Community Safety- Council 24.4.18
There is increasing concern about the levels of crime in the town. The number of PCSOs and police officer has been cut drastically leaving us with 50 Neighbourhood officers for the whole town; 28 PCSOs, 15 Police Constables and 7 Sergeants. With shift work, holidays and sickness we don't see many on our streets. Crime and the fear of crime are a big. The police and other services are reduced due to funding cuts at both County and Borough levels.
As the support for our communities diminishes our most vulnerable families are suffering. The loss of Sure Start and children's centres, reduction in mental health provision, the imminent closure of our libraries, the patchy funding for youth groups, the low wage economy and the 15,000 children living in poverty, in our town, provide the environment for the gangs to move in form Birmingham and London to exploit our fragile communities.
The police direct their resources based on the Vulnerable Localities Matrix which ranks areas in the county from 1-490. 20 areas within Northampton are in the top 44 labelled Very High. The top three, the only ones in the Extremely High category , are in our town. The matrix is based on several factors - deprivation, poverty, social housing, drugs, gangs, sex workers, violent crime, domestic violence, rapes - these will direct resources to emerging threats.
There is alarming evidence of children as young as 7 years old being drawn into criminal activity. The drug dealers pay them to deliver drugs and they can be seen doing just this on their bikes in full view, in our parks and residential streets. With both parents possibly juggling two jobs and no spare money for the children, peer pressure to have the latest phone and fashionable trainers pushes these young people into the hands of the criminal gangs.
The Early Intervention Hub, run by the police, has been piloting a project in Northampton North East since September 2017. Nine PCSOs and officers are working with 46 schools in the area. They work with children as young as five who have been identified by school staff. There is an acknowledgement by the PCC that the timely help for children and their families who need it will prevent long term, traumatic and costly changes to themselves, their communities and society.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) refers to the sources of stress that children may suffer in early life. These include abuse, neglect, violence between parents, alcohol and substance misuse, and peer and community violence.
Considerable and prolonged stress in childhood has lifelong consequences. It can increase the likelihood of involvement in violence and a range of other problems. Early intervention programmes, such as parenting support can enable parents to provide safe nurturing environments for their children.
Promoting social and emotional learning in Primary schools is critical for supporting children who are at risk of gang involvement, youth violence and other poor outcomes. These social and emotional skills are vitally important for children's life chances. These skills include the ability to understand and manage emotions and regulate behaviour - skills which help children to develop resilience and avoid risky situations.
This council will therefore take the following actions :
- We need to know and understand from the PCC and a new chief constable the full picture of crime in the town.
- We will support the continued funding of the Early Intervention Hub and its expansion to other areas of the town.
- We will ask our Community Safety team to work with partners to assess the risk and produce an updated community safety strategy to include the risk of gang violence and crime to our young children.
- In the recently published Serious Violence Strategy Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, states 'I am also clear that Police and Crime Commissioners have a pivotal role to play and I want to see them prioritise and work in partnership to tackle the serious violence that damages communities'.
- We will urge the PCC and the Community Safety Partnership to bid for funding from the Home Office's £11 million Early Intervention Youth Fund for youth and community groups who support early intervention and prevention activity in children and young people.
This was my speech to our Labour motion. The motion was amended by the Tory administration and turned into a self congratulatory motion about what is happening - not what should done.