Crime and disorder

This section of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) considers Crime and Disorder Issues. Crime and Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) rates are key factors for local residents in determining a good place to live. The impact of crime on wellbeing is significant and negatively affects new business start ups, ill-health, hospital admissions, and community cohesion.

This section discusses offences in the adult population only, youth offending is covered in the chapter “Developing Well”. Additionally, child sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation are considered in separate sections of the report.

What do we know?

Social risk factors for involvement in criminal activity, including family factors, community factors, education, financial deprivation, alcohol and drug misuse overlap as important factors for general health and wellbeing. Equally, criminal activity itself has an impact on health and wellbeing in the community.

The general trend in crime rates both nationally and locally is downward, though specific aspects of crime and disorder are more important to Slough specifically.

Facts, Figures and Trends

The Safer Slough Partnership Strategic Assessment shows that between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2014, reported crime fell by 7.3%, and reported Burglary fell by 27% and Anti-Social Behaviour fell by 22%. The reductions are across the board; acquisitive crime, robbery, vehicle offences all showed a positive reduction (Figure 1).

There has been a small increase in violent crime in 2014, with 40 more violent crimes in 2014 than 2013. This is the first increase since 2010. This increase is being monitored by the Safer Slough Partnership. While violent crime is on the increase, Slough is still one of the fastest improving areas for safety against our most similar group (Luton, Hounslow, Northampton, Bristol and Reading).

Figure 1 Numbers of crimes reported in Slough according to category

Figure 1

There has been a small increase in violent crime in 2014, with 40 more violent crimes in 2014 than 2013. This is the first increase since 2010. This increase is being monitored by the Safer Slough Partnership. While violent crime is on the increase, Slough is still one of the fastest improving areas for safety against our most similar group (Luton, Hounslow, Northampton, Bristol and Reading).

Slough is one of the fastest improving areas for safety and is ranked 3rd best performing for crime reduction compared to our most similar group (Luton, Hounslow, Northampton, Bristol and Reading).

Residential burglary

In 2014 Slough had one of the highest rates of burglary per 1000 population in the Thames Valley and our Most Similar Group (MSG). However, overall residential burglary for Thames Valley fell by 20% and in the MSG by 14% compared to 28% for Slough. The partnership recognises this type of offending is subject to wide variations, for example the increase in the value of gold led to a significant increase in domestic burglary. Therefore we have put in measures to improve intelligence and help direct our response to robbery and burglary.

Figure 2 below shows Slough performance against other areas in the Thames Valley. In 2014 Slough saw the 2nd biggest reduction in residential burglary in Thames Valley. In 2014 Slough placed 5th in the MSG in terms of reduction of residential burglary offences.

Figure 2 Residential Burglary in the Thames Valley 2013 versus 2014

Figure 2

Anti-social behaviour (ASB)

Figure 3 below shows the change in number of antisocial behaviour offences in Slough from 2010 to 2014. Since 2010 ASB offences were increasing in 2011 by 3% before a 51% reduction in 2013 which continued to fall in 2014 this time by almost 20%.

Figure 3 Antisocial Behaviour Offences in Slough

Figure 3

Re-offending

Reduce offending has translated into less crime, fewer victims of crime and a reduction in the costs relating to crime. We know that a small proportion of the most prolific offenders are responsible for a disproportionately large amount of crime. National studies (National Treatment Agency, Drugscope) and local analysis (Drug Alcohol Action Team Needs Assessment) show that substance misuse (drugs and alcohol) is a significant causal factor for both acquisitive and violent offending.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse continues to be a priority area for the SSP. Analysis of the commissioned services for Early Help, IDVA and Outreach show that victims of domestic abuse in Slough come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds with the largest groups identifying themselves as White British (39.8%), followed by Asian/Asian British (31.2%), which is not dissimilar to the population.

The bar chart below shows the number of domestic abuse/violence offences in Slough since 2010. Performance over the years does fluctuate however numbers in Slough in 2014 are the lowest recorded in the last 5 years following a record high in 2013. This represents a 46% reduction in domestic violence offences in Slough 2014.

Figure 4. Domestic Abuse Incidents in Slough

Figure 4

Organised Crime

Serious and organised crime can include drugs trafficking, human trafficking, organised illegal immigration, high value fraud, counterfeiting, organised acquisitive crimes, sexual exploitation and cyber crime.

Across the region, individuals suspected to be involved in serious and organised crime and their activity is mapped onto a central Thames Valley Police Database. Once mapped, a ‘Lead Responsible Officer’ (LRO) sets investigation plans to allow a concerted effort of investigation and disruption to take place. This involves using all available tactics to make criminal activity more difficult for those involved. Ultimately the aim is to dismantle the organised crime group so as to remove its effectiveness and prevent it from operating and posing a risk of harm.

Mapping, developing intelligence and plans are updated weekly, this is supported by monthly management meetings where the overall picture is assessed with analytical support, Intelligence input and plan owners update on progress or problems.

