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Harlow Council is proposing to strengthen its existing partnership work with blue light services, criminal justice partners, businesses, charities, and community and faith groups as it toughens its approach to tackling antisocial behaviour (ASB) and crime in the town.
Last night (22 September), the council’s Cabinet agreed a new community safety strategy which will drive how it responds to residents and businesses impacted by antisocial behaviour as it works to make the town safer. In a marked step change from the past, a new approach to engagement will be established following a review to make sure victims of antisocial behaviour have increased confidence in the council’s approach.
At the heart of the strategy is a commitment to:
- Strengthening engagement with residents;
- Implementing a renewed and more proactive approach to community safety; and
- Adopting a zero-tolerance approach to crime and ASB.
One of the commitments in the strategy is to establish a Community Safety Hub in the town – this work is being undertaken in partnership with the county’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. The hub will strengthen partnership working, improve intelligence and information sharing, and help partners share resources and increase the visibility and public access to community safety partners in the town. There is an ambition for the hub to be in a central location in the town to ensure it is as accessible as possible to residents.
The community safety strategy has been developed to also complement the existing Police and Crime Plan put in place by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. Only by developing a coordinated approach can more progress be made to address the actions of persistent perpetrators of ASB and crime.
Councillor Joel Charles, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Business and Community Resilience, said:
“The new community safety strategy is focused on enhancing confidence in the council’s approach towards antisocial behaviour and crime. I know that residents have been frustrated in the past that when they have reported antisocial behaviour to the council, the level of engagement and understanding of what action will be undertaken has not been as forthcoming as it could have been. This strategy aims to change all of that and move the council in a more proactive direction. I want victims of antisocial behaviour to feel more confident that when they report an issue, they will be listened to.
“There is also a renewed commitment towards partnership working. The Safer Harlow Partnership, made up of organisations working to reduce antisocial behaviour and crime, is an important vehicle in the town that can help the council achieve its aim to be more responsive and support action to tackle hotspots of criminality. This work has been backed by our local Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, who is working with the council to further invest in crime prevention.
“Six priority areas have been identified for action, including domestic abuse, county lines, hate crime and protecting vulnerable people. The council wants residents, community and faith groups, and businesses to continue to feel safe in the town. There can never be any complacency, alongside the continued successful rollout of CCTV in underpasses, this community safety strategy provides a clear roadmap for a coordinated response to antisocial behaviour and crime that works.”
The strategy will now go out to public consultation for six weeks before it is adopted.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner said:
“We all want to see less crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities and by working together we can make this happen. Having spoken to local businesses, partners and the public I know there is a real passion in Harlow to make a positive change, get crime down and stamp out anti-social behaviour.
“I am particularly pleased to see Harlow’s commitment to establishing a Community Safety Hub. This is a great way to get partners working together to drive down crime and anti-social behaviour and is a key objective in my Police and Crime Plan. The Hubs provide agencies and partners with a shared workspace fostering a much stronger sense of partnership and collaboration helping everybody to focus on prevention and early intervention.”