The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 requires that the local agencies work in partnership for crime reduction. The partnership concept is the outcome of initiatives that have been taken over the years on the part of part UK government. Following are some major stages that have been identified (http://www.crimereduction.co.uk/) in the development of the present shape of the partnerships.
Home Office Circular 8/1984 laid down the principle that crime prevention should be a significant and integral goal of local and national public policy. It stressed the need for a co-ordinated approach and joint strategies involving partnership.
The Morgan Report (Safer Communities: the Local Delivery of Crime Prevention through the Partnership Approach" Home Office Standing Conference on Crime Prevention. August 1991) introduced the concept of ‘community safety’ and emphasised that crime reduction should be ‘holistic’ covering both situational and social approaches. It noted that crime reduction was a peripheral issue for major agencies and a core activity of none of them (Home Office 1991: 3) and advocated the development of multi-agency crime prevention co-ordinated by local authorities. The Morgan Report identified six elements crucial to multi-agency crime reduction work: structure, leadership, information, identity, durability and resources.
Safer Cities was launched in March 1988 by the Home Office as its contribution to the Action for Cities Programme. A local steering committee with representatives from local government, police, probation, voluntary bodies and commerce was established in each project area. The steering committee's terms of reference were:
to act as a focus for a local multi-agency crime prevention partnership;
to set priorities for the project and oversee the implementation of community safety measures;
to facilitate contact and co-operation between local agencies and interests.
The general approach to the development of crime management strategies within Safer Cities drew upon the problem solving (or problem-oriented) (Sutton 1996). Project co-ordinators were tasked with undertaking a crime audit and develop a three-year strategy and annual action plans. In 1992, a second phase of Safer Cities was announced. Forty new schemes were established, each running for three years.
Crime and Disorder Act 1998: the consultation document Getting to Grips with Crime: A New Framework for Local Action published by Home Office in September 1997 (http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/ggwc.htm) sets out the Government’s intention to provide a new legislative framework to maximise the contribution of all the key partners to crime prevention and community safety and one which gave local people an opportunity to contribute to the process. The document acknowledged the importance of the Morgan Report and its assertion of the need for broadly based multi-agency approaches to crime prevention, and the need to involve voluntary and business sectors as partners. It noted that one of the biggest barriers to progress was seen as the lack of a statutory role for local authorities.
Relevant Extracts of ‘Crime and disorder Act. 1998
Sections 5 and 6
Section 6 requires that responsible authorities shall carry out a review of the levels and patterns of crime and disorder in their area and prepare and publish an analysis of that review. The Crime and Disorder Audit is to inform the partnership of crime and disorder in their area and to formulate a strategy under the Act on how the partnership will look to deliver and sustain reductions in crime and disorder locally. The overall aim of sections 5 and 6 is to ensure that responsible authorities: are aware of the nature of crime and disorder in their area; are able to identify the methods of developing and implementing effective action to help reduce that crime and disorder; and formulate and publish a crime and disorder reduction strategy setting out the findings of the audit and putting the strategy into practice.
Section 5(2) states that the responsible authorities shall act in co-operation with the following:
every police authority any part of whose police area lies within the local government area
every probation committee or health authority any part of whose area lies with the local government area
Governing bodies of schools
Proprietors of independent schools
Governing bodies - further education
Section 17 of the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act 1998 states:
“Without prejudice to any other obligation imposed upon it, it shall be the duty of each authority … to exercise its various functions with due regard to the likely effect of the exercise of those functions on, and the need to do all that it reasonably can to prevent, crime and disorder in its area.”
It applies to a local authority, a joint authority, a police authority, a National Park authority and the Broads authority. For the purpose of the Act, an authority is defined as:
"local authority" means a local authority within the meaning given by section 270(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 or the Common Council of the City of London;
"joint authority" has the same meaning as in the Local Government Act 1985;
"National Park authority" means an authority established under section 63 of the Environment Act 1995.”
Therefore, the Act requires local authorities and others to consider crime and disorder reduction while exercising all of their duties. This reflects the reality that there are crime and/or disorder implications in decisions made across the full range of local authority services, and to correct the current situation under which these implications are often not recognised at the time decisions are taken, with expensive consequences.
Leicestershire Case study: Crime Reduction Strategy and Situational Crime prevention