Neighbourhood crime is at the heart of the policy, with the UK promising to cut homicide, serious violence and more by 2030
In the highly anticipated Levelling Up White Paper by the British Government, clause 3.4.3. proposes the government’s plan to dismantle crime and criminal enterprises.
Their endeavours lie most notably in tackling drugs and organised crime – as well as reform the asylum system with a “tough” new border regime.
Highlighting that most of the issues arising from crime disproportionately effect areas with higher ethnic minorities, it was noted that nearly a quarter of all neighbourhood crime in 2018-19 was concentrated in just 5% of local areas – which appears to be the main focus.
The Levelling Up White Paper states: “Crime erodes social capital, deters investment and job creation, entrenches poverty and undermines prospects for young people.”
“Crime erodes social capital, deters investment and job creation, entrenches poverty and undermines prospects for young people.”
Dismantling criminal enterprises
Creating 20,000 new prisons, the government aims to sequester burglary, robbery and vehicle theft, anti-social behaviour, and violence against women and girls as its primary objectives.
Numerous initiatives are being posed, such as the Safer Streets Fund. This funding will support practical interventions in local areas suffering disproportionately from crime, with a maximum bid size of £500,000 per year. This fund aims to work with local communities and businesses at the outset of bid development and during the lifetime of projects.
Following from the December 2021 ten-year Drugs Strategy, illicit drug use will be disassembled through three priorities: breaking drug supply chains; delivering a world-class treatment and recovery system; and achieving a generational shift in the demand for drugs.
The funding for this goes to drug enforcement, treatment, and recovery, with around £3 billion for the next three years, including nearly £900 million of additional funding targeted to places in the most need. Their goal is to prevent 1,000 deaths, close over 2,000 county lines and contribute to preventing three-quarters of a million crimes by the end of 2024-25.
Finally, working with Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) – which addresses issues of drug misuse – Project ADDER has been extended up until March 2025, taking the total amount of investment to over £100 million in 13 areas including Blackpool, Newcastle, and Norwich.
Digital monitoring to expand via electronic tagging
With these strategies already in place, the government has already reduced their re-offending programmes, rough sleeping services, integrated offender management and current electronic tagging, moving to tighter monitoring by Integrated Offender Management schemes, which incorporates both prison leavers and prolific neighbourhood offenders on community sentences.
The Integrated Offender Management Strategy provides intensive supervision by police and probation services for offenders of neighbourhood crime, with now an additional £183 million, they are to expand electronic monitoring that will almost double the number of people monitored by 2025.
Over the next three years around 10,000 robbers, thieves and burglars will have to wear GPS tags that monitor their movements and can be screened against recorded crime.
Additional to monitoring people on community sentences, alcohol monitoring tags for prison leavers who have offended after drinking will be introduced – inspired by the effort made in Wales in November 2021, which is to begin in England in summer 2022.
Their electronic monitoring will reach organised criminals who facilitating illegal immigration and other illicit activity ranging from drug and firearms trafficking to serious violent crime.
Benefitting from unpaid work placements
The Beating Crime Plan is to continue also, investing £93 million over the next three years to increase the amount of unpaid work that offenders deliver to around 8m hours per year – around 1.75m hours higher than at any time since comparable records began in 2015-16.
This initiative will set out to clean up and level up local streets, estates, alleyways, and open spaces, as seen in October 2021, with the national partnership with the Canal and River Trust which made offenders clear litter, tidy tow paths and maintain public spaces along waterways.
Some success from this has been seen in South Yorkshire, where offenders undertook 2,500 hours of unpaid work to transform a derelict building into a community centre for disadvantaged young people. This initiative goes hand in hand with their plan to further Youth Rehabilitation Orders, encompassing any juvenile crime which is committed.
Safer neighbourhoods for who?
Amidst the anticipation of the White Paper, many MPs have questioned the economic authenticity of the bill, stating that the current cabinet are mort invested in their internal politics than the actual “levelling up” of the country – highlighting the deprived areas of the North and Midlands which have long gone disregarded under the economic geography of the UK.
Additionally, no new plans have been introduced in the White Paper to promote women’s safety on the Safer Streets fund, despite stating their focus on gender violence, and despite numerous serious cases encompassing gender violence this year – as seen with the case of Sarah Everard and continuous drink spiking nationally.
Another factor of concern is the number of police leaving their jobs every year, as seen with 1,158 voluntary resignations in the year ending March 2012 to 2,363 in the year ending March 2020. It could be argued that a police system reform would benefit cutting crime rather than rehashing numerous former policies with newer branding from the government.
Finally, there has been a significant increase in knife attacks under the current cabinet, seeing an increase in Surrey by 598%, Sussex by 259% and Norfolk by 183%, which has also failed to be addressed in this paper under the crime clause.
Campbell Robb, Nacro chief executive, said: “We know tackling poverty and inequality is key to levelling up. For over 50 years Nacro has been embedded in communities helping some of our nation’s most vulnerable people through our housing, education, and justice services.
“We see a huge amount of unmet need in our country. We need radical change to the systems that support people and significant funding to address this need, not just ambitions and slogans.
“Until there is the right support, opportunity, and funding in place for everyone to succeed, regardless of the circumstances, we cannot truly claim to be levelling up.”
After numerous scandals provided by the British government this year – including topics of drug misuse and illegal parties in Parliament – many could wonder whether the long awaited Levelling Up plan has finally arrived to conceal the numerous illegal ordeals which have occurred these last few parliamentary years.
Following a decade of austerity, the government evidently have more to tackle in lowering crime than drugs and anti-social behaviour, or the reform of illegal immigration under Brexit ideological planning.
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