A NEW intranet site* has been launched to identify how the force is performing in 31 ‘priority areas’ which account for disproportionately high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.
The ‘priority areas’ have been set up after research showed that just 6 per cent of the force area accounts for over 25 per cent of demand. These areas present the force – and partners – with huge opportunities to work together to implement co-ordinated and long term interventions that could deliver substantial benefits – including savings – to all the agencies involved.
Working alongside the Jill Dando Institute, the force has identified those areas which suffer higher than average levels of crime and anti-social behaviour. The areas also have: higher than average areas of deprivation, unemployment, education and health provision.
They also have high levels of young people who are at risk of becoming victims and/or offenders unless we can intervene, and are the areas where new and emerging communities are most likely to settle when they initially arrive in the West Midlands.
Organised crime is also disproportionately represented in these areas, with a high number of organised crime group members.
‘Priority areas’ are based on the Chicago problem solving programme (CAPS). Their experience found that by working closely with partners, and having a clear common goal, there was an overall improvement in the quality of life for residents, with sustained reductions in crime and disorder, as well as financial savings for all partners.
“By adopting a similar problem solving approach to the Chicago programme and having a real focus of working with partners in our priority areas, we are committed to making a real and sustainable difference to those families who find themselves living in identified neighbourhoods,” said Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe, the force lead for priority areas.
All LPUs have priority neighbourhoods (with the exception of Dudley). Analysts have received specific training around them and they have been tasked with preparing problem profiles to address problems which cause the most concern. These ‘problems’ will vary from LPU to LPU and could include a wide spectrum of issues, eg, alcohol related ASB, criminal damage and street prostitution.
The neighbourhood leads have produced delivery plans for their areas.
“The delivery plans will be bespoke to the area and will look at how we can do things differently to bring about a solution. The ‘solution’ will be looking at longer term gains rather than a short term ‘fix’, which traditionally the force has focused on,” added ACC Rowe.
To begin with, only those priority areas which have highest levels of crime and anti-social behaviour and account for a disproportionate amount of resources from both the police and partners will be targeted. Once the delivery plans are in place for these areas and are working successfully, the force will look to extending them to the remaining areas.
*Please note that the priority areas intranet site is currently under development and further information will be added in the near future.