crime reduction news
VEHICLE UNDERCLASS Removing abandoned and burnt out cars FOCUS ON EUROPE How do British crime strategies compare?

Seenheard and
Schedule of measures aims to bring domestic violence out from behind closed doors

JUNE 2005



The most recent figures on domestic violence make depressing reading. Two women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner. One woman in four is physically abused during her lifetime. The Government has made it clear that it takes the problem of domestic violence very seriously indeed. The 2004 Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act has created a new offence of familial homicide, and the Act is designed to cover all violent incidents in the home, especially if they involve children or vulnerable adults. There is still a long way to go, but programmes for perpetrators which address violent behaviour and seek to change it are also proving invaluable. The spotlight is also on another issue affecting families – women offenders. Like the perpetrators of domestic violence, women offenders can be caught up in a spiral of destructive behaviour, with devastating effects for their children and families. New initiatives and cash have been made available to stop the cycle of reoffending, with the Home Office’s Women’s Offending Reduction Programme playing a key role. The Crime Reduction News team

News 3 4 5 6 7 22
Closing crack houses New offence of familial homicide Online centre for child protection Extra security for pensioners Police update Volunteering update 2005 is the Year of the Volunteer, and volunteers are in line for awards

Features 9 10 16 19
Focus on Europe How do British crime strategies compare to those of other EU states? One-stop shop for women offenders New initiatives aim to help women offenders stay out of prison Victims’ code The Home Office wants your views on its Victims’ Code of Practice Youth crime prevention An apprentice scheme is keeping young offenders out of trouble The vehicle underclass A multi-agency approach can tackle the problem of abandoned cars

Plus... 11-15 Special report

Regulars 15 18
Comment Programmes for the perpetrators of domestic violence are essential How to... ...regenerate local communities


Domestic violence
● ● ●

Creating safe houses for women New initiatives in the classroom Employers against domestic violence

● Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act


2 Crime Reduction News





Partners key

to closing ‘crack houses’

Clean-up raises public profile
Offenders across the UK got their hands dirty as part of a Government initiative to give the public a say on how community punishment should benefit their local area, and raise awareness on community sentencing. Offenders were put to work on a variety of projects ranging from installing community safety features in council estates to clearing up cemeteries. Every year offenders serving community punishment orders carry out more than 5.5 million hours of unpaid work. A new community order was introduced in April. The sentence includes provision for a range of requirements including unpaid work, mental health, drug and alcohol treatment, exclusion and curfew orders and behavioural programmes. For more information on community sentences, see www.probation.


Partnership work is the key to making sure ‘crack houses’ are closed down according to new research. A ‘crack house’ or drug den is a premises where class A drugs (not just crack cocaine) are used, supplied or manufactured. Such premises attract anti-social behaviour and are often in crime hot spots. The crime reduction charity Crime Concern, who carried out the research for the Home Office, said that for the new powers to be effective over the long term all the agencies must work closely together. Crime Concern senior consultant Lizzie Peters said: “The research has proved that the new powers can be used to close drugs dens swiftly, and tackle associated anti-social behaviour. Where all agencies work closely and involve local community members, closures are more sustainable and the associated problems,

including homelessness, are tackled more effectively.” Agencies involved in drugs den closures include the courts, local authority housing and social services departments, the police and drugs treatment agencies. The Crackdown Project in Hackney, a two-year project funded by the Home Office, is an example of good practice. A dedicated and highly skilled team was set up to enforce the closure of drugs dens and deal with prevention and resettlement issues. This meant that the wide variety of problems that arise from closures – such as housing; welfare rights; access to detox, rehabilitation and social services – could all be dealt with in a reasonable time frame. The Rapid Assessment of Powers to Close ‘Crack Houses’ Report can be found at uk/rds/pdfs05/dpr42.pdf

Crime Reduction News 3



Faith in the system
Total crime
BCS crime is down 11 per cent. Police recorded crime is down five per cent.


he risk of being a victim of crime is now at its lowest level since the British Crime Survey (BCS) began in 1981. Figures released in April for the period October– December 2004 show the risk of being a victim of crime is now 24 per cent. Other good news is that there has been a reduction of 17 per cent in domestic burglary and 16 per cent in vehicle thefts recorded by the police. The BCS shows that there has also been a reduction in all household crime and all personal crime compared with the year to December 2003. BCS interviews reveal that the fear of crime has fallen compared with the previous year. The proportion of adults who have a high level of worry about violent crime fell from 18 per cent to 16 per cent. The number of crimes recorded by police fell by five per cent and BCS crime is down 11 per cent. The reduction in total recorded crime has remained consistent over the previous three quarters. The figures show a ten per cent increase in violence against the person but increases in recorded violence continue to reflect the improved police recording of crime. There was also an increase of ten per cent in firearms offices compared with the previous year. This increase is mainly due to offences involving imitation weapons. In previous years, BCS interviews have revealed a high level of anxiety amongst the public about anti-social behaviour. The latest figures show this has remained stable. However, the proportion of people who perceived abandoned or burnt-out cars to be a very or fairly big problem fell from 17 per cent to 12 per cent. Figures also show that more than three-quarters of the public (78 per cent) were confident that the criminal justice system respected the right of people accused of committing crimes and treated them fairly.

Gun crime
Increase of ten per cent in overall firearms offences. The increase is mainly due to offences involving imitation weapons.

Domestic burglary
BCS fell by 15 per cent. Police recorded fell by 17 per cent.

Vehicle crime
BCS fell by 17 per cent. Police recorded fell by 16 per cent.

Police recorded fell by six per cent.

Fear of crime
The BCS reveals that the fear of crime has fallen year on year. Adults who have a high level of worry about violent crime fell by two percentage points to 16 per cent.

Violent crime
Police recorded increase of ten per cent in violence against the person. Increases in police figures for violent crime continue to reflect the improved police recording of crime. Over the past three years there have been significant changes to the way violent crime is recorded. Much of what is recorded as violent crime involves little or no physical injury to the victim.

Victimisation rate
The BCS shows the risk of being a victim of is at 24 per cent – the lowest level since the British Crime Survey (BCS) began in 1981.

Familial homicide offence to close loophole
A new offence of causing or allowing the death of a child or vulnerable adult has now come into force. The new offence of familial homicide, introduced in the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004, will close a legal loophole that allows those jointly accused of the murder of a child or vulnerable adult to escape justice by remaining silent or blaming each other. This measure puts a clear legal responsibility on adult household members who have frequent contact with a child or vulnerable adult to take reasonable steps to protect the child or vulnerable adult if they knew, or should have known, they were at significant risk of serious physical harm from members of that household. This should encourage more people to come forward to report crimes, and should help crime reduction partners, such as police and social services, to intervene at an earlier stage. An information leaflet has been produced which can be found at milial_homicide.pdf

Attracting more people to Neighbourhood Watch
Making sure Neighbourhood Watch groups involve young people, those living in higher crime areas and people from minority groups, were key themes at the recent Neighbourhood Watch National Conference. Held in Nottingham in March, the conference was attended by a wide range of delegates including police officers, local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators and representatives from tenants’ associations. A number of workshops were held at the event, including: tackling anti-social behaviour; practical ways of involving older and younger people in community initiatives; tackling prolific offenders; reducing vehicle crime; and practical problem-solving tips to help community groups reduce crime. For more details visit

