Driving down crime
18 October 2012
Councillor Robert Gordon (Con) is Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, Deputy Chairman of the LGA and a member of its Safer and Stronger Communities Board.
We all know that tackling complex issues often requires innovative partnerships. To drive down crime and improve community safety in Hertfordshire, we entered into a formal agreement with the police to form a multi-agency Community Safety Unit – the first of its kind in the country – where management, premises, staff and budgets are shared. It has now grown to include staff from Fire and Rescue, Probation Trust and the NHS.
The unit commissions and manages countywide services and initiatives to reduce crime, antisocial behaviour, substance misuse and re-offending rates. All of the work is driven by intelligence, with a dedicated team of analysts producing shared strategic assessments and information for all partner agencies. Since being established in 2010 the unit has:
- created a web-based mapping system which identifies crime and anti-social behaviour trends at ward level helping to target resources to where they are most needed
- implemented a highly-successful offender management project which has achieved significant reductions in the offending rates of Hertfordshire's most prolific criminals. The scheme looks at the underlying reasons why offenders commit crime and helps them access a range of services, including drug and alcohol support, education, employment opportunities and accommodation, to combat the causes once and for all – so that offenders can find their route out of crime
- developed a drug intervention programme to help adult offenders who misuse class A drugs into treatment and other support. The programme is delivered by a voluntary-sector organisation – Crime Reduction Initiatives
- delivered an alcohol strategy including the operation of taxi marshal schemes in Hertfordshire's town centres and basing workers at A&E departments during key times to offer support to anyone who attends who has an alcohol-related illness or injury
- built a web-based anti-social behaviour case management system which enables joined-up case management for high-risk, repeat or vulnerable victims
- created a countywide advocacy and support service for victims of domestic violence giving victims access to independent advisors who can support them
- developed a commissioned service which undertakes home security advice and fittings, rogue trading prevention advice, home fire safety checks and falls prevention work. The service is free to residents of Hertfordshire and has been funded mainly through proceeds of crime money obtained by our trading standards service.
Political oversight of these initiatives is taken by a cabinet member who chairs the Community Safety Unit Board. This oversees and directs the work of the unit, ensuring that members' priorities are at the heart of these vital initiatives to protecting the people and communities of Hertfordshire.
1 November 2012