Safer Future Communities - around the country
On this page we are collecting news and views about Police and Crime Commissioners, their work and their relationships with the local voluntary and community sector.
Please send contributions for this page to Robert Beard.
Avon and Somerset
Young black and minority ethnic (BME) people are being invited to take part in focus group sessions on 25 and 26 February to gather their views in relation to policing and crime in Avon and Somerset. The sessions being organised in partnership by Black South West Network (BSWN), Voscur and Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG) will offer those taking part the chance to share their views on and help identify the key issues affecting BME young people that they would like their PCC Sue Mountstevens to address. Young people from each focus group will then be invited to present their findings to the PCC at a round table meeting to be held in March. The focus groups and the meeting with the PCC provide an exciting opportunity for the young people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds to make their voices heard on the how the police and the criminal justice system impact on their lives. For more information or to book a place phone Sado at BSWN (0117 939 6648 ) or Matthew at Voscur (0117 909 9949).
Bedfordshire's Safer Future Communities Network, led by NAVCA member Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, was launched on 21 June 2012. In September two meetings were held, one in the north of the county and one in Luton, to discuss the voluntary sector's priorities for the forthcoming Police and Crime Plan. Representatives from the Network then met with other stakeholders shortly afterwards to put forward the voluntary sector's views.
Just before the election of the PCC, Victim Support held a hustings event for organisations working with victims. Following the election, the Network met with Olly Martins, Bedfordshire's PCC, to discuss his priorities for Bedfordshire and how they might work together. Victim Support is hoping for a further meeting, funding permitting.
For further information, please contact Janet Ridge on 01234 832611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cumbria's Police and Crime Panel has sent its PCC Richard Rhodes a list of questions they want answered, following his apology for using a tax-payer funded chauffeur-driven car and delaying the declaration of his expenses. According to BBC News, information about the matter was leaked to the local press, leading to a complaint from the PCC's office and three arrests. Responding to the case, Shadow Minister for Policing David Hanson MP has questioned whether PCCs have too much power and too few checks. The local SFC Network is led by NAVCA member Cumbria CVS.
Devon and Cornwall
The Devon and Cornwall SFC network is led by Devon reForm, a forum for local VCS organisations working in the field of criminal justice and rehabiblitation. The network has a facebook page which enables local people to send messages to Devon's PCC Tony Hogg.
Dorset's PCC Martyn Underhill sought the views of the public to help inform his Council Tax policing precept proposal for 2013/14. His proposal was presented to the Police and Crime Panel on 7 February 2013. An on-line poll was available on the PCC Dorset website to enable local people to be consulted. NAVCA member Bournmouth CVS hosts the VCS Criminal Justice Forum for organisations working in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole.
Metro reports that Commissioner Underhill is considering having police officers sponsored by private companies, saying, "I can see huge potential benefit to forming appropriate sponsorship relationships with reputable organisations. They will give Dorset police greater funding to combat crime and provide reassurance to communities."
Compact Voice has published a case study showing how Gloucestershire Association for Voluntary and Community Action (GAVCA) worked proactively with the Gloucestershire Police Authority and Gloucestershire Constabulary to help the Voluntary and Community Sector to engage with and influence the new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
Lancashire has a redesigned website offering news and information about the PCC elections, links to facebook and twitter options and, uniquely, a musical number entitled Be Part Of It by The Lancashire Hotpots!
As part of Safer Future Communities in Leicestershire, SFC network lead Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) has organised a consultation in collaboration with the Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Office of the Police Crime Commissioner. PCC Sir Clive Loader formally presented his draft plan to the Leicestershire Police and Crime Panel on Wednesday 30 January 2013 along with his proposals for the budget. The draft plan covers his intentions for tackling crime and reducing the number of victims in Leicestershire over the next four years from a police perspective. This event gives the opportunity for the VCS and the community the VCS supports to be consulted on this draft plan to help shape a refined plan due to be issued in September 2013.
Lincolnshire volunteer centres have been awarded funding from the Innovation in Giving Fund, which is run by Nesta and funded by the Cabinet Office. They will work in partnership with Lincolnshire's PCC Alan Hardwick to design a new volunteer role for supporting the police. The idea will enable volunteers to have a greater impact on community safety.
On 1 May 2013, Commissioner Hardwick announced a bid to have 1,000 volunteers working alongside the police.
The publication of London's Police and Crime plan by the Mayor's Office for Police and Crime has been welcomed by Sutton's Borough Commander Guy Ferguson, but received a very mixed reception from other Police sources. Channel 4's FactCheck has also challenged some of Mayor Boris Johnson's claims.
Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations (GMCVO) has a dedicated webpage on Preparing for Police and Crime Commissioners.
Jane Kennedy, Merseyside’s PCC, has committed to regular attendance at the Merseyside Safer Future Communities Network, managed by NAVCA member Sefton CVS, and has been at all three of their meetings to date. Commissioner Kennedy has reported her involvement with the Network on her own website. Sefton CVS believes that this commitment encourages other partners to attend and is the foundation for the Network's long-term success: "Our PCC genuinely values the Network as a conduit for VCFSE Sector engagement."