4 Crime Reduction News



Online Centre for Child Protection
Protecting children against the dangers of abuse is of vital importance to all crime reduction partners, and a number of key developments designed to further this aim have taken place over the past few months. ACPO and the National Centre for Policing Excellence have produced guidance on investigating child abuse. It provides operational and tactical advice to ensure that child abuse investigations are not perceived as something different from the investigation of other forms of crime. A copy of the guidance can be found at HM Inspectorate of Constabulary published a thematic inspection entitled ‘Keeping Safe, Staying Safe’ in which it recommends that national performance indicators should be introduced for child abuse cases. The report can be found at The National Crime Squad has launched their own virtual global taskforce website, which offers advice to children to help them stay safe. Please visit The Home Office announced the setting up of the first national centre to protect children online, which will be operational by April 2006. The centre will provide a single point of contact for reporting online child abuse in the UK and will aim to reduce the harm caused to children, families and communities. For more details visit

Young people and drugs
The Department of Health, the Home Office, and the Department for Education and Skills are working together to develop services to prevent drug harm. ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children, Young People and Drugs’, sets out how agencies involved in young people’s services and delivering the Government’s drug strategy can co-operate to deliver comprehensive responses to drug users. Please visit www.drugs. and www.every

Celebrities campaign against bogus callers
Some familiar faces of TV, stage and screen have teamed up as part of a Home Office campaign to advise older people on how to avoid becoming victim to bogus callers. Angela Rippon, Terry Wogan, Gloria Hunniford, Esther Rantzen and Saeed Jaffrey are just some of the names who have lent their support to the Lock, Stop, Chain and Check campaign. The campaign is also backed by ACPO, Help the Aged, the Royal British Legion, CAB, Age Concern and Gala Bingo. Thousands of leaflets and stickers are being distributed to older people to help ensure they know and follow the simple steps to doorstep security.

Report on vehicle arson
As many as 50 per cent of vehicle fires occur where vehicles have been reported stolen due to attempts to destroy forensic evidence , according to a new report. ‘Vehicle Fires: Explaining The Rise in Vehicle Arson’ explores the link between vehicle fires, abandoned vehicles and vehicle theft. The report is at: uk/vehiclecrime50.htm

New handbook to assist victims
A handbook offering help and advice to adult victims of sexual violence has been produced by Rights of Women, a not-for-profit organisation, and the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University. The Home Office-funded handbook is written from the victims' perspective, and brings together information and advice on reporting sexual violence. ‘From Report to Court – A Handbook for Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence’ can be found at: publications.html

Second police guide to problem-oriented policing
A new guide which provides help and advice for the police on problem-oriented policing has been produced. ‘The Problem-oriented Guides for Police: Problem-Solving Tools Series No 2’ is designed to save time and effort and help find out what works for problem-oriented policing. The new guide summarises knowledge about information gathering and analysis techniques to help across the stages of a problem-oriented project: scanning, analysis, response and assessment (SARA). The guide is designed to aid fast information gathering and to help make the best use of the information in order to identify responses. Among the wealth of information included in the guide are the top five most useful websites. See

CRC to close
The Home Office has announced the closure of the Crime Reduction Centre (CRC), which trained community safety practitioners, after an independent review. The facility will close by September of this year. See www.crimereduction.

Crime Reduction News 5


Locks drive a success
The Locks for Pensioners initiative was set up in 1999 to provide extra security to households with older people in England and Wales. It ran in conjunction with the Defra Home Energy Efficiency Scheme, which aimed to tackle fuel poverty through providing home heating and insulation improvements. Households would be given extra security under Locks for Pensioners if they met a set of eligibility criteria, for example: where the residents were over the age of 60; where they lacked basic household security; and where they lived in police Basic Command Unit areas with burglary rates above the national average. The extra security included the provision of either of the following devices: mortice locks for all exterior doors; deadlocking rim-locks for main/ front doors; viewers and security chains for front doors; hinge bolts on outward opening doors; and locks for all ground floor or accessible windows. An evaluation of the scheme examined the implementation and outcomes of the initiative in five areas across the country. Some key findings from the evaluation showed that: 85 per cent of recipients felt reassured after the new security was installed and felt that it would help prevent burglaries;

• 82 per cent reported feeling safer in their homes after the work was completed.
Learning points highlighted
Whilst the majority of the recipient findings were positive, 22 per cent of recipients reported feeling worried about burglary even after the installation of the new security, and some recipients of the new door chains experienced difficulty in how to use the equipment correctly. The evaluation highlighted a number of learning points for projects set up to help tackle burglary involving older people. First, when installing extra security in households where the residents are older, it is important to ensure that the fitters installing the security equipment ensure recipients understand how to work the devices. This will make sure that the impact and usefulness of the security measures are maximised. Secondly, it is important to ensure that partnerships and local businesses working locally where new security equipment is being installed are fully involved and consulted. This ensures that local resources are used effectively. As the initiative focused upon a small minority of the population, it was not possible to evaluate whether it had affected burglary rates. Further information on the evaluation is available from

• •

• • •

Security for your business
Businesses can get practical information that will help them identify any security risks and take measures to reduce crime in a newly published booklet. ‘Your Business: Keep Crime Out of It’ has been produced by the Home Office Crime Reduction Centre in consultation with ACPO-Secured by Design, the Association of Convenience Stories, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, Rural Shops Alliance, Small Business Council, Asian Trader, British Chambers of Commerce, Government Offices in the regions and the Association of British Insurers, under the support and guidance of the Home Office Advice and Information Working Group. The booklet aims to help businesses carry out a security survey and gives important tips on how to make your business more secure. For a copy of the booklet visit business40.htm To order a hard copy of the booklet email or telephone 0870 241 4680, quoting reference 3/05 YB1.

Prolific offenders strategy succeeding
More than 9,000 prolific and other priority offenders are being jointly targeted by the police, probation and other criminal justice agencies with a further 6,000 being identified as being most at risk of becoming the next generation of prolific offenders. The success of the prolific and other priority offenders programme, announced a year ago, was the subject of a one-day conference held in London recently. More than 200 representatives of crime and disorder reduction partnerhips, local criminal justice boards, the police, probation and prison services, the courts, drugs and health sectors, local authorities and Job Centre Plus gathered to identify challenges, share best practice and build on successes in tackling offenders. Delegates attended specialised seminars led by Government officials and leading experts, all aimed at making sure those working to tackle prolific and priority offenders have the practical and strategic knowledge to move the Government’s programme forward, to help cut crime. The conference emphasised the importance of partnership working and the four challenges for the future which were identified were: Establishing a Criminal Justice premium service in every area Ensuring every area has a dedicated Prolific and other Priority Offenders team, either co-located or virtual Ensuring that effective information sharing arrangements are in place Ensuring there is a robust performance management system in place.