National & Local Strategies (current best practices)

National

The 1998 Crime and Disorder Act and subsequent amendments place a duty on the responsible authorities to formulate strategies to reduce crime and disorder. In Slough this responsibility is taken by the Safer Slough Partnership (see below).

On 20 October 2014, Sections 34 - 42 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 came in to force and introduced new dispersal powers. The new dispersal powers replace those available under section 30 of the ASBA 2003 and section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006.

Local

The Safer Slough Strategy has been developed by the Safer Slough Partnership (SSP). The SSP is comprised of several statutory and non statutory agencies who work together by law to reduce crime, anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol and offending in the local area. Membership includes Slough Borough Council, Thames Valley Police, Thames Valley Probation Trust, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Slough Drugs And Alcohol Action Team (DAAT), Slough Youth Offending Team, Slough Council for Voluntary Services, and Slough Business Community Partnership.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB)

Operational responsibility for ASB sits with Neighbourhood Services, and the overall strategic control sits with the Safer Slough Partnership, supported by the Community Safety Team. Our aim is to ensure every neighbourhood provides a safe and healthy environment for any resident or visitor.

To ensure compliance with the ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 changes, an ASB Implementation Group was established. This is a multi-agency group including Heads of Service from TVP and SBC, ASB practitioners, SBC Legal Team and Communications Team. An action plan was developed with key developments including:

  • Community Trigger, which gives victims of ASB the opportunity to demand action, starting with a review of their case, where they have met the local threshold. Since October 2014, Slough has received 3; 2 met the threshold, 1 did not.
  • Community Protection Notices (CPN’s). This is a 3 stage process, starting with a warning letter, then a CPN if behaviour continues and then a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), if the CPN is breached.. To date we have issued approx. 70 warning letters, most resulting in improved behaviours, so only 5 CPN’s have been issued, of which 1 has been breached.

TVP are also using the new Dispersal powers effectively; the tools more flexible approach is being used widely. We have recently secured our first Closure Order taken against a brothel and first Criminal Behaviour Order against an aggressive beggar.

Domestic Abuse

The Freedom Programme, which supports DA victims, is now delivered in English, Punjabi, Urdu and Polish, with interpreters used for face to face consultations when necessary. Efforts have been made to raise awareness amongst practitioners about the importance of referring high risk cases to the MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference) where partnership services can be co-ordinated. It is concerning that there are a number of repeat referrals to the MARAC, and this will be further investigated as part of the MARAC Development Plan.

Families First

In April 2012 the government launched the first Troubled Families Programme – a £448m scheme to incentivise local authorities and their partners to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families by May 2015. The “troubled families” targeted were families with children not attending school regularly, young people committing crime, families involved in anti-social behaviour and adults out of work.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) target for Slough Borough Council was 330 families to turn around by May 2015. In March 2015 DCLG confirmed Slough had successfully achieved its target and agreed Slough’s entry to the expanded five year programme from April 2015. Slough’s target for the 5 year period is to ‘turnaround’ 1260 families.

There are significant changes to delivery arrangements of the expanded programme. It has a widened eligibility criterion which will enable Slough Borough Council’s inclusion of families that are of most concern and are high cost. New inclusion criteria include families affected by domestic violence, and parents and children with health problems.

What is this telling us?

  • Overall reduction in crime rate, from 16,440 crimes in 2010 to 10,751 in 2014 this is nearly 5700 fewer crimes (35%).
  • Slough has the 7th fastest crime reduction rate in Thames Valley Police over the past 5 years.
  • Slough is ranked 3rd best performing police force for crime reduction in our comparator, Most Similar Group (MSG) group for overall crime.
  • Domestic abuse and antisocial behaviour rates remain high though saw a reduction in 2014

What are the key inequalities?

There is a well-established link between socioeconomic inequality and rates of criminal activity. (Source: The Equality Trust).

What are the unmet needs/ service gaps?

  • Violent crime saw a slight increase from 2013/14 – alcohol as a contributory factor in violent crime and domestic abuse has been explored in the Slough Alcohol Strategy. Action needs to be taken in line with recommendations
  • Serious and organised crime, particularly involving cyber crime and child sexual exploitation is a growing area of concern (see section Child Sexual Exploitation)

Recommendations for consideration by other key organisations:

The focus for those involved in the Safer Slough Partnership for 2015-2016 are:

  • Violent crime
    • Reduce total crime, specifically high volume and serious crimes against the person
    • Alcohol as a contributory factor in violent crime and Domestic Abuse
  • Safeguarding
    • Support work around Child Sexual Exploitation and Female Genital Mutilation and protecting vulnerable Adults
    • A focus on responding to ASB case work and Environmental ASB through enforcement and design
  • Serious and Organised Crime
    • Support TVP is disrupting Organised Crime Groups
    • Raising awareness of Cyber Crime

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