law enforcement, aspects of regulation. This was to involve the prescription of ‘clean’ drugs to users. The initiative deliberately avoided direct ‘community’ representation, preferring to draw together local ‘experts’ with a ‘community focus’.
Leighdale Victim/Offender Mediation Service
This was a county-wide victim/offender mediation scheme funded by the probation service (the same probation service as that funding the Oldcastle scheme). The service was initially set up by workers from a nearby, more established scheme to which it turned for training, expertise, and guidance in the early years. The service straddled a number of different organizational boundaries, in an area including one medium size city and a number of smaller, ex-industrial towns and villages. The advisory committee drew upon representatives of the police and Victim Support (in the two police divisions in the area), as well as local Justices of the Peace, Youth Justice workers, and senior probation managers. The scheme took referrals from a variety of agencies but primarily from the police, probation, and social services. It operated both pre- and post-sentence mediation. It claimed not to work to court deadlines, and this was borne out by the fact that most of the work occurred at the post-sentence stage. In relation to pre-sentence reports, mediators were willing to complete reports on the offender's progress which were submitted to the court for its consideration.
This neighbourhood mediation scheme existed on low funding from charitable bodies and the local council, via the environment and housing departments. The unstable nature of funding meant that the scheme drifted from one financial uncertainty to the next. Consequently, much energy was put into the task of remaining solvent. The co-ordinator and volunteer mediators were overseen by a multi-agency management committee which drew together representatives from the police, probation service, social services, the local victim/offender mediation scheme, local community and ethnic groups. There was a high turnover of staff and management committee members. In addition to neighbourhood mediation the scheme sought to promote mediation in schools and ‘elder mediation’, between the elderly and those charged with caring for them.
Oldcastle Victim/Offender Mediation Scheme
This city-wide victim/offender mediation scheme was originally established, with multi-agency and Safer Cities Project funding, on two housing estates within the city. It was subsequently extended to cover the entire city and came to be funded entirely by the probation service upon the termination of Safer Cities funding. Initially, the scheme had sought to develop its own ‘victim oriented’ model of mediation, which was different from a nearby older and more established scheme in the same probation service. Over time and under pressure from probation service managers the scheme came more closely to resemble other schemes in the region including the Leighdale service. The multi-agency advisory committee was set up after the scheme initially survived without one. It incorporated key police officers, senior probation officers, representatives of voluntary organizations, advice agencies, and community groups. Unlike the Leighdale scheme it was initially unwilling to provide statements to the courts, but on the insistence of the probation management it changed its policy. However, the detail provided did not extend beyond a statement that the individual had been referred to the scheme or was undergoing mediation.