Strengthening communities

Most people care deeply about the neighbourhood and community in which they live, and many play an active role in making their neighbourhood a better place to live. 

Unfortunately far too many people tell us that the biggest priority in their area is tackling anti-social behaviour – noisy neighbours, litter, fly-tipping, groups hanging around or graffiti and criminal damage. All these really impact on people’s quality of life and weaken communities – we know that people who perceive high levels of anti-social behaviour are significantly more likely to feel that their neighbours don’t look out for one another.  
We also know that too many people don’t report anti-social behaviour, because they don’t believe their complaint will be taken seriously, or that anything will happen if they do. 

Creating stronger communities 

We need to create stronger communities – ones where people are informed about what action is happening to address their concerns, where people feel it is worth them taking the time to pick up the phone, go to a residents’ meeting or put a youth night on for the local kids. 

Face the people 

We want to make sure that we build on good practice and promote a dialogue between local people and local services by introducing regular ‘Face the people’ sessions.  

These are question and answer sessions open to the public, the local media and community groups, at which a senior representative from the police and local authority will be available to take responsibility for the actions of their services. This is not just about helping the local agencies to be accountable to their community, but also about giving them the chance to enlist the support and help of the local community.  

Neighbourhood policing 

Neighbourhood policing is a huge reform for the police service and one which is a major opportunity to bring the police, local authorities and the public closer together.  

The Government is putting an extra 18,000 police community support officers on the street. By April 2007 every area will have its own neighbourhood policing team, responding to and taking action on local priorities.  

Where neighbourhood policing has already been rolled out, public perception about anti-social behaviour has fallen and confidence in the police has risen. The success of the programme is based on the fact that it listens and responds to local problems, taking visible action in the community and feeding that action back to residents. Find out more at www.neighbourhoodpolicing.co.uk .

Community call for action 

We are committed to introducing a power that will give local communities a formal way to ensure that action is taken by the police, local authorities and others in response to persistent anti-social behaviour or community safety problems. Or if that action is not taken, the community will have a right to a public explanation. The first port of call will be the ward councillor and we expect that the majority of complaints will be resolved at this stage.


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