You are on page 1of 60

Our vision for

safe and active


communities
A report by Baroness Newlove
Our vision for safe and active communities

Foreword

I am very grateful to all those


individuals and communities who
have given me their time, helped
me to understand the issues and
challenges and informed this report.
In October 2010 I was appointed the many others not talked about involving more local people,
government champion for and I wanted to make sure that professionals, businesses and
active, safer communities, with a something positive came out of the media, all of whom have a
mission to see how we can help our tragedy. I’ve spent my time really important role to play.
change communities. I’ve spent since then campaigning and
much of the last six months travelling extensively. I’ve seen To cynics who may be saying
travelling around England vibrant, active, safe communities “here we go again, another set
and Wales to find out what and I know they exist. of recommendations, another
challenges the public face. report to gather dust” I’d like
This report provides details them to remember the spirit
I’ve suffered the devastating of the research that I have that sustained then rebuilt
consequences of crime, disorder undertaken and outlines this shattered country during
and unchallenged anti-social my recommendations to and after the war. Or the many
behaviour. In 2007 my husband government, to local agencies Japanese people who have
Garry was kicked to death by a and to communities which, brought food, blankets and water
gang of alcohol and drug-fuelled if acted upon, will help to to share with those who have
teenagers, in front of our three make those safe and happy lost everything after the recent,
young daughters, practically on communities a reality for devastating tsunami. People are
the doorstep of our family home. more people. No one person inherently good neighbours.
It was not a one-off incident but or organisation can make the I have faith that together we
the peak of an escalation in anti- changes that are needed – it’s can make changes to make life
social behaviour we had suffered about all of us working together better. I shall continue to support
but which was categorised by in a new, more unified way. This is and campaign for that.
the authorities as ‘low risk’ and the real ‘people power’ which will
which they did not guess would help reclaim our communities.
end in such a violent way. I’m
determined that no-one else This report is the result of my
should suffer as we did, or the work, but also, I hope, the start
Pilkingtons or the Askews did, or of an on-going wider debate

Baroness Newlove

3
Our vision for safe and active communities

Introduction
We all want our neighbourhoods to be safe and
enjoyable places to live: a united community where
we know and can rely upon our neighbours, where
parents take responsibility for their children and where
people are willing and able to intervene to challenge
bad behaviour, confident that they will be supported
by their neighbours, police, landlord, local council,
ward councillors and their MP.

This isn’t an idealistic or impossible dream. I have seen neighbourhoods where


this is a reality and each of us has the power to make it happen within our own
community. Yet most of us, most of the time, choose not to.

Why?
I think we’ve become so become distanced from the The report is divided into
dependent on the professional public they are there to serve. the following sections
agencies (police, local authority, They have been encouraged Pg 8 Evidence on current
social landlords etc) to sort out to think that they exclusively levels of involvement
problems that we’ve simply have the skills, information
Pg 10 My vision for active,
stopped seeing the safety and and expertise to tackle crime
safer communities
cleanliness of our community and disorder. And all too often
as something we’re responsible they’ve come up with solutions Pg 12 Getting your
for or even have any influence without even speaking to those community active –
over. So, when we see things who best understand what’s a guide for people
such as fly-tipping, graffiti or going on within the community who want to make a
dog fouling, while we might – those who live and work difference, including
feel disgust and frustration, we’ll there, and are the victims of this ten top tips for activists
usually just ignore it. What can disorder and crime. Pg 26 Working with your
we do after all, and isn’t it for community – how
the police, the local authority or Is it any wonder that an ‘us and agencies can make
whoever else to deal with? them’ culture has developed? change happen locally
The public are on the frontline Pg 42 Letting communities
Government has made the in suffering the effects of crime lead – what and how
problem worse, by tying up and antisocial behaviour but central government
agencies in stifling bureaucracy on the backline when it comes need to change
and targets. Fixated on statistics, to decisions about how to deal Pg 48 Annex – Case studies
performance tables, pilots with the problem. from the seven
and initiatives, agencies have neighbourhoods, in
their own words

4
Our vision for safe and active communities

So what have I been doing? I spoke to very


Over the last six months, I’ve staff, voluntary and community many people
gone out to meet local people sector groups and victims;
in their communities to learn visited a number of ‘good over the past six
and understand more from
their experiences.
practice’ projects around the
country and consulted with
months, and those
I’ve worked closely with seven
the wider public via my blog1.
I have also read comments
conversations
neighbourhoods. I personally from a survey of almost 200 formed the basis
chose these neighbourhoods as experienced community
they represented a cross-section activists2. I really wanted to dig of my report.
of areas with different levels of deep into this area, to see what I am extremely grateful in
problems and at different stages works and what doesn't and particular to activists and staff
of community development. most of all to understand the in the seven neighbourhoods
barriers which stop ordinary I worked with. I have been
I have listened to police officers, people restoring the safety and hugely impressed by the time
social landlords, local authority wellbeing of their own streets. and energy they put into
their communities and would
encourage you to read their
personal stories in the Annex
Cutsyke in Wakefield of this report. I would like to
thank them dearly: Hayley Bell,
Jill Slaine, Jan Palmer, Father
Offerton in Stockport Rob Wickham, Louise Brown,
Erica Jones, Win Gleed, Sara
Briar Road Estate Griffiths, Bill Bass, Phil Morgan,
in Havering Vera Rothon, Kelly Holkham,
Shaun Taylor, Ann McGovern,
Dave Barker, Ian Levy, Paul
Park and Twyn Wards Morrall, Bonnie Navarra, Chris
in Merthyr Tydfil Barry, Richard Gardiner, David
Jones, Rheta Davison, Gordon
St John’s Parish, Hackney Hooker, Sue Hooker, Maggie
Beckett, Jim Cappleman,
Georgina Cappleman, Brendan
Flower Roads Estate O’Brien, Carolyn Anderson, Dave
in Southampton Folkestone East and Springett and Alan Kebbell.
Cheriton in Shepway Finally, I’d like to thank my dearest
and most loyal friend Rani King.

1 Helennewlove.co.uk
2 183 Community Crime Fighters (CCFs) were surveyed by telephone in February 2011. The CCF programme was set up in September 2008
by the then Home Secretary to give participants the skills and knowledge to challenge criminal justice agencies on the level of service
they provided; and to encourage their local communities to engage in community safety activities. Nearly 4,000 Community Crime
Fighters (CCFs) from England and Wales received training in 2009/10

5
Our vision for safe and active communities

What have I found out?


Move special ability to mobilise and
support people, particularly
The 'Big Society’ is already out those who sometimes struggle
there – it’s the neighbourliness from complaining to find a voice.
of putting on a street party, it’s about the state of
the parents running the local your neighbourhood Finally, I think Government
football team in all weathers, needs to turn itself inside out
the hundreds of thousands
or how much agencies
and put information, people,
of volunteers, faith groups, don’t do and do money, and skills at the disposal
and many established groups something about it of communities. Champion our
including youth clubs, cadets, yourself! work and say thank you!
Brownies, Scouts, Guides, and
Boys and Girls Brigades. It’s the
local befrienders of the elderly, There are many suggestions in We need to
housebound, people with this report about how you can
physical or mental health issues, get involved and if agencies trust each other,
the most vulnerable and often the aren’t doing what you need, ask
most easily targeted by bullies. them ‘why not’? to believe in a
Delivering services closer to To agencies, I'd say don't assume
common plan
communities and letting local
people make the decisions that
that you always know best. Don’t
rush in with solutions but think
and destination.
affect them ('localism') is not about what the community can
rocket science either. People bring to the table. Join together It might seem too simple, or too
like the idea of their local bobby to get the basics right. Give your hard. It will involve some radical
walking the beat and being part community confidence that you changes in how resources and
of community life - that's why are there when they need you, power are distributed but we
Neighbourhood Policing Teams on their terms and on their side can all share in the success if we
and Police Community Support - and then step out of the way crack this new way of working.
Officers (PCSOs) are popular and unleash the amazing assets
with local communities. that exist in your community. This report explains how we
Give them the baton, but don’t might begin this journey and

We need drop it – keep a light touch until


they can run with it.
poses challenges to all of us as
we move forward. If we had had
this approach in 2007, the lives
to change mindsets - And, I’m not just talking of me and my children might
about statutory agencies. The have been very different from
communities, voluntary and community sector the future we now face
local agencies also have a huge and important without Garry.
and Government. part to play here. Many victims
may be unable to take action
themselves, particularly the
My message to activists is, most vulnerable or excluded.
wherever possible, take that Voluntary and community
extra step. sector organisations have the

6
Our vision for safe and active communities

Challenges to Action

This report is not a typical You can


Government report. It is written make a
difference and
for activists by an activist. get things done.
Agencies can and
For that to happen, some things need to change,
and I have some key challenges for local agencies should be helping not
and central government: hindering you.

