Community Safety Action Zone - Bexley, United Kingdom
How to improve the lives of residents experiencing disproportionate levels of crime and disorder and how to address the fear of crime in an area with significant levels of social exclusion - the case of Bexley, United Kingdom.
* A full residents' meeting was organised to inform local residents of the audit findings and to discuss with them the way forward. Over 150 local people attended. The agencies represented took the opportunity to break into small groups to discuss key issues, adopting a problem solving approach so as to identify possible stakeholders and solutions, and following that meeting an outline project plan was drafted.
* A multi-agency management group was established to examine the situation. Bexley Police, the Council, Registered Social Landlords, Neighbourhood Watch and Local community representatives.
* The Police established a Disorder Team, comprising a sergeant and six constables. They reviewed all criminal activity in Slade Green, and visited each victim assuring them that they would assist taking these matters to court. They provided a constant daily presence in the area, targeting, arresting and prosecuting offenders where appropriate. This targeted action and the work they did to support the community led to a sea change in the local community's thinking. One by one residents came forward willing to give evidence. An analysis of the evidence was undertaken and twelve youngsters were considered as being largely responsible for much of the crime and disorder.
* The project funded among others a skateboard park, new toys for a toddler group, the work of the Neighbourhood Watch, education at schools to address drug and alcohol issues, graffiti removing and improved lightening on streets.
* The work of the Community Disorder Team of the Police is
intrinsic to the success of Community Safety Action Zone.
* The initiative has made real impact on the lives of people in the area. Street robbery has fallen by 85% in the area and car crimes by 29%.
* A survey at the beginning of the initiative showed that only 22% of the residents said they felt safe in the area at night. This has risen to 93% of residents stating they now feel safe in a recent survey.
* This project represents the essence of partnership working bringing together partner agencies and the community to initiate an innovative approach.
Natasha Bishopp (Project Manager)
Project start date