Joint approach needed to tackle crime

SOLUTIONS to crime can be found but we need to work together – that is the message behind a new initiative launched by police and councillors in north Essex.

SOLUTIONS to crime can be found but we need to work together – that is the message behind a new initiative launched by police and councillors in north Essex.

Community groups including neighbourhood watches, housing associations and emergency services, were at the Colchester Town Hall yesterday to hear details of the project from the Colchester Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.

The project, called United Solutions, looks at ways of tackling issues that blight the community – vandalism, youth nuisances, noisy neighbours – but are not considered police emergencies.

Deputy Chief Constable of Essex Charles Clark, said: "This is an innovative and exciting project which is aimed at achieving two key ingredients - a better, more informed assessment of local problems and a process, which involves local people, in developing solutions to deal with them.


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"It reflects perfectly the philosophy of community policing in Essex."

Looking at the example of youth nuisances, community safety sergeant Paul Johnson explained the variety of options available to the police, including anti-social behaviour orders, increased police patrols and number of arrests.

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Sgt Johnson said a better solution could be found if the police worked with other community groups and the local council, possibly introducing CCTV or building a youth shelter.

He said: "Youth nuisance is a classic example of something that really blights the community where we're not being as effective as we might be if we all get together.

"It will ease pressure on all agencies. Disorder is a problem for police and the council and everyone plays a particular part. All walks of life can do something in the community but if people want to be involved they are going to have to do some work!"

Sgt Johnson rejected suggestions that united solutions would just be an empty discussion forum.

He said: "It's not about do-gooders at all. It's about people who can make a difference. We've all got a vested interest. It's not just about arresting people - it's about preventing problems with as many innovative solutions as we can think of."

Peter Carrington, community safety co-ordinator for Colchester Borough Council, added: "This is a pioneering, joint, problem-solving process, that seeks to find long-term solutions to crime and disorder and community safety issues rather than short-term fixes.

"It's a natural extension of our ongoing crime and disorder reduction partnership."

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