1 Reward communities who come together to reduce crime by giving them back
money to re-invest in crime prevention
2 Give the community cash from assets seized from drug dealers and other criminals
3 Create a national information source, a hub for activists, and support it with an
award for the best examples of activism
4 Provide the public with a single point of contact for reporting non-emergency
crime and anti-social behaviour - make sure other partners are linked up for the
roll-out of the 101 number
5 Let communities set their own speed limits
6 Back a community ‘Power of Competence’ with a helpline to give the public
advice to overcome cautious agencies standing in their way
7 Follow the Neighbourhood Policing example and get the justice system out
of the court room and into communities, and put victims’ needs and their
protection at the heart of any action.
8 Pool agencies’ budgets locally and give the community a choice about how
money is spent
9 Ask Police and Crime Commissioners to commit at least 1% of their budget to
grass roots community groups to use or have a say on
10 Take crime maps to the next stage – don’t just show where crime happens, but
what action has been taken against local crooks
11 End the 9-5 culture. Agencies need to be there for their community when they
need them.
12 Get public servants out and into communities, and volunteering their time and
expertise to support local groups

7
Our vision for safe and active communities

1. What does the evidence tell us


about current levels of involvement?
Levels of volunteering in the UK are higher compared
to many of our European neighbours3, 40% of people
living in England (over 17 million people) volunteered
formally at least once in the last twelve months with
25% volunteering formally at least once a month4.
There is also good evidence that more people would like to
get involved. Almost half of the public (49%) say that they
would like to be more involved in decisions affecting their
local area, and another 15% would, depending on the issue5.
Some do not know how to get more involved and I hope that this report
might help them to
get started.
Others may feel they do not Community safety related they would like to join one if it
have the time and again I hope volunteering were available6.
this report will demonstrate that
even getting involved in a very It is difficult to accurately estimate The survey of community crime
small way can begin to change the number of people who are fighters (local activists who are
the whole dynamic and feel of already actively involved in making already involved in tackling
the community. their community safer as there are crime) found that most were
so many different national and engaged in a whole range of
There are a small number of local voluntary groups, as well as different safety related activities.
individuals who are already highly thousands of different tenants' This suggests that once people
involved, and I hope that these and residents' associations, get interested, they will take on
people might begin to act as small community groups and a number of different roles. But
catalysts, creating a ripple effect, individuals acting informally. it seems that we are expecting
by encouraging more and more a small number of individuals to
friends and neighbours to get But we do know there is real do too much.
interested and active. But we also appetite to get more involved.
need to recognise that there is a 76% of those surveyed for the Being actively involved in your
proportion of the population who 09/10 British Crime Survey who community and helping to keep
are just not interested in getting did not have a Neighbourhood it safe needs to become the
involved, and that is their choice. Watch scheme in their area said norm rather than the exception.

3 Volunteering in the European Union (2010). http://ec.europa.eu/citizenship/eyv2011/doc/Volunteering%20in%20the%20EU%20Final%20


Report.pdf
4 CLG (2010) Citizenship survey 2009/10. http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/pdf/164191.pdf. Formal volunteering is
defined as unpaid help given as part of groups, clubs or organisations to benefit others or the environment.
5 2008/09 Citizenship Survey :Empowered Communities Topic Report
6 Bespoke analysis of 2009/10 British Crime Survey data

8
Our vision for safe and active communities

Intervening directly
People think that others would, but are less sure about themselves.
The 2009/10 British Crime Survey found that...

55% if a 47% if they saw a


child was being child playing truant7.
rude to an adult 77% of the public
thought that their
75% thought neighbours would be willing
neighbours would to get involved to solve a
intervene to stop a fight community problem.

But interestingly, people tend to be less confident when asked about their own behaviour.

In a 2006 Europe-wide survey The most common reasons people give for not
taking action are concern about repercussions, and
only 30% of Britons said they’d be feeling that it’s nothing to do with them or is not their
likely to confidently challenge or responsibility. Concerns over repercussions are very
probably challenge a group of youths understandable. In a survey of individuals reporting
who were damaging a bus shelter8 anti-social behaviour to the police the HMIC found that
32% reported suffering subsequent intimidation9.

What difference does able to provide helpful leads10. control (i.e where residents think
public involvement make? Research from the US found that that neighbours are willing to
strong communities are more intervene to stop minor crime
Without public co-operation and effective in reducing anti-social and disorder) experience lower
participation very little crime behaviour and maintaining levels of crime and perceived
would be detected, prosecuted order than tough policing anti-social behaviour compared
and punished. For example, tactics11. Home Office analysis to people in otherwise similar
four-fifths of all directly detected indicates that people living in (in socio-demographic terms)
offences had victims or witnesses areas with strong informal social neighbourhoods12.

7 Home Office Statistical Bulletin 19/10. Public perceptions of policing, engagement with the police and victimisation: findings from the
2009/10 BCS. http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs10/hosb1910.pdf
8 ADT(2006) Anti-social behaviour across Europe: An overview of research commissioned by ADT Europe
9 HMIC (2010) Anti-social behaviour : Stop the rot
10 Home Office (2005) Understanding the attrition process in volume crime investigations. HORS 295 http://rds.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/
pdfs05/hors295.pdf
11 Sampson, R, Raudenbush, S and Earls, F (1997) Neighbourhoods and Violent Crime: A Multilevel Study of Collective Efficacy, Science 277, 918
12 Bespoke analysis of 2009/10 British Crime Survey data

9
Our vision for safe and active communities

2. My Vision
How is the neighbourhood different?
zz People feel safe in their area, know and can rely on their neighbours and feel happy
to live there
zz The community has a sense of pride and ownership in their area and are looking at how
they can improve the neighbourhood rather than relying solely on agencies
zz People feel confident and willing to intervene and challenge bad behaviour
zz Parents take responsibility for their kids
zz People within the community have skills, resources and support to set up their own groups
and projects and these are growing in number and thriving
zz BUT if they feel out of their depth or threatened there is a clear mechanism from agencies
to support them – they do not feel abandoned
zz People who do the right thing are celebrated
zz Savings made by active communities are used for the benefit of those communities

How are local agencies such as police, local authority


and housing associations different?
zz Professionals are more visible and known by name by their community
zz All professional staff regard supporting the community as the purpose of their work, rather
than an ‘add-on’ or extra
zz Agencies’ processes are transparent to the public, who in turn are clear who to contact to
get their problem solved
zz Agencies understand why they are working with the public and engagement is recognised
and rewarded in their organisational culture
zz Agencies share resources and knowledge with partners and the community
zz Agencies are working in partnership, not in silos, and with a shared vision

10
Our vision for safe and active communities

How is the relationship between local services


and the community different?
zz Community members feel listened to and their concerns taken seriously
zz Information is shared two ways leading to quick outcomes
zz Community members know their rights and are able to hold agencies to account
zz Engagement is no longer a ‘tick-box’ exercise but a fundamentally different way of
delivering services in collaboration with the local community
zz The community are no longer just consulted, but able to make decisions and take the lead
in making change happen, with agencies available to assist

How will the outcomes be different?


zz Crime and disorder are reduced
zz Every crime is reported and people are prepared to act as witnesses, leading to higher
detection and conviction rates
zz Communities have growing confidence in the criminal justice system
zz Re-offending is reduced as the community helps individuals to break from a cycle of crime
and re-offending.
zz Local papers are full of stories showing how people are making a difference

11
Our vision for safe and active communities

3. Getting your community active


There’s no exact science about who chooses to get
actively involved in their community. Motivations
tend to be particular to the individual, and people
and neighbourhoods vary hugely. But we do know
that friends and neighbours are far more successful in
getting others involved than agencies or organisations.

