Breakdown and Nacro response from Sam Julius
Earlier this week, the Government launched its new “Beating Crime Plan”, supported by a range of initiatives seeking to “tackle the underlying causes of crime.”
Within the Government’s announcement, they state that they rely on Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to drive delivery of this plan.
The announcement follows last week’s funding rollout for temporary accommodation for prison leavers for up to 12 weeks, which was confirmed back in January.
The Beating Crime Plan scheme will be launched in just 5 of the 12 probation regions – East of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West, Greater Manchester, and Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
As part of this package, £13 million has already been allocated through 140 councils across England to help support prison leavers into longer-term accommodation. Additionally, on Thursday July 29, the new homeless prison leavers statistics were released and you can read our response on that here.
The Beating Crime Plan includes the following headline measures:
- Every person living in England and Wales will have access to the police digitally through a national online platform. The idea is to allow everyone access to a range of interactive police services in one coordinated place, including details about neighbourhood policies officers and their contact details so that concerns can be raised directly.
- To develop legal tables on local police and fire services, ranking them on answering calls, so people know how responsive their local force is.
- £45 million in funding for“SAFE” – support, attain, fulfil, exceed – taskforces in both mainstream schools and Alternative Provision. Set up in “serious violence hotspots”, they will use mental health professionals, family workers and speech and language therapists to “support young people at risk of involvement in violence to re-engage in education”.
- Pre-existing 18 Violence Reduction Units to receive £17m extra funding focused on those admitted to A&E with a knife injury or following contact with police.
- Expansion of the use of electronic monitoring for serious “acquisitive” (theft, burglary etc) offenders to a further 13 police force areas.
- Trialling the use of alcohol tags which can detect alcohol in the sweat of offenders guilty of drink-related crimes. This will be trialled in Wales.
- The Government is aiming to hire 1,000 prison leavers into the civil service by 2023.
- Relaxation of the conditions on the use of section 60 stop and search powers with the stated goal of “taking more knives off the streets”.
There were additional announcements on tackling illegal drugs which will form part of the Government’s drugs approach, to be set out in response to Dame Carol Black’s review. The second part of Black’s report – released at the beginning of July – can be read here, with a focus on prevention, treatment and recovery.
It’s critical we tackle serious violence, but we believe that expanding stop and search powers isn’t the answer. This can be ineffective in preventing violent crime, have a huge impact on community relationships with the local authorities and can be used disproportionately against those from minority ethnic backgrounds, particularly young black men.
We welcome the commitment to increase the number of people engaging in substance misuse treatment after release from prison. But many would be far better served with community sentences which are more effective at reducing reoffending.
Community engagement is important for rehabilitation, but for the focus on unpaid work to be only on making sure people see that it is done misses the point. Unpaid work needs to have purpose & help rehabilitation. Working with communities is the answer, not increasing stigma.
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