• • • •

6 Crime Reduction News


Transforming witness care
More than 100 specialist Witness Care Units will be set up by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police by the end of the year with the aim of transforming the support provided to victims and witnesses across England and Wales. The units will provide a more co-ordinated response to witness care than ever before through the £36 million No Witness No Justice project, a joint Crown Prosecution Service and police initiative supported by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform and the Prime Minister’s Office for Public Service Reform (OPSR). By the end of March, all 42 criminal justice areas across England and Wales will have at least one of the new units in operation. Approximately 165 units will be opened by the end of the year. The Witness Care Units provide a single point of contact for victims and witnesses for the first time. A needs assessment is carried out on all witnesses to identify problems that would prevent the witness attending court to give evidence, such as childcare or transport problems, language difficulties, disabilities or particular concerns such as intimidation. The Witness Care Units then assist, organising the support that the witness needs, including referral on to other organisations. The Witness Care Units also provide the witness with regular updates on progress and tell them the outcome of the case, explaining what any sentence means.


Crime Reduction News 7


Beatcrime website connects police and public
Police authorities are now duty bound under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act to provide a local policing summary to local households at least once a year. According to the Home Office the newsletter must incorporate a set of minimum standards, which are in the process of being defined by stakeholders. The object is to improve community engagement in policing and accessibility. Some police authorities have already taken steps to improve the level of information that is available to the public. West Yorkshire Police Authority has launched its Beatcrime website, which allows users to find out information about crime in their local area. By either typing in their postcode or clicking through a map of the force area using a mouse, users are able to find out levels of crime such as burglary and compare the trends to other local areas or against national levels. Users are also able to find out how crimes are separated and recorded and provided with definitions for each crime type. The site also features links to information that aims to help prevent people from becoming the victim of crime. Information on the site is updated each month and supplied by West Yorkshire Police via its crime and incident recording systems. For more information go to

First step to a national database
The interim police local crossreferencing database, known as the I-PLX, has been launched as a first step towards a national database of information. The information held on the I-PLX database will supplement the existing process for the Criminal Record Bureau’s (CRB) checks, highlighting whether any force holds relevant information about an applicant, not just the force presiding over the area where an applicant lives. This will reduce the CRB’s reliance on an applicant providing their previous five addresses and provide a fuller picture of information across the country. I-PLX is a standalone database, developed and maintained by the CRB in conjunction with its private sector partner Capita. Forces will feed nominal information such as names, addresses and dates of birth into the database and continue to update and refresh this information. CRB will cross-refer each Enhanced Disclosure application against this database to identify which, if any, force holds information on an applicant. If an applicant’s data matches that of the I-PLX, the force holding that information will be contacted to consider its release as part of the Disclosure service. Nominal Data will be provided by each force from a range of relevant police systems, including Intelligence, Custody, Crime (suspects and offenders only), Domestic Violence (suspects and offenders only), Firearms (refused and revoked certificate holders only) and Child Protection systems. The database complies with Bichard recommendations, set up following the conviction of murderer Ian Huntley.

Swansea opens ‘virtual’ police station
The UK's first ‘virtual’ police station has been opened in Swansea, South Wales, in a bid to give the public around-the-clock access to officers. Visitors to the station lobby kiosk in the Mumbles area will be given out-of-hours access to a range of services, including a webcam link to the regional control room so that they can speak face to face with an officer. They will also be able to contact their local community officer via email. The kiosk is designed to overcome problems of accessibility for smaller stations located in areas that have variable population levels. The population in the Mumbles area swells three-fold or more during the spring to autumn months, and is a haven for weekend visitors throughout the year. Launching the kiosk, South Wales Chief Constable Barbara Wilding said: “I fully recognise that many people find it difficult to attend a police station during office hours, and find it inconvenient to have to travel to one of our larger stations after 5pm.” The security features protecting the virtual station and the police station itself also mean that anyone who considers themselves to be in danger can access the kiosk area and be monitored by the CCTV, while a response vehicle is deployed to help. The kiosk technology was supplied by BT. Mumbles Police Station has been renovated to accommodate this new development and is the first station to be badged and branded to meet the chief’s new guidelines on making the force’s stations more visible and accessible.

8 Crime Reduction News



n July the UK will take over the presidency of the European Union. It’s hoped that cooperation with other member countries will make inroads into the numbers of cars in the UK being stolen for export. The British Crime Survey found that 241,000 vehicles were stolen in 2003/04, and it’s estimated that up to 30 per cent of the vehicles that weren’t subsequently recovered were exported. Although the numbers of stolen vehicles going abroad from the UK are relatively low, the vehicles involved are often the more expensive models. And across the EU some 1.2 million motor vehicles are stolen every year. In 2004 the Dutch government launched an EU-wide initiative to tackle car theft head-on. The initiative, titled ‘The EU Council Decision on Tackling Vehicle Crime with Crossborder Implications’, has been designed to strengthen the prevention and detection of cross-border vehicle crime through the sharing of information, principally between member states’ police forces, customs and border officials. ‘The Decision’, as it’s now come to be known, requires Members States to nominate a national contact point for tackling vehicle crime, which in the UK will be fulfilled by the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS). The Decision was agreed by the EU Council of Ministers in December 2004. As the standards for tackling vehicle crime are raised across the EU and it becomes much easier for stolen vehicles that are exported to be identified – and subsequently repatriated to their member state – it’s hoped that the Decision will bring a whole new international dimension to the phrase ‘driving down crime’.

Focus on


programme involving the Government, the police and the phone industry is helping to make phone users safer. Around half of all street crimes in the UK involve the theft of a mobile phone. The Government has worked in partnership with police and the mobile phone industry to address the problem. As part of their approach, there will be a database of lost and stolen phones. The database will allow phones reported as lost or stolen to be blocked across all UK networks by referring to the handset’s unique identifying International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. This will make them useless to thieves. The Government has passed legislation (the Mobile Telephones (Reprogramming) Act 2002) to make it illegal both to reprogramme a phone’s IMEI number, or to possess or supply the equipment needed to reprogramme phones with the intention of doing so. Also launched has been a national campaign, under the Immobile Phone Crime banner, to encourage the public to register their phones, which will help the police to identify stolen handsets. Then there is the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, dedicated to addressing mobile phone theft.

Leading by example
Thanks to measures to publicise the work done in the UK, other countries within the EU and beyond are beginning to realise the seriousness of the problem and starting to take action. They are now considering passing their own legislation to address the reprogramming of mobile phones, bearing the British example in mind, and are also pressing their network operators to sign up to the database of lost and stolen phones. Through the EU, the UK has lobbied to encourage more mobile phone manufacturers to incorporate more security features in their handset designs. To this end, security principles have been agreed that will benefit not just the UK, but countries worldwide. Mobile phone theft is not just a UK issue – it is a cross-border problem, with links to organised crime networks: joined-up action is essential.