More than half of volunteers13, for example, volunteer after being asked to
by someone they know who is already

As Barack Obama’s successful This chapter will focus on how The community activists I’ve
Presidential campaign showed, communities can self-organise been working with said that
with practical tips and examples their top five motivations for
when you start to for anyone looking to do it in getting involved were:
their own area.
empower citizens 1 Passionate about my area and
Chapters 4 and 5 will explore want to improve it
to engage each how professional agencies
other, you can and government can support
and reward community action
2 Frustrated by current state of
affairs and the poor response
achieve a lot and remove barriers which
prevent involvement. They will
of agencies

more than by also look at the important role


that voluntary and community
3 Inspired by a local leader/
champion
trying to go sector organisations have to
play in supporting victims and 4 Could see that I might benefit
directly to mobilising communities. (acquiring skills, experience,
friendship etc)
every citizen.
5 Had the time available to do it

13 2008/09 Citizenship Survey: Volunteering and Charitable Giving Topic Report http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/
pdf/1547056.pdf

12
Our vision for safe and active communities

Think first about developing community spirit (not necessarily fighting crime)

While your ultimate aim might be neighbours will begin to get to to take on responsibility for a
to reduce crime and anti-social know and trust each other, so neighbour. In Folkestone, for
behaviour, your first step could minor problems can be ironed example, a neighbour organised
be to develop a shared sense out informally. for each elderly resident in
of community spirit. People will the street to have a ‘buddy’- a
only be prepared to get involved Once you neighbour who looks out for
in crime prevention if they feel them, clears their path of snow,
ownership about where they live, recognise picks up shopping if needed,
have a sense of belonging and and who they can call if they
neighbourliness and a shared a common have concerns such as an
ambition to improve the area. As
one activist put it: “If you haven’t
purpose, you unfamiliar person ringing their
doorbell. The stronger these
got passion about where you
live, why should anyone else?”
might choose relationships become, the more
trusting people will be and more

It doesn’t have to start with a


to create more resilient to deal with problems
in their neighbourhoods. As
meeting in a church hall on formal networks. one activist explained: “there is
community safety. Organise fun safety in neighbours and trust
activities, such as a barbeque This could be a residents group in friendship and that helps to
or a party. This will attract a or a Neighbourhood Watch diminish fear”
wider range of people, and scheme or you might choose

Case study: Southampton


Neighbours on the Flower Roads Estate decided last year to
organise a three day community youth festival to bring people
from the estate together. About 600 people attended the
festival to listen to bands and to visit the stalls set up by local
youth organisations offering advice on employment, training
and education. It was so successful that they are planning
another this year to celebrate the transformation of the Daisy
Dip communal space into a games area and nature reserve.
They are planning to involve young people, particularly those
who have been causing trouble in the past, to help organise it.
Not only will the youngsters bring a range of talents, especially
music, to the table, they will also learn valuable organisation
skills along the way.

13
Our vision for safe and active communities

Start with your street and neighbours

Case study: Middlewich


After noticing an increase in the level of littering in her area, one resident wrote to the local paper
to ask local shop owners to take responsibility for the area immediately around their shop. When
the letter was published she got five responses from local residents who she invited to start the
Middlewich Clean Team with her. They wrote to schools, Brownie groups and churches explaining
why they wanted to clean up the area and invited them to an initial meeting. The team now has
over 200 members, organises two litter picks a month and visits schools with a theatre company to
act out the message of the importance of cleaning-up.

“Over the years we have proved ourselves. Our council now also provide money to our budget …
one of the things we had to overcome was other people in our town who just thought 'who are
those people?' 'what are they doing?' With perseverance we have changed things, and by talking to
people shown them that our town, belongs to us all. Just last week we had a community day and
got another 8 members signed up. Everybody knows us now, we use the press whenever we can.
We started with just five, we now have over 200 members. We go into all the schools, we have two
people who go into the nursery classes too, we chat with the kids, sing songs and show them the
litter picking equipment …Out motto is love your town, keep it clean.”

Don’t be worried about the anti-social


behaviour and graffiti in her
you’ve let yourself in for
[but] it encourages people to
overwhelmed area that she decided to set
up a Neighbourhood Watch
do things for themselves and
the community, and talk to
by the scale of scheme. As she explained:
“It’s about making each street
each other”

the task accountable for what goes


on…I want people to have pride
or feel that you have to in where they live.” At first only Case study: Essex
change everything in your area two neighbours were willing to
overnight. Even the longest get involved, but five years on Eight families got around a
journey starts with a single 36 out of the 38 houses in her kitchen table to source help
step and you will begin to street are members. for their severely disabled
make a difference even if you children. Finding none, they
just get active yourself, and You may have to be prepared to brought together others,
begin to get your immediate be a leader, as your neighbours friends and relations to do
neighbours involved. We are may look to you to keep them it themselves. Today SNAPS
all influenced by the behaviour motivated, and being the first to in Essex supports other
of those around us. If you act can be hard, but if you get families through an award
choose to ‘step up’, so will others others involved, it can quickly winning website and from a
and it will soon become the create a ripple effect. An activist purpose built building with
social norm. In Folkestone, for in Havering told me: “In the the help of 80 volunteers
example, one resident was so beginning you do wonder what and a Big Lottery grant.

14
Our vision for safe and active communities

Technology can help and create new networks, share


information quickly and openly,
Cultural changes over the last as well as allowing us to fit
30 or so years have undoubtedly community action more easily
weakened social bonds within around other commitments.
communities. We’re now Think about how you could
less likely to live in the same use IT to create your own
community we grew up in, community forum. Setting up
we’re busier with work and an email group, a social network
other commitments, and our site or a blog requires far less
leisure time is increasingly technical skill or knowledge than
focused within the home due you might think, and by using a
to televisions, the internet and free blogging platform it can be
computer games etc. done quickly and cheaply. It will
help you publicise your work and
put more pressure on services.
Technology In the East End of London for
example a group of streets
is, however, suffering anti-social behaviour
created an email group called
transforming ‘Brick Lane Watch’ which allowed
the way we residents to share intelligence
about fly-tipping and proved
can connect to be very effective in getting
action on extra street cleaning.

Case study: Kings Cross Local Environment and other


hyperlocal websites
In 2006, William Perrin had been active in his Kings Cross London neighbourhood for several years
tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. But he was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information
that an active community generates. So he started up a local (or hyper-local) website http://www.
kingscrossenvironment.com/ where he started writing and posting up photos and videos about what
was going on – drug dealing and sex worker detritus, people lighting bins in garages and dumping
fridges, acute noise pollution by local businesses – and bring it to the attention of the council, police,
local businesses and other residents. The website also let other people know what was going on, good
and bad and helped people act together rather than alone. The photos on the website today show how
the area has become a much nicer place to live as a result of a huge community effort. The Kings Cross
website now has a network of 20 local people who send in information and a handful of core volunteers
who do most of the publishing. And it is not just about crime and anti-social behaviour but a local
website where people can find out about all the interesting things to do locally. Will suggests the greatest
prize is “making people realise they are not alone in trying to get things done. The website has helped us
work really closely in real time with our councillors and public services to fix local problems.” He has now
started up an organisation http://talkaboutlocal.org.uk/ which can help you set up your local website.

