In a new paper, to be launched today at Party Conference Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Protection, Cllr Nickie Aiken proposes a new model to deliver localised policing and criminal justice in partnership with Police and Crime Commissioners.
Heralded as the biggest shake up to the service for decades Police and Crime Commissioners offer the opportunity to radically transform local criminal justice. Already a topic of debate at this year’s party conferences there is now an opportunity for ambitious PPCs and their local authority partners to deliver radical solutions to reduce crime.
The cries of low voter turnout, “postcode lottery” in policing and the cost of elections are issues for debate – but they are parochial concerns missing the bigger picture. An injection of democracy and accountability in policing will lead to a more responsive, localised and, ultimately effective, police service.
So where do locally elected leaders sit in this new structure? As a Cabinet Member for Community Protection I am locally responsible for managing relations with the police and putting in place interventions and prevention programmes that tackle crime at its root causes. Yet local authorities are fettered, straight jacketed by a funding regime which is shortsighted and an inflexible criminal justice system that is unresponsive to local need.
Today I will be launching a new model which offers a solution.
Safer Deals are designed to complement the increasing number of City Deals, with local councils incentivised to work closely with the country’s new Police and Crime Commissioners to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. With fear of crime consistently topping residents’ concerns and businesses only wanting to invest in safe and secure neighbourhoods, tackling crime is crucial to boosting economy growth. Through this new model local areas would come together with their Police and Crime Commissioner to design an ‘ask’ to central government, which will be a tailored set of freedoms and flexibilities reliant on reducing crime in a particular area.
For too long models such as the Peterborough Social Impact Bond (SIB) have been the exception. The Peterborough SIB provides an opportunity to test payment by results models aimed at tackling reoffending by short-sentenced prisoners. Through Safer Deals, models such as this could become the norm. Safer Deals are reliant on a Government commitment to recognise the capacity of local areas to reduce crime and reward them accordingly.
This commitment, which chimes resoundingly with the localism agenda, takes Police and Crime Commissioners one step further. Local areas have proven they can deliver, there are examples nationwide of local programmes being successful in tackling and reducing crime, giving Police and Crime Commissioners the assurances that local partners can deliver. Local authorities and their partners should be set free to innovate across the criminal justice system to tackle crime locally. A Safer Deal would deliver this, offering a route map to truly localised public safety.
To find out more about Westminster’s proposed model please join us at our fringe event on Sunday 7th October, 5.30pm, Hall 6A, ICC. The event will also hear from David Rutley MP, PPS to Damian Green, Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and Matthew Ellis, Conservative PCC Candidate, Staffordshire. Chairing the event is Philip Johnston, Assistant Editor and Chief Leader Writer of the Daily Telegraph.