Fighting fund to turn tide of violence

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A FUND of £500,000 has been set up by the county police authority to help tackle rising tide of violence.

In its final Local Policing Plan before a Police and Crime Commissioner takes over in November, the authority has told police to cut violent crime by 3.5 per cent this year.

The force was told to cut violence by five per cent last year but it rose by 6.3 per cent. In response the authority, which sets the police’s budget and priorities, has put aside extra money.

Authority chairman Deirdre Newham said: “We did the same thing with anti-social behaviour two years ago. We gave them money and asked them to reduce it.

“What we have done this year is we have put the money aside and said we want you to do something similar.”

The authority gave police a £200,000 fund to fight anti-social behaviour two years ago and the Evening Telegraph reported last month that it fell by a fifth last year.

Ms Newham said police had already started work on the new target and the 6.3 per cent rise was better than expected a month ago, when violence was up seven per cent year-on-year.

She said police presence in town centres had cut violence on Friday and Saturday nights and domestic violence was down, but other violence had risen.

Anne Lee, a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for Pipers Hill Road, Kettering, said the rise was probably a result of robberies at shops and post offices, and suggested a sponsored CCTV scheme.

She said: “I translate for the police and see that CCTV is very successful at resolving crime.”

The force, which has seen a £2m cut drop in its budget this year, has been told to cut all crime by two per cent, reduce re-offending related to serious acquisitive crime, such as burglary, and increase the number of crimes solved.

Less than a third of crime was solved last year and the force missed its target of solving half of violent incidents with injury and serious sexual offences by a fifth.

After consulting 2,677 members of the public the police authority has set the police three objectives.

These are protecting the vulnerable, reducing offending and providing excellent policing services.

Priority areas identified by the public are anti-social behaviour, violence and burglary.

Police will focus on criminals who repeatedly target vulnerable people, such as victims of domestic abuse, sexual offences, hate crime and robbery.

They aim to cut crime and re-offending through early intervention, especially on drug and alcohol abuse, and recognising the high impact of crimes like metal theft.

The force aims to improve satisfaction with its overall service from 86.4 per cent to at least 87 per cent.

Last year the police only met three of its eight targets.

Ms Lee said: “The aim to cut violence is very good. It will reduce the fear of crime and that’s very important.”