15
Our vision for safe and active communities

Have a clear purpose: decide what you want to change and get people excited
about that change

You will find it easier to convince in, or creating a play area for internet, and contact your local
others to get involved if you the kids. People get motivated media14. By creating shared
have a clear and achievable if they can see a tangible goals and successes, you’ll be
objective. It’s difficult to get outcome which improves their strengthening your sense of a
people excited about ‘creating lives directly. And remember, shared community spirit, and
a safer community’, but they whenever you succeed, encouraging more people to
might be more interested in publicise these achievements join you.
stopping fly-tipping in a specific as widely as possible. Tell your
spot, getting alley gates put family and friends, use the

Case study: Birmingham


“Many years ago on this estate you could not stand outside your
house and have a conversation without prostitutes and clients
coming up to you. ‘ If you form a group we will back you’, that’s
what the residents told me. So we called a public meeting and
everyone came including pimps, prostitutes, residents and
police .. We got funding from a national retail chain to improve
the gardens and built a ‘growzone’ in the local area. After making
a strong case to the local authority, they agreed to install CCTV
and white lighting in the area … It is like we went to bed one
night and we got up in the morning to find we had been
parachuted into a new estate.

There is no secret to it, if you are determined to do something,


when one door closes you have to try another … This estate
is lovely now. I couldn’t have done it on my own though. We
all work together, services and the community. We get people
from all over coming here to see what we do”

14 http://www.mediatrust.org/

16
Our vision for safe and active communities

Try to get everyone involved

Case study: Havering


The community produced a rap video exploring the poor perceptions different generations can
have about each other. Starring younger and older residents together, they all used hip hop moves
and rap lyrics to communicate their feelings and misconceptions. This was a really energetic and
enjoyable way of unravelling and discussing issues between different generations and for them to
better understand and appreciate each other.

When thinking about In Cutsyke, older residents are unlikely to put themselves
community spirit, also consider teach youngsters how to bake forward, so you’ll want to think
where there are tensions within in the community house. In about how you can reach out,
your community, who might Folkestone East and Cheriton, support and integrate them into
feel socially isolated, and how local people are about to buy community life. Victims should
your community could become tools and workbenches to start not feel they are powerless
more inclusive. a new project where elder male or alone – watch for court
residents can act as role models reports and work with your
In many of the neighbourhoods for young people who feel neighbourhood police and
I’ve been working with there alienated and teach them DIY charities to offer support. It is
have been particular suspicions skills, getting them involved in nearly always gratefully received.
between young and old, with the community and enhancing
older people being fearful to their self esteem. Finally, be careful to keep
even walk past groups of young everyone involved and not let
people, and youngsters feeling It will be especially important overpowering individuals take
vilified and blamed for all the to think about how you might over. As an activist in Havering
problems in the area. involve the most vulnerable in warns: “Sometimes personalities
your community. can be a problem – there
Cross-generational work can can be too much enthusiasm
be really successful in This might include the elderly, and people trying to be too
breaking down the barriers socially isolated, intimidated or dominating on the group”.
in understanding between individuals who have been the
old and young. victim of crime. Such people

Case study
Saphron was targeted and beaten up by a gang from her school who bullied her. She was scared to
report it for fear of reprisals, but with the help of Victim Support15 and local friends who were there
for her, she bravely testified and began to recover her self esteem and self worth. She went on to
volunteer to support other young victims and now speaks for them, and works for the charity.

15 Victim Support provide free support and advice to anyone who has been a victim of, or affected by crime (www.victimsupport.org)

17
Our vision for safe and active communities

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Remember, Rather than battling forward on


your own, why don’t you team
the road. She has joined forces
with the local Mencap group
other people up? For example, a resident in
Merthyr Tydfil has been trying
who are struggling to get
parents to help out with the
have been there to find somewhere for young upkeep of their building. As she
people to hang out so that they puts it “they’re in need of help as
before you, and have something to do other much as us, we are a group”.
than drink in the ‘cwtsch16’ up
other groups in
your community Case study: Hackney
might be in a In Hackney, the families of teenagers murdered through youth
violence have joined together with local churches and retailers.
similar place. They support Hackney Citizens - part of a nationwide initiative
which knits community groups together in a common purpose.
Several schools are part of this group and young people have
a key voice in setting priorities, asserting that ‘we are not the
problem, we are the solution’. They work closely with the police,
local agencies and businesses, building accountability and trust
between neighbours. Although tackling the extreme end of
crime – gang violence and ‘postcode’ rivalries they get strength
and support from working together.

Several schools are


part of this group

16 A welsh word meaning cubbyhole/corner area

18
Our vision for safe and active communities

Get your Neighbourhood Police and Council working with you

Think about how Use the ‘official channels’ such as neighbourhood. KINS are
councillor surgeries and police made up of residents or local
you’re going to beat meetings but also invite business people and share a
them out to your events to get real commitment and drive
work with your them interacting and talking to make their community a
to you and your neighbours on safer place. They help the local
local agencies. your terms. Tell them what the Safer Neighbourhoods team to
problems in your community identify community issues and
Your local councillors, are and discuss how these could can also speak out on behalf of
neighbourhood policing team, be practically addressed – not local people. Police often ask
housing officer and council only what you need them to them to carry out surveys about
officials ought to be there to do – but also what you and your crime and anti-social behaviour
support you. community might be able to do or to get involved in supporting
to resolve the issues. Build those an initiative or campaign.
bridges – even one like-minded
How partner can offer support,
guidance and open doors for Information
you, which all residents trying to
are you make a difference need. is power,
going to get so use it to hold agencies to
them working See whether there is a Key account where you are not
Individual Network (KIN) happy with their performance.
better for you?
group which covers your For example, take your local

19
Our vision for safe and active communities

crime map (find it by doing a or could even aggravate Social landlords (such as the
postcode search at www.police. the problem. When facing Peabody Trust18) will often be
uk) to a police beat meeting neighbourhood annoyances willing to call in mediators at
and ask them to explain what - such as youths screaming the start. And many community
actions they are taking to deal around on mopeds, or the members – teachers, parents,
with the crimes identified; or if continuous thump of a football youth workers - will have
you’re suffering from anti-social against an elderly resident’s side mediation skills already. For
behaviour, keep a detailed wall – which are not crimes but those that do not, there is plenty
record of all incidents and any maddening all the same and of training available.
actions taken by authorities, and damaging to quality of life.
use this to inform and demand
further action.

The recently proposed Think


“Community Trigger” should
make it easier for victims and about how
communities to demand further you might use
action by allowing them to mediation. Bringing
require agencies to deal with
persistent problems where they the parties together
have previously failed to take to discuss and
action17. It is absolutely right that understand the impact
services should be taken to task of their behaviour
for inaction and when things go
can often be more
wrong, but the emphasis should
be on getting it right first time. effective and nip
problems in the bud
Sometimes bringing in the before they escalate.
police might not be appropriate

Community voices: Peterborough


One of the biggest barriers we had was recognition - services didn’t know who we were. We
persevered with networking, now we understand we have common goals and common
resolves … We work in partnership with all the services, we are so passionate with what we do.

17 To see the wider reform of ASB tools and powers which the Government are currently consulting on visit
www.homeoffice.gov.uk/asb-consultation.
18 www.peabody.org.uk

20
Our vision for safe and active communities

Don’t forget about local schools, charities, faith groups and businesses

Consider what they might be spots for ASB issues, but if you often be happy to get involved
able to provide. Schools can work with them then they can as it provides ‘real life’ experience
too often be seen as part of the become part of the solution. for the young people who
problem, as they can be hot- Local schools and colleges will attend them.

Case Study: Merthyr Tydfil


Activists are trying to tackle the sale of alcohol to young
people and decided to start by asking young people what
they thought. Not surprisingly, the young people came up
with loads of ideas and were keen to get involved. Members
of the Cyfarthfa Lower School Youth PACT and the Merthyr
Tydfil Creative Youth Development Group are going to design
a campaign leaflet – with one side aimed at parents who might
buy alcohol for their children and the other aimed at young
people – setting out messages about the impact of alcohol on
the health and safety of young people and
the impact on the community.

