Government Reveals Its Radical New Crime Prevention Strategy

Article excerpt

The Government set out its plans for a pounds 250 million crime prevention strategy based on "pivotal" new research into how to cut offending.

Popular measures such as beat bobbies, neighbourhood watch schemes and zero tolerance policing have been given the thumbs down in a fundamental review of crime reduction strategies by the Home Office.

Instead, new schemes will focus on stopping children growing up to be criminals, partnership projects to tackle crime "hot spots" and delivering sentences aimed at preventing reoffending.

The overhaul was hailed by Home Secretary Mr Jack Straw as the "largest commitment of its kind ever made in the world" and one he said which signalled the end of the inexorable rise in crime since the First World War.

The cash is likely to be channelled into long-term schemes, such as working with at-risk children and their families to deflect them from a life of crime, or projects producing short and medium term results, such as wide- ranging community schemes to make residential areas safer.

However, Mr Straw said that only projects which had been shown to work - or pilot schemes to test promising proposals - would be funded.

The Home Office report, based on a study of 40 years' research, found that although patrol officers fostered a sense of public security, unless they were targeted at known crime hot-spots they were unlikely to have an impact on crime figures.

Simply increasing the number of police officers was similarly ineffective without clear objectives.

Zero tolerance policing, when police forces deal firmly with offences however minor, did reduce crime in the short term, said researchers. But it could lead to long-term problems, including poor community relations.

Neighbourhood watches were also found to have little impact on national crime figures - often because they were set up in affluent, low-crime areas rather than the high crime communities which need to be the target of new approaches. …