Mobile phones
But how do our crime reduction strategies compare with those of other member states? One area where the UK is definitely in the vanguard is mobile phone crime, where a

Resources A copy of the Police Research paper ‘Vehicle Crime Reduction: Turning the Corner’,
is available online at
Crime Reduction News 9


The new ‘one-stop-shops’ will learn from existing community initiatives, such as the 218 Project in Glasgow and the Asha Centre in Worcester. Asha Centre Manager Jenny Roberts explains that the aim of the centre is to give disadvantaged women access to the resources they need, such as further education, parenting and training to raise their self-esteem. Tracey Williams was convicted of supplying Class C drugs to a minor and given 12 months’ probation. Attending the Asha Centre was a condition of her sentence. “The Asha Centre helped me put my life back on track. I had been on drugs, lost interest in life and my three children were on the ‘at risk’ register. “I felt safe there; not pressured or judged. I did assertiveness and employability courses – in fact, now I’m sometimes even overly confident!”



lans are underway to tackle women’s offending by funding ‘one-stop shop’ solutions in the community. Tackling women’s offending has become one of the Government’s key priorities for the criminal justice system and radical new approaches to deal with the issue are being given a cash injection of £9.15 million from the Home Office. The new initiatives will be set up in two areas and will include women’s community supervision and support centres, where multi-disciplinary teams of mentors and caseworkers will guide women offenders through tailored support networks designed to tackle issues such as drug abuse, housing, childcare, mental health problems and domestic violence. The aim is to reduce the use of custody for women offenders and to ensure that probation services, police, courts, local authorities and voluntary organisations work together to provide the right interventions. “This is the first time the Government has allocated funding specifically to tackle women’s offending,” said Home Secretary Charles Clarke. “I am concerned about the increase in the women’s prison population in recent years and the wider impact and disruption this has on their children and families.” Community rehabilitation The funding announcement coincided with the One Year Review of the Fawcett Society’s ‘Commission on Women and the Criminal Justice System’, which pressed for reform

in the treatment of women offenders. The Fawcett Society campaigns for equality between men and women and will be actively involved in the one-stop support initiative. The Commission’s work examined the experience of women as victims and witnesses, women accused and convicted of offences and women working in the Criminal Justice System. Its conclusions that ‘prison does not work’ for most women and that rehabilitation is a better solution have influenced decisions to introduce community support centres. WORP plays a key role The Home Office Women’s Offending Reduction Programme (WORP) also plays a key role in improving how women are dealt with at every stage of the criminal justice process, from arrest to sentencing to resettlement. WORP aims to ensure that custody is only used for those who really need it and that community rehabilitation is an option for the majority of women offenders. This follows a decade in which the female prison population increased far more quickly than that of men – up 173 per cent since 1993, compared to 49 per cent for men. Clearly, this trend must be reversed in view of the high level of suicides and self-harm in women’s prisons, and the effect on the 17,000 children a year whose lives are disrupted. WORP and the new funding are crucial if the issues affecting why women offend are to be tackled early on, preventing a cycle of disadvantage being perpetuated.

women offenders

One-stop shops for

10 Crime Reduction News


Women’s Policy Team or 020 7035 0014 | Asha Centre, provider of resources for disadvantaged women or 01905 767552 | 218, Glasgow-based organisation offering services to women offenders and their families or 0141 3316200



Domestic violence


Although domestic violence is chronically underreported, research shows: ● Two women are killed each week in England and Wales by a current or former partner ● One woman in four is physically abused by a partner during her lifetime ● Women aged 19 to 29 reported more violence by intimates than any other age group ● 30 per cent of domestic violence either starts or will intensify during pregnancy ● In 90 per cent of domestic violence incidents, children were in the same or the next room. Source: Women's Aid domestic violence census 9 February 2005.

safe houses



arch 2004 was National Domestic Violence month. The Government defines domestic violence as: ‘Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.’ This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic communities such as so called ‘honour killings’. To kick-start the month’s activities, Baroness Scotland announced a £1 million cash boost to support the setting up of 25 specialist domestic violence courts that will provide vital support to victims. The first seven have shown to have a significant effect in increasing the numbers of perpetrators brought to justice. For example, withdrawals before trial at the Croydon court have fallen from 25 per cent to 6 per cent. March also saw some of the big corporate names come together at a seminar in London to launch the UK Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV) and the UK employers’ website on domestic violence. Both will work to raise awareness and reduce the

human and economic impact of domestic violence in the workplace. Other activities launched in March included: ● Home Office-funded anti-bullying toolkit for domestic violence to be used by DfES anti-bullying teams in schools ● Home Office internal awareness campaign, including posters and leaflets ● Top Shop awareness campaign to support the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline that runs in partnership between Refuge and Women’s Aid ● Helpline promotion on Unipath (Clearblue Easy pregnancy kits) highlighting links between pregnancy and domestic violence ● Helpline promotion in Burger King. The Home Office is working closely with other central government departments, regional governments and local partnerships, to ensure an effective approach to domestic violence. The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 marks the biggest overhaul in domestic violence legislation for 30 years and is key to putting victims at the heart of the CJS. Domestic violence measures in the Act roll out gradually from April 2005 and will:

● Make common assault an arrestable offence ● Make it a criminal offence to breach a non-

molestation order
● Give co-habiting same-sex couples the same

access to non-molestation and occupation orders as opposite-sex couples ● Enable courts to impose restraining orders when sentencing or on acquittal ● Put in place a system to review domesticviolence homicide incidents ● Give persons named in restraining orders the right to make representations in court if a request is made to vary or terminate the order ● Close a loophole in the law that enables those co-accused of the death of a child or vulnerable adult to escape justice by remaining silent or by blaming each other. The next year will also see work alongside the Department of Health to increase early identification and intervention with domesticviolence victims, developing national helplines directed at all victims of domestic violence, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims and male victims, and a rollout of domestic-violence training to all Crown Prosecution Service prosecutors.

Contact Women’s Aid, the national domestic violence charity, or 0117 944 4411 |

Refuge, UK’s largest single provider of specialist accommodation and support to women and children escaping domestic violence, or 020 7395 7700 | 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline 0808 2000 247

Crime Reduction News 11



Nine-year-old Mohammed transferred to St Anne’s primary school in the middle of the autumn term due to his mother relocating. He was a quiet boy and didn’t talk about himself much. He appeared reluctant to join in group activities, both within school and during breaks, and didn’t seem to make any friends. He was, however, a good student and seemed eager to impress his teacher. This marked him out as a target for bullies who were calling him ‘swot’ and accusing him of being gay. The head teacher arranged to meet with Mohammed’s mother. When told of Mohammed’s experiences, she began to cry and revealed that their move to the area had been as a result of her separating from her violent husband. She expressed her feelings of guilt and, because she was anxious to minimise the impact on Mohammed, she had been reminding him to study hard. The school decided to develop a buddy system for new pupils, allocating two students to each new arrival to help them to settle in. Information on bullying, including the use of ‘gay’ as an insult, was also included in the classroom, and focused on issues such as ‘what makes a good friend?’ and ‘what does being a “real man” mean?’ Mohammad’s mother was also given information about the local domesticviolence survivors group.




chools can be the first step in identifying family violence and the abuse of pupils, and can refer cases to social services. March 2005 saw the launch of an anti-bullying toolkit for domestic violence, funded by the Home Office, that will be used by Department for Education and Skills (DfES) anti-bullying teams operating in schools. When developing bullying initiatives it’s important to consider the issue of domestic violence, as the two issues are closely linked. For example, both issues are about the exploitation of power differentials and can have a profoundly negative impact on children’s emotional and physical wellbeing. That, in turn, can negatively affect their educational attainment. Experience in London schools has shown that addressing the issue of domestic violence within schools has a significant impact on reducing bullying.