Young people came


up with loads of ideas

Faith groups have members with offering to share their skills ASB problems. He now has more
similar values who can offer time or resources. Sometimes you than 40 businesses involved
and experience. Christchurch in just need to ask. In Havering, and they each have two way
Brentwood, for example, offers a local activists wrote to 15 local radios to communicate directly
free community drop-in advice businesses, and a major DIY with their Safer Neighbourhood
surgery on parenting thanks chain responded with an offer to Team. It has reduced ASB as well
to the voluntary efforts of a provide £3,000 worth of support as gathering more intelligence
member of the congregation through supplies of paint, for the police.
who is a retired paediatrician. It’s fencing, flowers and plants.
a very welcome resource for local Look locally for community
parents unsure of how to deal Business people can also start recycling sites or set one up
with issues around their children. groups and schemes themselves. yourself, encourage donations of
For example one small business paint, books and materials. Your
Businesses can often help with owner decided to create a local school or community can save
free or cut price goods or by Business Watch scheme to tackle money and help the planet.

21
Our vision for safe and active communities

Finance

Purse strings may be tightening but there


is still money available for people looking
to make their communities better.
The difficulty lies in knowing You don’t have to be a charity,
where to look and how to ask. although it can help as there
are some financial benefits and
there are some philanthropic
Start sources which will only give to
charities. You could always find
a charity that is willing to work
locally with you and hold the funds on
and be imaginative. your behalf. You can also join
forces with other community
groups and launch a joint
Look to other members of your appeal.
community, consider sponsored
events, organise concerts, write You might want to consider
a letter in your local paper or keeping your fundraising targets
even better start a campaign modest in the first instance and
and ask for a column to remember to have complete
update residents. transparency in your financial
arrangements. Make sure that
You don’t have to limit your anyone who wants to know can
efforts to what you can raise find exactly how and why you
from your own community. have spent the funds you have
There are many small local raised. This builds trust and,
Trusts and Foundations, who once you can demonstrate
provide cash to local community success it becomes easier to
groups. Take a look at specialist convince other donors that you
web sites and publications. The are worth backing.
Directory of Social Change is
one of the best known national
sources of information about
fundraising and funding sources,
there are others too.

22
Our vision for safe and active communities

Focus on your end goal and work towards it

The most important things are


energy, perseverance and not taking
no for an answer.
You will Finally, watch this space as
more powers are likely to be
coming your way. The Localism
face challenges, Bill, for example, has a number
of proposals which will put
barriers and knock more power back in your hands.
backs and sometimes These include communities
these will seem being given more time to
impossible to raise funds to buy community
overcome, but if assets, having far more
information about empty land
you keep going and and buildings so you can start
take your neighbours asking questions of landlords,
with you, you will including whether you can use
win through in empty buildings for community
events, and having a much
the end.
greater say in local planning
and development.

Community voices: Staines


The main thing is not to give up, I am a full time mum and
I work full time too … what makes our Neighbourhood
Watch successful is partnership, it’s very important to work
together. The police cannot work without the community.
Crime has gone down dramatically. Reporting crime is the
most important thing. What we have now are community
meetings, we want people to come together, all ages. We get
all together, communicate, report, and listen. People have
the confidence to report now. We had a lot of problems in
the park burnt out cars, drugs, motorbikes … I fought and
fought and fought and now we have CCTV, with support and
persistence we have managed it.

23
Our vision for safe and active communities

Top 10 Tips for Activists

1 Think about developing community spirit (not necessarily fighting crime).


Focus on watching out for each other, rather than just watching out for criminals.
Research shows that stronger communities where neighbours know and look out for
each other have lower levels of crime, so don’t think that you need to be out catching
criminals to make a difference!

2 Start with your street and neighbours.


You don’t need to start with huge plans, just getting your immediate neighbours
involved in a neighbourhood watch scheme or with street pastors/angels for example,
will start to make a difference.

3 Technology can help.


Email, social networking sites, blogs and twitter can all help to create a sense of
community and allow you to keep in touch despite your busy lives. It requires
less technical knowledge than you might imagine but do remember that
not everyone is online.

4 Have a clear purpose: decide what you want to change and get people excited
about that change.
You’ll find it easier to get people motivated and involved if you have a clear and
achievable objective. And remember, once you’re successful, publicise your
achievements before moving onto the next challenge. Everyone loves a winner!

5 Try to get everyone involved.


The wider the range of people you can get to work together the better.
Let young people take some leadership and allow them to feel that they have
a stake in their community. Use technology - but don’t forget the power of face
to face communication.

24
Our vision for safe and active communities

6 Don’t reinvent the wheel.


Look at what local groups already exist and join them. Remember there’s
strength in numbers. Search for good practice on the internet. Learn from
people who are already doing it or have done it and remember to share your
successes with others.

7 Get your Neighbourhood Police and Council working with you.


Go out to their meetings, but also get them along to yours, or agree to have
joint meetings where everyone is present, including statutory and voluntary
sector agencies as well as community representatives. Be clear about the
problems in the area and work together on solving them. Hold each other to
account if they (or you) fail to deliver. Get the agencies to support activists and
to watch out for your safety.

8 Don’t forget about local schools, charities and businesses.


They might just be your greatest source of support and resources. Most banks and
supermarkets for example will have locally focused volunteering and fundraising.
Don’t be shy to approach them with your ideas or to ask them for help.

9 Be imaginative when looking for funding.


There is more around than you might imagine, local charities and trusts are a good
source. Research online and consider teaming up with another group to apply.

10
Don’t give up!
Changes won’t happen overnight, but persevere. Get more and more people
involved, including your councillors and your MP. Remember the bigger you are,
the louder your voice will be. If no one is listening or helping, go higher and use
the local media to highlight your issues.

25
Our vision for safe and active communities

4. Working with your community –


making change happen locally
Encouraging Services have moved closer
to the community in recent
who are able to get active,
and then move beyond simply
more active, self- years, and the activists I’ve
worked with greatly value
responding and consulting, to
working in partnership with an
organised and their Neighbourhood Policing
Teams (NPTs), Street Wardens
active community.

self-regulating and locally based council staff. And let’s not forget the
People like having professionals crucial role that voluntary
communities is, who are permanently based and community sector (VCS)
within their community, who are organisations have to play.
of course, only easily contactable, understand Organisations working with
the local issues and know local victims, for example, will often
half the story. people. But in terms of how be the first point of contact the
services are actually delivered on individual has with anyone other
Agencies also have to be the ground, public involvement than the police and can provide
prepared and willing to work is still limited. crucial support and links to
with their community and back other organisations
them up when needed. For all the talk of ‘community and community groups.
engagement’ over the last And VCS organisations also

My vision decade or so, in practice, it has


tended to mean little more
support offenders and their
families, linking with statutory
than consultation with the agencies locally.
of safer, active community. And activists have
communities told me that far too often this As a senior police officer said,
has felt like a tick box exercise "It is clear that there needs to
is not about cutting with the overall aim of driving be a culture change - on the
costs or leaving through an organisation’s part of communities to realise
communities to ‘do- agenda rather than really that they have a responsibility
it-yourself’ but about understanding and responding to get involved. And on the
getting local people to what the public wants. part of agencies like the police
to let them. This is not about
and agencies working Communities are fed up of the police walking away, and it
together to deliver being ignored or “done to” by is not about the police being
services in genuine agencies. They feel that they community workers either. But
partnership. have the answers to their neighbourhood policing teams
problems and need agencies to can act as a huge catalyst for
listen, support and resolve them. this change; working day in day
And it’s not all about changing out in communities, building up
from top down to bottom up, it’s This chapter will look first their confidence and identifying
about meeting in the middle. at how agencies can do the and supporting those who
groundwork to build strong could be active and brave to
and trusting communities make the first move".

26
Our vision for safe and active communities

Give your community confidence to come forward by getting the basics right

Case Study: Manchester


Four years ago Sale Moor suffered from what the local MP
described as, “a real lack of confidence in policing - crime and
anti-social behaviour was rife,” while the chair of the Community
Partnership described it as a “no-go area.” The Neighbourhood
Police Team (NPT) made long-term plans to improve
community confidence.