Reducing Crime by Reducing Crisis events
Altogether 74 people from 45 organisations (eight of which were statutory) attended the two events held on 19 and 20 March, promoted by Voluntary Norfolk for the Norfolk SFC Network The events were for voluntary and community groups and statutory agencies to consider the relationship between health and well-being and crime and anti-social behaviour. The two events also set out to explore how the new Police and Crime Commissioner might engage with voluntary and community groups to support the priorities of the Police and Crime Plan. The format for the two meetings differed, but both had scene setting introductions and addressed the same four questions in smaller workshop settings.
Overall outcome of the meetings were that:
The Police and Crime Commissioner’s responsibility to reduce crime makes engagement with a wide range of voluntary and community groups essential.
Local voluntary and community groups contribute to crime reduction and community cohesion through their:
- knowledge and expertise
- ability to reach and work with individuals and communities in ways that other agencies can’t
- the sector’s focus on involving users and on measures that support prevention mean that the voluntary sector often complements police activity
Voluntary and community groups can support the PCC by:
- helping to identify priorities
- trialling new ways of tackling known issues
- attracting additional external funding
- ontinuing to deliver the range of services that it does
- engaging actively with the PCC and providing user-led views about service provision and service gaps
In order to maximise the contribution that voluntary and community groups can make to crime prevention and improving social cohesion, the PCC should:
- take steps to understand the various ways that voluntary sector services contribute to the objectives of the Police and Crime Plan
- be open, fair, transparent and inclusive in all dealings with the sector
- involve the sector from the earliest stages of policy and service planning
- be pro-active in encouraging genuine partnership working
- learn from past successes and failures in developing new relationships with the sector
The ways that a genuine partnership can be developed include:
- enabling frequent open communication through a range of media
- building on the networks and forums that already exist
- actively seeking the views of smaller groups and less confident contributors
The presentations given on at the events are available on the network's website.
These meetings were made possible by funding from the national Safer Future Communities project and additional support from the Norfolk Community Safety Partnership. All funding for the Norfolk Network ended at the end of March. Voluntary Norfolk is continuing to explore alternative sources to fund some continuation of the Norfolk Safer Communities Network but so far this has not been identified and until funding can be secured Network activities are having to be put on hold.
North Yorkshire and York Forum launched its Safer Future Communities Network at an event on 24 July 2012. Representatives from the Police Authority and North Yorkshire County Council spoke at the launch, giving an insight into how the Police & Crime Commissioners will work with the voluntary sector.
Nottinghamshire PCC Paddy Tipping will brave a potentially chilly night under the stars to help homeless people to rebuild their lives. Commissioner Tipping will join nearly 100 other volunteer rough sleepers at the rearranged ninth annual Mansfield Big Snore, organised by Framework Housing Association, on the night of Friday 1 March. He said, "People sleeping rough, those who have nowhere to call home are some of the most vulnerable in our society. They are at an increased risk of being mugged, robbed and abused and we need to help them regain their footing in society, with a home and job to call their own." The SFC network lead for Notinghamshire is NAVCA member One East Midlands.
South West Forum has created a dedicated webpage and emailed its contacts outlining opportunities and challenges arising from the change from Police Authorities to elected Police and Crime Commissioners, providing contact details for the local NAVCA members leading the SFC Networks in each of its police force areas and including links to both NAVCA's SFC webpages and the Clinks website.
South Yorkshire's Safer Future Communities network is led by NAVCA member Voluntary Action Sheffield. South Yorkshire's PCC Shaun Wright has his own website where he publishes his surgery details, and a twitter account.
Commissioner Wright has published his draft Police and Crime Plan for 2013-2017. Although the budget for the police will be reducing by 7.2% across South Yorkshire, he will protect neighbourhood policing. The number of support staff will be reduced but the number of police officers will remain the same. In addition there will be recruitment of an additional 200 Special Constables over the next two years as the South Yorkshire force has a low number compared to other forces.
Commisioner Wright has also announced a small grants scheme offering non-profit voluntary and community organisations throughout South Yorkshire the chance to apply for £10,000-£50,000 to help towards their projects. He has now published a reflection on his first one hundred days in office.
South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Panel publishes its meeting documents online.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfield, has committed to maintaining the local Safer Future Communities network, managed by NAVCA member Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA), for a further year from his own budget. His support will at least match the £6,000 provided by the Home Office in the first year of the project. Commissioner Stansfield recognises the advantages of having a single organisation to filter and channel all the individual communications and requests for funding submitted by voluntary and community groups, and to facilitate his communication with them. It is to be hoped that other PCCs will follow his lead.
West Yorkshire's PCC Mark Burns-Williamson launched his Police and Crime Plan on 27 March 2013. Anyone interested in the Plan is invited to discuss it on the Commissioner's facebook page and on twitter.
Wiltshire and Swindon
Wessex Community Action has produced Building Stronger and Safer Communities: a quick guide to the voluntary and community sector in Wiltshire & Swindon for prospective Police and Crime Commissioners. This was included in the briefing pack which Wiltshire Police Authority prepared for PCC candidates and may be downloaded from the Safer Future Communities Wiltshire & Swindon website.
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