A child or young person experiencing domestic violence may be bullied at school and be less likely to tell anyone if ‘permission’ is not given to speak about such behaviour. For many pupils, the experience of domestic violence increases their risk of being bullied as they may: abruptly change their location, leaving behind all their friends and other support networks; be unable to fully participate in school life due to restrictions imposed by the abuse; appear secretive about their home life; not be allowed to socialise with other children and young people. These factors create a heightened risk for becoming the target of bullies. Conversely, a child or young person experiencing domestic violence may become the bully at school – as this may be the only environment in which they have control. The anti-bullying kits that will be used in schools include practical information on:

● Staff

safety procedures

● Offering support to children and

young people living with or leaving domestic violence ● Child-protection work ● Providing informal support to individuals ● Facilitating peer support ● Providing information for survivors of domestic violence ● Child-protection information and guidance ● Children’s Safety Plan. Schools are not expected to address domestic violence in isolation. Domestic-violence work is most effective when undertaken within a multi-agency context. Each agency can focus on its primary role yet have the support of other service providers should a need arise. Most local authority areas also now have a Domestic Violence Forum, usually part of the local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, which will coordinate local activity.

Resources Westminster Domestic Violence Forum contains domestic-violence curriculum materials for
use in schools. Visit |, an interactive learning programme for primary and secondary schoolchildren, plus Watch Over Me, / | Childline, or Freephone 0800 1111 | National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Freephone 0800 800 500.
12 Crime Reduction News

arch 2005 saw some of the UK’s big corporate names come together at a seminar in London to launch of the UK Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV) and the UK employers’ website on domestic violence. Both will work to raise awareness and reduce the human and economic impact of domestic violence in the workplace. Baroness Scotland attended the launch at the House of Lords and said, “The impact of domestic violence goes much wider than the victim, with a cost of nearly £3 billion per year for employers due to lost economic output. Domestic violence should be on the agenda of every statutory agency and private business. They can play an important part in galvanising efforts to tackle domestic violence and I look forward to seeing the work of the UK Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence in addressing this very real and vital issue.” The UK’s CAADV is based on the successful US model, Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. The strategic direction of the Alliance will be managed by a five-person executive board, appointed on an annual basis. In 2005, the executive team comprises of representatives from KPMG, BBC, AOL/Time Warner, Vodaphone, Bodyshop International and the NHS. The Alliance’s mission is to raise awareness of and take action to reduce the human and economic impact of domestic violence upon the workplace. Over the next 12 months, guided by the executive group the UK CAADV is aiming to fulfil five key objectives: ● Create a central resource where employees can go to find information about domestic violence, and where they can also go to seek support ● Address how to create better communications to promote action against domestic violence ● Undertake a review of existing workplace

against domestic violence


policies and support networks to employees, developing a programme that delivers a model for Alliance Members to implement ● Aim to gain membership of companies whose employees number 250,000 in one year ● Hold an event to which Alliance members and CEOs of corporations will be invited, to promote the Alliance and action against domestic violence.

The TUC has published a guide, ‘Domestic violence: A Guide for the Workplace’, which aims to help unions and employers develop sympathetic but effective ways of assisting the victims of domestic violence. The guide aims to: ● Alert employers to the possibility of domestic violence ● Help employers create a safe and productive workplace ● Advise on reducing the costs of domestic violence to employers and thus increasing productivity ● Inform employers of their legal obligations and how they can carry out best practice. To give unions and employers a helping hand in devising workplace policies on domestic violence, the guide suggests a number of items that should be included. One or two members of staff should be named as people to approach if employees wish to discuss things of a personal or domestic nature. Whilst they don’t need to be trained counsellors, the guide suggests the named people undergo some form of training to help them better understand the nature of the problem. Confidentiality and discretion must be maintained at all times. The guide says that anyone experiencing domestic violence may find it extremely difficult to tell anyone what is happening to them. In fact, they may be having problems facing up to the reality themselves. Any policy must highlight the importance of keeping home address, phone and email details confidential because abusive men will often go to great lengths to track down the whereabouts of their partners. Any workplace policy should set out special arrangements that can be made to enable women experiencing violence to organise alternative childcare arrangements, or find somewhere new to live. The guide also says that, because in some cases abusers will try to control their partners by seizing their bank accounts and cash cards, employers should think about offering women advances on their pay or alternative methods of pay in certain circumstances. When thinking about the safety of female employees with violent partners, the guide says employers should consider moving the member of staff out of public view, changing keys and codes for entry to the office, and altering their working hours or shift patterns.

For more information go to

Resources Crime reduction government initiative, |
Government women and equality unit, and

Crime Reduction News 13


The Domestic Violence

Crime and Victims Act



he Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims (DVCV) Act 2004 is the biggest overhaul of the law on domestic violence in the last 30 years. It will strengthen the rights of victims and witnesses, ensuring they receive the help, support and protection they need. It builds on the ongoing reform of the criminal justice system, rebalancing the process in favour of victims and witnesses. The Act contains a wide range of reforms in the three distinct areas: domestic violence, crime and victims. The new familial homicide offence came into force this March and helps close a loophole in the law. The new offence and procedural changes form a package of measures that are intended to solve the problem that arises when a child or vulnerable adult suffers an unlawful death and it can be proved that one or more of a small group of people living in the same household as the victim caused

the death, but not which of them. In such circumstances, there may be no case to answer against any member of the household for murder or manslaughter. Until now this loophole has enabled those co-accused of the death of a child or vulnerable adult to escape justice by remaining silent or by blaming each other. However, it is also a serious standalone offence that puts a new legal responsibility on adult household members who could be charged with the offence where, for example, there is no charge of murder or manslaughter, or where evidence suggests that the defendant could not themselves have committed the criminal act that killed the victim. The offence provides that household members will be guilty either if they caused the death or if three conditions are met: ● They were aware, or ought to have been aware, that the victim was at significant risk of serious

physical harm from a member of the household ● They failed to take reasonable steps to prevent that person coming to harm ● The person subsequently died from the unlawful act of a member of the household in circumstances that the defendant foresaw or ought to have foreseen. The prosecution does not have to prove whether the defendant caused, or allowed, the death. The maximum penalty is 14 years. Investigating officers will need to be aware that, in some households

where this offence has occurred, more widespread violence and abuse may be present and that this offence is premised on a duty to protect the vulnerable from harm. All members of a household have that duty of protection and in most cases, there will be steps, however limited, that the defendant could have taken. Investigating officers will need to identify those steps. They will then need to make a judgement about what steps a court is likely to conclude that the defendant could have reasonably been expected to take.

Familial Homicide Home Office documents Protecting Children & Vulnerable Adults: The New Law on Familial Homicide The text of the Act including the new offence and procedural measures

Contact Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (information and guidance on funding for domestic violence
14 Crime Reduction News

services via the Supporting People programme)


Spotlight on perpetrators
Programmes for perpetrators are a successful means of intervention and a necessity if we are to minimise the damage done by domestic violence, argues Jo Todd, Director of Respect


ithout intervention, domestic violence is likely to continue or escalate. To stop it we must focus on the perpetrator. Respect is the UK association for domestic violence perpetrator programmes. It was set up in 2001 and provides support to organisations and individuals from the voluntary, private and statutory sectors. We work with the perpetrators of domestic violence, setting standards and promoting best practice across the UK. This is a relatively new field in the UK – the first perpetrator programme was only set up in 1989. There are now around 30 community-based projects across the country and the Probation Service is rolling out two programmes for convicted offenders. But convicted offenders account for only a small proportion of perpetrators, so community-based programmes still need to be developed. Every day our helpline takes calls from people who want to refer themselves to a perpetrator programme and we also hear from frontline workers who want to refer clients. But the truth is that in many areas of the country nothing is available at all. Recent research from the Department for Constitutional Affairs proposed that 150 perpetrator programmes were needed.

most agencies within the sector. However, it’s not the whole story, and currently there are only perpetrator programmes in the UK for men who are violent to women. We still need specialist services for those in samesex relationships, and for women who are abusive to their male partners. Hopefully, funding will be available to develop work with these groups soon. With the programmes we have got, we know that behaviour change is a long-term process. Programmes should run for at least 75 hours over a minimum of 30 weeks and employ a mixture of techniques, including cognitive behavioural therapy, small group work, interactive exercises, humanistic psychotherapy, role-play, pro-social modelling and motivational interviewing.