The first task was to destroy the culture glamorising criminal


behaviour by some really visible enforcement: relentlessly
targeting criminals, hunting down wanted persons and closing
the pub used by the criminal fraternity.

Once the community was more confident that police were


on the case of the criminals, the NPT could start engaging
with residents to prevent crime: knocking on doors street
by street to find out what people’s concerns were, providing
crime prevention advice on cars and homes, and with partners
working with young people to give them positive activities
which would keep them out of trouble.

By being in the neighbourhood day in, day out, the


neighbourhood policing team got to know the issues affecting
everyone, even the particularly vulnerable who often have no
voice. After becoming aware of unscrupulous door to door
salespeople who were ripping off elderly people in the area,
for example, the NPT organised a joint enforcement action
with Trading Standards officers. The offenders were convicted,
imprisoned and importantly, through asset recovery, the victims
were compensated for their financial losses.

Crime has been cut dramatically and Sale went from being one
of the worst areas in Manchester for confidence in the police
and the local council to one of the best.

27
Our vision for safe and active communities

For the providing quick and effective


action, as well as working to
pay review19 has suggested
that officers be given a small
community to solve longer term problems.
They should proactively visit
financial reward if they stay in
a neighbourhood role for more
even be prepared those suffering from anti-social than three years, and very much
behaviour to make sure they feel hope the government accepts
to step forward protected, and take swift action this recommendation.
to deal with crime by bringing
and take on more the full force of the law to bear Given the success that the best
upon perpetrators. neighbourhood police teams
responsibility, have had, we should consider
At their best, neighbourhood what other elements of the
they need to first policing teams, or better still, criminal justice system might
neighbourhood partnerships be better delivered closer to
be confident have managed to work closely the community, including for
that agencies are with neighbourhoods to turn
even the most crime ridden
example restorative justice and
neighbourhood justice panels.
giving their total areas around. Magistrates are supposed
to be representatives of our
support. The common element in most
success stories is agencies
communities, but how many of
us could name one who lives
building strong and trusting near us?
Unfortunately in some areas, relationships with their
particularly those with high communities. Activists have told One of the most effective
crime rates, trust and faith in me that all too often they lose ways to tackle re-offending
agencies is very low. And fear officers just at the point when can be to work as a community
of anti-social behaviour can be they are really getting to know to rehabilitate offenders back
as debilitating as the anti-social them because staff need to into society.
behaviour itself. It can have a move on or get promoted. I was
really serious impact on people’s therefore delighted to read that
lives. I know that some people the recent independent police
avoid certain areas or streets and
that others dislike walking or
going out at night.

People won’t bother reporting


crime if they think no action
will be taken and they won’t be
prepared to challenge anti-social
behaviour if they think no-one
will back them up. So, agencies
need to be highly visible,

19 Winsor (2011) Independent Review of Police Officers’ and Staff Renumeration and Conditions (www.review.police.uk)

28
Our vision for safe and active communities

In terms of getting the basics them know the outcomes some results] all that energy and
right, agencies also need to be (for example priorities spirit will go”. Think about how
very active in providing swift changed, arrests made or technology might help you to
feedback to the community. eyesores removed). publicise changes to a wider
audience. A number of police
People will only be prepared to This will not only reward those forces for example, use Flickr to
engage if they are confident that who are already involved, it display before and after photos
their concerns will be listened will motivate those who are following community clean
to and acted upon quickly. So, if not. As an activist in Havering ups20 and the new police.uk
you’re asking people to give up explained: “We have got the portal offers a great opportunity
their valuable time, you need to energy, got the spirit and now for local teams to put on
be clear about why and what have the relationships [with information and updates for
difference their involvement services] but if we don’t get their local community.
will make and don’t forget to let things going [demonstrate

Case Study
Twenty year old Amir received a supervision order, jointly handled by the Probation Service and a
community organisation, the Himmat Project. He was allocated a community mentor who he saw
twice a week. Gradually, he became a regular visitor at the Himmat Youth Club, as well as beginning
to attend Friday prayers with some of the volunteers. He joined the Himmat Project community
'Clean-Up' campaigns and by the end of the year, was a volunteer staff member. He has never been
in court again. He said “I realised that frustrations and stress at home were leading me into a life of
spiralling anger and crime. Himmat allowed me to see my responsibility at home … to gain a new
set of friends, and know that there were people who cared what happened to me.”

20 Forces using Flickr include West Yorkshire, Avon and Somerset, Essex and the Met.

29
Our vision for safe and active communities

Provide a service on your community's terms not yours

If communities local people in staff training.


In south London, Southwark Stop
are to build Young Advisers are involved in
training police in approaching expecting
trusting and stopping young people
and are helping to break down
the public to
come to you
relationships with racial tensions. Some police
and get out to where
forces (such as West Yorkshire)
their services, require all newly recruited the public already
officers to do a period in a are: engage in the
then services neighbourhood team and this community’s places, in
helps to ensure that services are
need to be rooted in an understanding of
their language and on
the community. their terms.
available when
their community The methods which some
Neighbourhood Policing Teams
This could mean holding a
drop-in surgery in the café
needs them. still use to interact with the
public also need to change. In
of the local supermarket (as
Matlock Safer Neighbourhood
too many areas, it’s still about Team do); having a ward
It is crazy, for example, that public meetings and formal ‘walk-a-round’ to allow local
many staff whose prime questionnaires. Now, given that residents to point out problems
function is to support and almost anyone with a job and/or (as Hartlepool Council does);
assist the community only work family responsibilities is unlikely putting information out via
standard office hours when to have time to spend several Twitter (as Greater Manchester
most people are busy at work hours in a public meeting, is it Police22 have pioneered) or it
or in education. There needs to any surprise that fewer than 1% could mean using a popular
be flexibility to attend weekend of the general population have local website forum (the local
or evening events as part of the ever been to a beat meeting or a police regularly use MyTunstall.
job. Shops open late and on police organised event? co.uk, for example).
weekends to meet the needs
of their customers –why Some forces have begun to hold Providing a service that meets
shouldn’t services? beat meetings online and this the needs of your community
has increased the number and (rather than the interests of
One way in which agencies diversity of those engaging21, but your organisation) also means
could better understand the agencies need to move not only moving out of your ‘silos’ and
communities’ needs is to involve online but out into the community. starting to work together.

21 For example, a Staffordshire Police “Ask the Commander” online session attracted 63 participants, with the page viewed a further 622
times afterwards. South Yorkshire Police have found that online meetings in Barnsley attract a different type of audience, including
families, disabled people and those who are too intimidated to go to public meetings.
22 In October 2010, Greater Manchester Police tweeted every call for a 24 hour period. By the end of the day over 19,000 people were
following them compared to 3,000 at the start. A significant audience to then put other crime and safety messages out to.

30
Our vision for safe and active communities

The public want to have a single broker how the problem will
conversation with agencies – be dealt with and resolved. The
they don’t distinguish between Government is committed to
a police responsibility, a local rolling out 101, a single national
authority responsibility or a non-emergency number for
housing responsibility. the police by April 2012. This is
a good start but areas need to
think about how they can get all
To the their partners involved (as the
Police and City Council already
community it’s do in Sheffield). We need to
seize this opportunity to create
a problem that a ‘one-call – one stop’ option for
needs sorting the public.

and they don’t Senior staff also need to


be more aware of what’s
care who does happening in local communities.
One way of achieving this,
it as long as it and ensuring it’s a meaningful
ongoing relationship, rather
gets done. than just a PR exercise, would
be to get each senior manager
(from across the Community
It’s unbelievably frustrating to be Safety Partnership) to ‘adopt a
passed between agencies when neighbourhood’. They would
you need help and it makes no assume a championing role for
sense to the community if they safety and service delivery in
are separately consulted on the area and would be a named
exactly the same issues by the point of contact for the public in
police, the local authority and that area.
their social landlord.
I would like to see senior officials
There should be a single who make decisions about
reporting process for the public matters spend at least
public – with agencies working a week with their staff on the
together behind the scenes to frontline each year.

