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COMMENT ON CURRENT LOCAL REDUCTION STRATEGIES UNDER THE CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1998. TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD CENTRAL CRIME REDUCTION AND PERFORMANCE TARGETS INFORM LOCAL INITIATIVES IN THIS AREA?

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Introduction

University of Portsmouth Bsc. (Hons) Policing and Police Studies COMMENT ON CURRENT LOCAL REDUCTION STRATEGIES UNDER THE CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1998. TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD CENTRAL CRIME REDUCTION AND PERFORMANCE TARGETS INFORM LOCAL INITIATIVES IN THIS AREA? Registration Number 227296 COMMENT ON CURRENT LOCAL REDUCTION STRATEGIES UNDER THE CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1998. TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD CENTRAL CRIME REDUCTION AND PERFORMANCE TARGETS INFORM LOCAL INITIATIVES IN THIS AREA? It will be the intention of this essay to 'comment on current local reduction strategies under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. To what extent should central crime reduction and performance targets inform local initiatives in this area? In doing so the author recognises the wide-ranging changes introduced, in particular those in respect of youth justice. However in the short scope of this document it will not be feasible to cover them all. As a consequence I will focus on two issues, which have direct impact upon the police. Firstly I will discuss the origins of the Act and the government thinking that lead to its inception. I will then explain the process of the crime audit, the shift in responsibility and the philosophy behind this, whilst also including some of the benefits and difficulties the audit poses. I will then comment on the introduction of the National Policing Plan and where attempts to exert central control in this area, places the police service, at a local level. ...read more.

Middle

The publication of documents, which highlight the failings and internal problems within schools, may also have an adverse affect. The underlying need for all to contribute openly is required if crime and disorder reduction partnerships are to be effective. This resistance on behalf of some not to contribute, or contribute fully, will lead to an obvious problem immediately, If they don't all participate how can we get it right. Such a sweeping piece of legislation, which introduced a new method to be adopted by so many different agencies and organisations, should have been complemented with some form of basic training. This may have helped alleviate problems in the evidence collection process of the crime audit, explained the need for all to contribute fully whilst at the same time lessoning the anxieties of those who saw the avalanche of government intervention and new legislation increasing their work load to a point where partnerships perceived that they would be unable to cope. A further difficulty in inter agency cooperation was the need for partners to overcome the issue of language within their own organisations. 'Police speak' for example, incorporates a whole host of terms and abbreviations that would not be understood by those outside of the service. The Home office evaluation in 2000 found that there were wide variations in understanding precisely what the terms used by the respective agencies actually meant. ...read more.

Conclusion

The dedication to do so has probably required this central bearing and control. However, it is my assumption that by insisting that the police service implement centrally informed targets that are in conflict with locally identified needs, places the whole process in jeopardy. By taking responsibility away from the police and sharing it with others through a process that ensure they all embark on a joint course of action is to be welcomed. But to then direct funding to the police locally and impose central initiatives and performance targets upon them, that are contrary to what has been identified and, more importantly, decided upon locally, will isolate the police and cause mistrust and division. It will be seen as the police service still trying to control what occurs here and even not contributing to local delivery of the crime and disorder partnerships programmes. This is quite obviously not the case. The crime audit process should allow for the formation of better informed policing plans, as the police will have access to residents surveys, probation, employment, health and education data. The audit cycle will provide a framework that would allow for greater evaluation of strategies, measure more accurately the impact of crime, the cost and the effectiveness of reduction measures, which in turn should make policing far easier and more efficient. Instead, it is my view that central crime reduction and performance targets do not inform local initiatives; they are in fact in conflict with them. ...read more.

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