Challenging expectations
The programmes are based on a profeminist understanding of domestic violence, which recognises that the perpetrator is 100 per cent responsible for his behaviour; believes violence is a choice and intentional. It’s imperative that the programmes explore a perpetrator’s expectations of power over a partner, challenge their denial and justification, and examine the attitudes and beliefs they hold which support their use of violence and abuse. The programmes must also work in ways that are meaningful to men from different cultures and backgrounds. They should acknowledge and question the social and gendered

Male violence
The vast majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women and this is reflected in the priorities of

context of domestic violence; develop men’s capacity to understand the impact of their violence on their (ex)partners and children in the long and short term; develop men’s ability to have safe and appropriate contact with their children and encourage men to adopt positive, respectful and egalitarian ways of being. Effectiveness of programmes is difficult to measure, but for us it means the long-term safety of women and children. Of perpetrators who complete a domestic violence programme, some will stop their physical violence and significantly reduce their abusive and controlling behaviour, the majority will stop their violence but maintain some level of abusive and controlling behaviour, and some will continue their violence. Perpetrator programmes cannot ‘cure’ violent men – or guarantee dramatic transformation. However, they can reduce the dangerousness of many of the men they work with and in some cases bring about significant and lasting change. When men attend a perpetrator programme, their behaviour is under scrutiny. Even in cases where men are not changing, the risks can be managed more effectively. That’s a start. Perpetrator programmes have a key role to play in increasing women and children’s safety – and we have a duty to ensure that they are available and accessible to all who need them.

Currently there are only perpetrator programmes in the UK for men who are violent to women

The National Association for Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes and Associated Support Services, Respect at and


Crime Reduction News 15




Code of T

police and appear to have been the victim of criminal conduct.

he Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR)has recently concluded their consultation on a new Victims’ Code of Practice. But what will the new Code actually mean in practice? Here is an outline of the main points.

Q: Which criminal justice agencies have obligations
under the Code?

Q: Why is this Code being published? A: The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004
gives the Home Secretary the power to issue a Victims’ Code of Practice describing the minimum services that criminal justice agencies should provide to victims of crime throughout England and Wales.

A: The police; the Crown Prosecution Service; Her
Majesty’s Court Service; the new National Offender Management Service, including Prisons and Probation, Youth Offending teams, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the Parole Board, and the National Association of Victim Support Schemes.

Q: What will the Code do? A: For the first time, it will spell out to victims what their
rights are and the minimum level of service they can expect from each criminal justice agency.

Q: What sort of things do these obligations cover? A: The obligations aim to ensure victims receive
information, protection and support. The Code will set out what information should be given to victims, and when and how quickly victims should be updated about events related to their case. It will also spell out how they can make a complaint if they

Q: Who will it apply to? A: It will apply to almost all individuals, organisations
or small businesses that make a complaint to the

16 Crime Reduction News


support them throughout their criminal justice experience. However, the Code reflects the changes that have taken place in criminal justice policy over the last few years. The appointment of a Victims’ Commissioner, who will oversee implementation of the Code, sends a clear signal that CJS agencies must prioritise victim care. The Commissioner will also have the power to investigate how the Code is being delivered in local areas.

Q: Aren’t we already meeting the terms of the Code in A:
our area by delivering Witness Care Units? Witness Care Units play an important part in victim and witness care. Staffed by police and CPS, they will be a valuable support for victims and witnesses whose case is going to trial. However, most victims won’t get this far in the CJS process. In those cases where a prosecution doesn’t happen, victims will still need support and information to explain to them what is happening and why. This also applies to victims who need to know about changes to bail arrangements or release dates. Prisons, probation and other agencies are all included under the terms of the Code because victims need help to cope with the outcome of their case. It is not enough to focus solely on support for victims during trials.

The Restorative Justice process, which brings victims and offenders together, is already a familiar feature of the youth justice system. But with recent research suggesting that Restorative Justice has an important part to play in increasing victims’ satisfaction, the Home Office is currently looking at how it can be used more widely in the criminal justice system. To this end, in March the Home Office published ‘Restorative justice: Helping to meet local needs’, a document which invites Local Criminal Justice Boards to consider how Restorative Justice processes can be developed. As well as publishing a guide, the Home Office has created a web-based Restorative Justice toolkit, available at: and victims/restorative The toolkit provides a wealth of practical advice on how to implement Restorative Justice. Visit the Restorative Justice Consortium at:

Q: Why is victim support so important? A: Victim and witness care is essential. Not just because
it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes the system work better. An Audit Commission report in 2003 stated that police response in the early stages after an incident is the key to whether or not the victim will stay engaged with the witness process. People who felt they had been let down by the system once said they would be less likely to come forward to report crime or help with a case in future. Five per cent of all Crown Court cases in 2003 didn’t go ahead because a prosecution witness didn’t show up, but pilot areas for improved victim and witness care have reported at least a 20 per cent drop in ineffective trials. Victim and witness care is vital in itself, but will also help with targets on offences brought to justice and effective trials, for example.

have not received the service they are entitled to under the Code.

Q: How will the Code be enforced? A: Initially, victims will make any complaints under the
Code to the organisation involved. If they are not satisfied with the outcome, the victim can take their case to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. After a thorough investigation, if the Ombudsman decides that a complaint is justified, the organisation involved will be asked to provide a remedy.

Q: Will training on the Code be available before it’s
implemented? A: The central Government team who are responsible for roll-out of the Victims’ Code of Practice have already produced the ‘Delivery Toolkits’ for each Local Criminal Justice Board. These were sent out in February. The Toolkits are full of advice and practical tools to help Boards get their agencies ready for the Code. Free copies can be ordered from the Prolog distribution centre on 0870 241 4680. In addition, the team will also be working closely with agency representatives to produce detailed training materials and guidance which will be made available prior to full implementation of the Code.