31
Our vision for safe and active communities

Ask your community not only what their problems are but how they should be dealt
with – and include them in the ‘how’

Over the past couple of years, You’ll find that your community In Sutton, the PCSOs
agencies have got much better knows far more about why, systematically carry out in-depth
at asking communities what where and when incidents occur interviews with community
their priorities are, but with the than you do and will come up members, asking them to
removal of central government with innovative ideas to solve identify the anti-social behaviour
directions and targets, there problems that you might never and crime problems that cause
is even more opportunity for have thought of. And you will be them most concern. They often
services to ask the community making use of some incredible uncover more crime than is
not only what their problems assets - your local people and formally reported, but also the
are but how they want agencies your community! community can often tell them
to respond to them, and what the underlying reasons why it is
success looks like. This would happening and how they could
mean frontline staff’s work is Consider what solve it23.
truly driven by the public
they serve. powers you Problem solving can be done
on an ad hoc basis but is best if
Agencies also need to recognise could give to structured around a more formal
that communities not only
understand their own problems
local people. agreement. Neighbourhood
Agreements can be a good way
but have some of the answers of bringing together residents
to them. If speeding is a problem in and services to work as partners.
your area why not let the They outline what standards

Why not
community set the speed people can expect from their
limit. Local highways agencies services (what they will do, who
are supposed to consult on will do it and by when) and what
speed limits, but how well is responsibilities the community
take a specific this advertised? You could then will take on in return. Local
crime or anti-social involve them in enforcing the people who have been involved
behaviour new limit. In Cambridgeshire in drafting Neighbourhood
problem in your area and Devon and Cornwall Agreements say that they feel
volunteers are given speed more of a sense of ownership
and work with them
guns to monitor and catch following the process and
to solve it? people speeding in their often become local champions,
neighbourhoods, passing the encouraging more of their
evidence onto criminal justice neighbours to get involved.
agencies to prosecute and
making their streets safer.

23 http://www.upsi.org.uk/

32
Our vision for safe and active communities

Provide lots of opportunities for the public to take action

As well as getting the public to joining a community litter pick families and the community.
report crime, act as a witness, to make sure the area looks clean You could also increase the
and form community groups and tidy. It could be by helping to opportunities for the public to
such as Neighbourhood Watch dispense justice, as a Magistrate or nominate and vote on what
or a tenants and residents as a youth referral panel member. work is undertaken by offenders
association, agencies should on unpaid work orders.
look at how they could Another good way of involving
encourage and support more the community is restorative The important thing is to
local people to get more directly justice (a process which brings make the public aware of the
involved in the delivery of safety together victims, offenders opportunities – many people
and justice in their area. and community members to don’t get involved because they
decide how to make good the do not know how to. And make
This could be as part of a harm caused by an offender). sure that there are opportunities
street patrol with or without Mentoring low risk offenders to suit everyone. Time is often a
uniformed officers (for example to get them back on the constraint. So think about how
StreetWatch24), by joining up as straight and narrow, or meeting you could get the community
a Special Constable or police offenders at the prison gate and to do very small things like re-
volunteer. It could be putting helping them integrate back into tweeting crime prevention advice,
on sporting or cultural activities society, can stop the revolving or providing bulbs so they can
for young people to keep them door of re-offending which is plant flowers outside their house
from hanging out in the street or so costly to the individual, their to make the street look nice.

Case Study: Worcester and Norfolk


The West Mercia Probation Trust has developed a strong
partnership with the local authority to nominate community
payback schemes, whereby offenders are punished in such a
way as to benefit the community. One such project saw a team
of offenders clearing a private road which had been used for
drug taking. There is real potential for this approach to be taken
wider across the country.

Over in Norfolk, Community panels take the lead on making


sure offenders repair the harm that they have caused in their
neighbourhoods. This does not just mean picking from a list of
options for reparation that the police provide. Local people are
taking real ownership of the issue, identifying potential projects
and running the whole process, increasingly independently
from the police. From refurbishing the war memorial to beach
cleaning, offenders are making good their debt in ways that
really mean something to the community affected.

24 http://www.street-watch.org.uk/

33
Our vision for safe and active communities

Give frontline staff discretion to take decisions


Photography: Peabody Trust

Staff working Managers need to empower


their staff to take decisions. The
directly with presumption should be that the
frontline takes a decision and if
communities they choose to refer it up, then
they must justify why.
must be given
Lack of discretion can also stop
more discretion agencies working together,
as staff at local level often do
to make decisions not have the power to decide
to quickly share information,
and take work resources and budgets across
agencies. Again this simply
forward. slows down the process and
stifles innovation. It is of no
Risk aversion within our public value to the community if these
services means that junior staff types of decisions need to be
refer almost all decisions back passed up to a Community
up through their hierarchy. Just Safety Partnership which only
as communities get frustrated meets quarterly.
when they are passed from
agency to agency, they are
also put off by the constant
“we’ll come back to you” refrain,
and lose faith in the process as
change is so slow.

34
Our vision for safe and active communities

Devolve power and budgets

Historically, public agencies I would propose the following The process must be simple,
‘owned’ all the resources and clear principles to be followed. transparent, with enough time to
the public had no say in how give everyone an equal chance in
money was spent. Anything to do with money bidding, and widely advertised to
must be absolutely transparent allow for the widest participation
and uncomplicated. from all groups in the community.
This is beginning
Budgets should be pooled at I know that public influence
to change with the most local (neighbourhood) over budgets worries many
level and be attached to results agency staff, but the public are
the introduction and not to individual agencies. not stupid.
of a number of So it’s not police money, or local
authority money, but money
different new to solve a problem. Give us proper
budgetary Agencies should consider information on
putting their available budget
techniques, into this pool, and not just a which to base
but just the variety and names
small proportion of their budget
as is currently the case in some
our decisions,
of these can be enough in
itself to put the community
models. Efforts should also be
made to get others such as local
with necessary
off - community budgets,
place-based budgets, small
businesses to contribute. protections for
area budgets, neighbourhood Money from the shared pool some vulnerable
budgets, participatory should be allocated to agencies
budgeting and Local Integrated and community groups groups, and why
Services to name just a few! depending on what they can
bring to the table to solve the shouldn’t we
We need identified problem. There must
be an independent adjudicator help decide how
to decide who will do this to
to keep it stop agencies arguing for their money that we
much simpler own service. And who is better
have provided in
than the public?
if we want to get the
public involved taxes is spent?

35
Our vision for safe and active communities

Nurture your community and give them the skills to lead

Changing the role of more easily available to small Look at your


communities from being users groups. Look at how application
of services to being ‘equal processes can be simplified and bureaucracy and
partners’ - engaged in design offer help to people making
and delivery - is not something funding applications. Could you what could be
that will just happen overnight complete the paperwork with or
or by itself. for them? removed, reduced
Communities And it’s not just about funding. or simplified.
Red tape at all levels can make
life difficult for activists and Could you waive charges for street
will need sap their energy. An activist and park parties for example?
your support to grow. wanting to organise a street Or extend your public liability
party for example is faced with insurance to cover small events
a whole plethora of separate being put on by communities?
requirements, regulations and
Don’t make assumptions applications, including health Help communities to negotiate
about what support is needed and safety, music licensing and the red tape that remains. Draw up
- individuals are all different, road closure applications. It can a “quick checklist” for communities
so ask them what help they be very daunting and how do who wish to put on events and
need to get involved or more you know where to start or even talk them through what they
involved. Some people might if it’s worth trying? need to do, don’t just send them
want you to spend time paperwork or links to websites.
with them before a meeting Agencies should take on
explaining the process so they responsibility for knocking down Frontline staff also have an
are confident to attend and those barriers. important role in nurturing
speak up, or perhaps it activists within their communities.
might be assistance with
navigating their way round
governmental bureaucracy.

