Feature: Modern Crime Prevention Strategy

The Government has published a Modern Crime Prevention Strategy – for a free full download of the strategy and summary booklet go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/modern-crime-prevention-strategy.

The Modern Crime Prevention Strategy refreshes thinking about crime prevention. It’s an interesting opportunity to reflect how research has informed work on prevention.

The new Strategy identifies crime has fallen over the last few years, and changed in its nature. These changes include:

-Burglary and street violence having halved

-D.V. and sexual abuse becoming more visible

-Growing fraud and cyber crime

The Strategy sets out the evidence on the 6 ‘drivers’ (that it presents as the roots of the problem) of crime:

  • Opportunity (remove / design out)
  • Character (early intervention for those at higher risk of offending)
  • Effectiveness of the criminal justice system (deterrence)
  • Profit (reduce benefit from crime)
  • Drugs (Drugs Strategy 2010)
  • Alcohol (making night time economy safer)

For young people at risk of offending there is a drive for Police Cadets (page 19). And for OPCCs there is a reminder of the need for intelligent commissioning, to be influenced by the Cabinet Office Commissioning Academy (page 43).

Given the changes in recorded criminal habits, there is a focus on data / data analytics; use of technology and working in partnership to further reduce crime.

Within that reference to the use of technology, there is a mention of ‘predictive policing’ being trialed. There is also a direction to HMIC to seek out examples of that “innovative use of data and excellent relationships with partners” (page 45). In turn, there’s the Police Transformation Fund, available to enhance forces’ capabilities in tackling rising crime, such as cyber based.

We can find reference to ‘horizon scanning’ and links to the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) and the valuing of industry and academic partnerships.

The Strategy draws on sources such as Farrell, Tilley & Tseloni 2014’s ‘Why crime rates fall and why they don’t’ (Crime & Justice Vol. 43) to point out,“There is conclusive evidence that crime increases when there are more opportunities to offend, and falls when the number of opportunities is reduced”.

Thing is, given other data that shows changes in policing capacity too, linked to budgets, is prevention (better than cure?) being given the priority it arguably deserves nowadays? Open to your comments!

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