Q: How will the Code of Practice differ from the A:
Victims’ Charter? The Victims’ Charter and the Victims’ Code of Practice both focus on the rights of victims and the need to

Resources To download a copy of the Code of Practice Consultation, visit:
whats_new/news-3121.html | For additional information on restorative justice, visit:
Crime Reduction News 17


How to ...


regenerate local communities
hard-hitting programme of initiatives was launched on 15 March 2005 by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Office to help practitioners who work in national agencies, local authorities and community-based services to a create a safer, cleaner local environment. The three-year-long How To programme is part of the wider Cleaner Safer Greener Communities intiative (see the March issue of CRN on page 21). The programme will include the groundbreaking work being carried out in 20 towns and cities across the UK that showcases the ways in which strong partnership working can tackle antisocial behaviour and activity, improve local communities and restore civic pride. The How To programme has been specifically developed to provide practical support, advice and information-sharing to partner agencies with the provision of practical trouble-shooting guides, case study examples, workshops and special helplines. Clear guidance and advice is also given on issues such as neighbourhood safety and tackling environmental crime. “£8 billion is being invested in improving our streets and public spaces,” says Liveability Minister Phil Hope. “This is making a real difference to the quality of people’s lives. Through the How To programme, we want to spell out exactly what action can be taken, what powers can be used and what can be expected from others. It is vital that people know what works best on the ground and how it can work for them.” The first stage of the How To programme got underway in March with the publication of the guide, ‘How to


Manage Town Centres’. The guide focuses on 10 key topics ranging from managing a rowdy night-time economy to reducing noise, litter and street fouling. The Home Office worked closely with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) to develop the guide, and it takes forward one of the recommendations within the Alcohol Harm Reduction Programme for England, which tasked the ODPM to provide guidance to local authorities on managing the night-time economy. The Home Office will continue to work with the ODPM to bed in this guidance over the course of the summer The launch of the first How To Manage Town Centres programme at the Manchester Together Academy was attended by 315 practitioners and partner agency representatives, the guide was distributed to 30,000 others and to date, 5,000 interested parties have already downloaded the PDF version of the guide.

Summer campaigns
The roll-out of the How To programme will continue this summer with the following publications: ● ‘How to Create Quality Parks and Open Spaces’ – campaign to plan and design to improve quality; encourage long-term management and maintenance; assess standards for parks and green spaces and highlight the role of local communities in transforming local parks and spaces. ● ‘How to Improve Residential Areas’ – campaign to improve the areas around neighbourhoods; make residential areas and streets safe; tackle housing-related anti-social behaviour; and design and manage streetscapes more effectively.

The work and goals of the How To programme have been welcomed by Government and partner agencies. Alan Woods, chief executive of environmental campaigning agency ENCAMS said: “All those involved in caring for our neighbourhoods, town centres and parks and open spaces can benefit from the How To programme. I would say the programme is a fantastic opportunity. After all, if someone is going to help you achieve your goal, it would seem sensible to take them up on the offer.”

18 Crime Reduction News


For the latest information on government-backed environmental campaigns, visit: For more information and copies of published How To guides, visit:




Young help with
Youth Crime Prevention
Peer support
Community-based schemes include a basketball project to help truants get back into education and improve relationships between the police and young people. Project manager Mohammed Yaseen said: “The Youth Apprentice Scheme works on the premise that youth crime is best tackled by young people who come from and understand the local community. We’re delighted that the work we’re doing with young people to tackle the frustrations and disaffection that can lead to crime has caught the attention of the Minister.” Simon Machell, Customer Services Director at Norwich Union, said: “The Youth Apprentices are helping young people learn new skills, involving them in activities and sports, and offering guidance with their education and career. They are also receiving accredited training in youth work and community-based project work which should help them further their own interests and careers in social care. “We launched the Youth Apprentice Scheme with Crime Concern because research shows that a young person in trouble is more likely to turn to someone their own age and can relate to the problems they are facing, rather than a parent or other authority figure,” Machell added. “We feel the Youth Apprentice Scheme can help tackle crime at a grassroots level, and could become a model for youth crime prevention that can be rolled out in other cities within the UK.” ll too often young people are seen as the cause of crime. In fact one in two young people will be the victim of crime or aggressive behaviour before they reach their 16th birthday. These findings resulted from a survey called the ‘Norwich Union Youth Insight Report’, which captured the views and experience of 500 young people aged between 11 and 16. Today’s knife culture was a key concern for young people, with one in five admitting they know someone under 16 who carries a knife. With this in mind innovative ways to engage with young people and reduce youth crime are always being explored, and the Norwich Union Youth Apprentice Scheme is one initiative that is receiving support at a ministerial level. Indeed, five scheme apprentices recently had a chance to meet with Hazel Blears, Home Office Minister, and explain their roles. The Apprentice Scheme employs people aged between 18 and 24 and is run by Crime Concern, a national charity established to reduce crime and create environments where people can live their lives free from intimidation and fear. The scheme has a brief of working with Crime Concern representatives and young people to help combat some of the frustrations and pressures that can lead on to crime. The young people appointed as apprentices all grew up in the areas where they are now working, and so have an understanding of the issues and concerns faced by local youth. An immediate benefit of the scheme is the fact that youths often relate better to other young people, so the apprentices can really get to the bottom of a problem. The scheme, launched in September 2004 is due to run until December 2005 when it will be independently evaluated.

“Youth crime is best tackled by young people who come from and understand the local community”


To find out more about Crime Concern’s work with youth groups and other community projects, visit:
Crime Reduction News 19



vehicle underclass
longside serious graffiti, abandoned cars can act as a magnet for anti-social behaviour and generate a fear of crime. For children and the unwary they also make a dangerous playground. Growth in the use of the motor vehicle in the UK has been huge and the number of vehicles on the roads is at an all time high – today there are over 30 million known to the authorities. Unfortunately the volume of vehicles also attracts the attention of those who don’t abide by the law. Research from the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science ( indicates a ‘vehicle underclass’ of nearly a million. Underclass refers to a range of possible offences and criminal indicators. This includes vehicles: ● being either untaxed for more than three months ● with false number plates ● between keepers for more than three months or ● with a number plate not recognised by the DVLA system. This underclass of vehicles now represents nearly 3 per cent of all vehicles on roads the length and breadth of the UK.


Disposal, theft and arson
Some see abandoning a vehicle and walking away from it as the easiest way of dealing with a vehicle problem. This is despite a possible fine of up to £2,500 and/or a three-month prison sentence. 310,000 vehicles were abandoned in

20 Crime Reduction News


England alone during 2002/03 – a rise of 39 per cent from 2000/01 (see: Concern about abandoned vehicles is connected to people’s concerns about crime. According to the British Crime Survey, 12 per cent of people today think that abandoned and burnt out cars are a very big or fairly big problem in their area – down 5 per cent on the previous year (see: British Crime Survey, online at Research also shows a link between stolen vehicles and arson, with up to 50 per cent of vehicle fires being in vehicles that have been reported stolen. Between 1998 and 2002 deliberate fires rose by 40 per cent, which is almost entirely due to the 70 per cent rise in vehicle fires (see the link to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, below right). Offender research has shown the reason for these fires is often the need to destroy forensic and DNA based evidence: those vehicles that were not reported stolen were, in the majority of cases, set alight whilst being abandoned to destroy evidence of ownership. Since 1998, when the price of steel was especially low, economics has had an impact on abandoned vehicles. Dealers began to request money for collecting vehicles whereas previously the owner would have been paid. This, combined with stricter environmental restrictions on the scrapping of vehicles, has increased dealer costs, which were passed on to owners of older cars. These owners were traditionally from lower-income households and who could least afford the costs.


Introduced in 2001, Operation Cubit was a multi-agency scheme dealing with abandoned and untaxed vehicles in the Kent area. Two pilot operations ran for a number of weeks in the spring and summer of that year. The rise in abandoned vehicles was seen to be linked with the increase in costs of legitimately disposing of them. Using a multi-agency approach, the combined powers of those involved were able quickly and efficiently to remove the vehicles from the streets. In addition to environmental concerns, Operation Cubit was able to disrupt the criminality associated with the use of untaxed road vehicles, encourage re-licensing of vehicles, discourage vehicle dumping and reduce vehicle arson.

The team was composed of a police officer, a local authority warden and a subcontract wheel clamping team from the DVLA. Any vehicle on a public road that appeared to have been abandoned, and roadworthy but untaxed vehicles, were either clamped or removed. Owners were able to claim their vehicles back if they wished. The DVLA carried out prosecutions for vehicle licence evasion and unlawful vehicle disposal. The outcome was positive. In one eight-week period in the Medway area, 642 vehicles were removed and 102 were inspected by the Cubit team. In the Swanley area 184 vehicles were removed and action was taken against another 60 vehicles over a four-week period. Only 26 of these vehicles were eventually reclaimed.

What does the future hold?
On 1 April 2002 the Government introduced new regulations enabling abandoned vehicles to be removed by local councils within 24 hours. Today, Operation Scrap-It, funded by the Home Office, has been signed up to by all London Boroughs, and removes vehicles in 72 hours (see The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 will enable authorised officers to give a fixed penalty notice of £200 if a person abandons a car, removes the requirement to attach a notice to abandoned cars and allows abandoned cars to be removed immediately. Since 2001 the Arson Control Forum has worked to bring together police, fire services and local authorities in an effort to tackle vehicle arson. Evaluation following the first group of local projects showed that arson was 30 per cent below the level in control areas. There are now 66 local projects, including 29 car-clear schemes and 24 Arson Task Forces, many of which include a vehicle element. Increases in steel prices, combined with the numerous policy and legislative changes, have now led to a reduction in deliberate vehicle fires for the first time in five years. With effective policing and local authority involvement, we may see an end to the menace of abandoned vehicles.


Operation Crackdown is another multi-agency approach to reducing abandoned vehicles and arson. In Sussex it is estimated that 32,000 vehicles are abandoned each year, at a £10 million cost to the taxpayer. Local residents can inform the authorities about abandoned vehicles using the Sussex Police website ( crackdown.asp). Online they can even upload an image of the offending vehicle.

The reason for fires is often the need to destroy forensic and DNA based evidence

Removal speed
Operation Crackdown made it possible to legally remove vehicles in three days – a great improvement on the four weeks it took previously. The speed of removal has been facilitated by a new computer system that enables police to give quick approval for the removal of any vehicle. Crackdown project manager Tim Saunders explained: “The scheme is already helping, not just to improve the environment but to reduce the opportunities that abandoned vehicles provide for vandalism and crime.”

Contact For links to statistics about vehicle arson, visit the website of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Find it at
Crime Reduction News 21




Justice month highlights volunteers’ efforts

Volunteers are the life blood of British justice with a staggering 90 per cent of all court cases being judged by unpaid staff. The country’s 28,500 magistrates, who give their time voluntarily, make decisions in the majority of cases in the criminal justice system. They are joined by an army of at least 60,000 more volunteers dedicated to serving justice and fighting crime. This includes 11,500 Special Constables plus people who staff police stations, mentor young offenders, support victims of crime, visit prisoners, not to mention members of the 165,000 neighbourhood watch schemes. Their efforts and those of all volunteers are being celebrated this year in the Year of the Volunteer. CSV (Community Service Volunteers) and Volunteering England have been appointed by the Home Office to promote and support the Year of the Volunteer. The year has been divided up into themed months which celebrate the work volunteers do in different areas.
● September – Disability ● October – Citizenship ● November – Europe ● December – Animals

In April, the aim of the theme of justice was to increase the number of volunteers within the criminal justice system and working on community safety projects. Events and projects which took place included: ● A CSV conference celebrating 21 years of volunteering in prisons, held at the House of Lords ● A conference organised by Nacro called ‘putting in your time’ held at Leicester City football club ● A clean-up of Wormwood Scrubs nature reserve. Up to 100 volunteers rejuvenated woodland, installed security cameras and improved lighting. The Year of the Volunteer Awards 2005 have been created to acknowledge and celebrate volunteers in England. Volunteers can be nominated in one of five categories and 2,005 of them will be rewarded with an HM Mint Volunteer Medal. Regional Volunteer Awards ceremonies will take place around the country during October, leading to a national awards ceremony in London in January 2006.
For more information: www.yearofthe or contact Martin Walford at

The themes for each month are:
● January – Health ● February – Youth and children ● March – Older people ● April – Justice ● May – Environment ● June – Recognition ● July – Veterans ● August – Sport

22 Crime Reduction News

Anti-crime volunteers in line for grants
Voluntary sector groups could each be £250 richer thanks to the Year of the Volunteer. To celebrate Justice Month, held in April, some 20 grants of £250 are on offer to voluntary sector groups which ran events to highlight the role of volunteers who work in the criminal justice system and on community safety projects. The events had to be based around one of the four themes of justice month which show how volunteers: ● Prevent crime happening – such as neighbourhood wardens, youth clubs, working with offenders, making environments less crime-friendly ● ‘Put things right’ – working with victims of crime, or in restorative justice projects to help repair the damage of crime ● Build community confidence – helping the understanding of the criminal justice system, and bringing people together ● Find a new career – discovering a passion through the training and commitment involved in volunteering in the justice sector. The winners are due to be announced shortly.

Run to raise funds for Crimestoppers
Help reduce crime in your community and get fit in the process by taking part in this year’s Great North Run on behalf of Crimestoppers. This year’s event, which will be held in Newcastle on Sunday 18 September, marks the 25th anniversary of the run. Last year, 45 out of the record 38,374 runners who crossed the finish line represented Crimestoppers. Crimestoppers uses the funds raised by its runners to promote its work throughout the UK. Currently 17 people a day are arrested and charged as a result of calls to the 0800 555 111 number. Crimestoppers is inviting anyone who wants to take up the challenge and run on its behalf to contact the organisation. All you need to do is raise a minimum of £300 sponsorship. Anyone who decides to take up the challenge will be sent a runner’s pack giving more information about the event which includes top tips for fundraising and training. For more information call the events team on 020 8254 3200 or go to

Specials weekend boosts interest
Specials Constables in England and Wales were given the chance to publicise the valuable contribution they make to fighting crime at this year’s National Specials Weekend. The event, which ran from 25-27 February, saw forces encouraging their Specials to attend for duty and take part in various activities and operations. In West Midlands, 80 Specials patrolled Birmingham City Centre over Friday night and Saturday morning providing a highly visible presence. In Cheshire, members of the public logged onto the force’s website to watch Specials receive an operational briefing before going out on patrol. Feedback from forces indicates the weekend was a success in that there has been an increased level of interest in Specials and increased applications.
● This year’s Ferrers Trophy event, will

take place at the Church House Conference centre, Westminster on June 23. The Ferrers Trophy recognises the Special who has made the most significant contribution to policing throughout the year. It was named after Lord Ferrers, the minister of state who started the trophy off in 1990. Since then, national recognition of the trophy has grown and it is now widely attended by representatives from all the police forces.
For more information on the weekend and of the Ferrers Trophy go to

2004 Trophy winner, DO Adrian Dodd

Crime Reduction News 23