I know that small amounts


of funding can make a big
difference for some volunteer-
Photography: Peabody Trust

based activities and a little


injection of cash can often
get things off the ground. But
accessing funding can be a
complicated and frustrating
process. Ask communities
what would help them to
access funding and think about
how you can make funding

36
Our vision for safe and active communities

In Havering
Members of the newly established residents group each have a
‘buddy’ in the professional agencies (including a local Inspector,
a council ASB coordinator, the Street Scene coordinator) who
they can call upon for support and advice and who will assist
them in navigating services.

Find, inspire and self governing. In a similar


way to Jamie Oliver’s ‘pass it
support those on’ cookery classes, agencies
can give skills to community
community leaders and then ask them
to share these more widely.
members with For example invest in conflict
resolution training for a number
influence in your of activists and ask them to
train the community. Conflict
local area. resolution training can also
be acquired free from local
And be aware they aren’t education services and from
necessarily the people your local police force. Or
who currently attend your rather than services organising
community meetings! events to which they invite the
community, why not support
We all know that sometimes a local community group to
we need a little push to do organise the event and transfer
something, or for someone to the budget you would have
hold our hand the first time we used to them? Or could you
do it. Put yourself at the think about diverting some of
communities’ disposal! your agency’s IT resources to
training community members
Activists not only enthuse and to give them the skills to set up
inspire others to get involved, and run their own hyperlocal
but can pass on their skills and site rather than creating your
knowledge and so enable the own forum?
community to become more

37
Our vision for safe and active communities

Value and reward the contribution the community makes

The activists that I have been follow the example. Think creatively
working with said that personal
incentives motivated people to You should also make sure that about how you
get involved. any costs incurred by volunteers,
such as transport or childcare, could reward and
are covered as this can make the
It is really difference in allowing someone thank those who
to take on a community role.
important that get involved,
Training, accreditation and the but without putting a cash value
people who chance to acquire and use new on their contribution which can
give their time skills can also be a big incentive,
particularly for young people,
‘rub against’ people’s reasons for
wanting to get involved. ‘Time
and energy are those who are unemployed or
those who are retraining for a
bank’ type schemes are popping
up across the country, where
valued for the new career. volunteers ‘bank’ their time and
receive council tax rebates,
work they do. free access to public amenities,
vouchers from local businesses,
or credits that can be exchanged
After all, if they did not do it, on a peer to peer basis.
services would often have to
pay someone else to do it, or For example Spice Community
put even more resources into Credits in South Wales rewards
sorting out the consequences if people who contribute to
they didn’t do it. their community and public
services with credits which can
This can be as simple as be redeemed for trips, events
saying ‘thank you’ or publicly and at local leisure, sporting
recognising and championing and recreational services and
their achievements, for has been very successful in
example through a local awards increasing the participation of
ceremony or an article in the
local paper. This costs nothing How community members in public
services. The Royal Borough
and can really encourage local of Windsor and Maidenhead
people to continue and for are you advertising are now developing a similar
others to get involved too. these benefits? scheme to encourage people
to provide informal low level
Portraying volunteering
Have you linked care for those around them in
and challenging anti-social in with your local exchange for time credits that
behaviour as the social norm schools, colleges and can be used to access incentives
in a community is a powerful Job Centres? or exchanged between peers as
way of getting others to a time based currency.

38
Our vision for safe and active communities

Create financial incentives to genuine partnership working by allowing services and the
community to keep the savings.

Throughout the course of my Some of it could be given back I do realise that it is not
work, people have started to to the community for them straightforward to identify
suggest more innovative ways to decide on how the money savings or extract them from the
of providing financial incentives should be reinvested in crime system, so perhaps a nominal
to communities. This isn’t prevention. The community financial reward might be a first
about making funding easier could draw up and agree a step. Obviously this will need
to access but it’s about giving shortlist and vote on what further exploration by agencies
the community a much greater preventative activities this and central government.
stake in local services, and an money might be spent on.
incentive to getting involved.

I’m not talking about paying


people to volunteer but
I have some suggestions as to
I am thinking about how how this might work:
communities might be
“rewarded” where action
they have taken has made a zz Community Reward - where information provided
real difference to the safety collectively by the community (rather than by an
of their community. Think individual) leads to a conviction, the community is given a
of this as a community re- reward and can decide what preventative activities this is
investment model. So, just as in spent on
a business partnership model,
zz ‘Bling-back’ - where the community provides information
staff who have contributed
which leads to conviction and seizure of assets of drug
to the company’s success, are
dealers and other criminals. Some of the money made
rewarded with a share of the
from the sale of assets is given directly to the community
profits, so if the actions of an
to spend on preventative activities
active community contributes
towards reducing crime and zz Community Re-investment - if the community and
disorder and/or reducing partners succeed in reducing crime and anti-social
demands on statutory agencies, behaviour (as measured by the local crime maps) they
they should also see a benefit in are able to retain savings made for re-investment in the
their neighbourhood from the community. Alternatively, the 5 neighbourhoods in a
savings made. Police Force area which reduce crime by the greatest
amount, could be given a reward.

zz ‘Turnaround’ – a reward for the community if their action


has helped turn someone away from crime, for example by
intensively mentoring a young person or supporting the
successful rehabilitation of an ex-prisoner.

39
Our vision for safe and active communities

Top tips to make change happen locally

1 Give your community the confidence to come forward by getting the basics right.
Local people need to have faith and trust before they will be prepared to work with
agencies. The public need to know that you are on their side. Be very visible in the
community, respond quickly and effectively to problems, proactively visit those who are
suffering anti-social behaviour and provide protection by bringing perpetrators to justice.

2 Provide a service on their terms not yours.


Go out to where the community are and be available when they need you and not
just during office hours. Keep staff in place for long enough that they get to know and
understand the community and involve local people in training staff. Recognise and
value your staff who do go that extra mile for the community.

3 Ask your community not only what their problems are but how they should be dealt
with – and include them in the ‘how’.
Involve the public in defining and resolving problems. They know more about what
goes on in their community than you do. Use problem solving techniques to make the
community part of the solution and think about neighbourhood agreements as a way
of cementing a partnership between your teams and local people.

4 Provide lots of opportunities for the public to take action.


Consider how you can get more people directly involved in delivering justice, such as
through joint patrols, expanding use of restorative justice and deciding what work is
done by offenders on criminal orders.

5 Give frontline staff discretion to take decisions.


Empower staff across all agencies to solve problems by sharing information and
resources. Give them discretion to take action there and then, not pass it up to the
Community Safety Partnership. Allow staff to challenge risk averse cultures.

40
Our vision for safe and active communities

6 Devolve power and budgets.


Break-down budget barriers between organisations and ensure money is attached
to outcomes. Think about how you can give the public real power over how this is
spent, and transparency on how you do this.

7 Nurture your community and give them the skills to lead.


The community will bring skills and insights your staff won’t have, but equally your
staff can pass on skills and support to the community. Allow residents to become
a real partner in the change process. Help make change sustainable locally by
supporting the community to lead.

8 Value and reward the contribution the community can makes


People will get involved when they see it can make a difference, but think
about how you can incentivise them. Are there benefits you can offer from your
wider services, such as leisure services. How are the community rewarded and
celebrated when they get involved?

9 Create financial incentives for genuine partnership working by allowing


services and the community to keep the savings.
Consider a community re-investment model. If an active community contributes
towards reducing crime, catching criminals or rehabilitating offenders, reward
them and allow them to decide how to spend this money on crime prevention.

41
Our vision for safe and active communities

5. Letting communities lead - what and


how central government need to change

The Government
has made it clear that its role is no longer to direct, but to devolve power down to
the most local level, and to give local people, rather than Whitehall, responsibility
for holding agencies to account for delivery.

For example, in the criminal justice sphere, from May 2012 all Police
Chiefs will be answerable to a directly elected Police and Crime
Commissioner (PCC), rather than having to meet performance criteria
set by the Home Office.

The first test of government Strip back the bureaucracy

will be whether they are An overly cautious interpretation


of legislation or guidance by
prepared to let go in practice. local agencies has led to a risk-
averse culture where peoples’
first instinct is often to say no
Restoring discretion to And if power is devolved rather than yes and to ‘cover
frontline professionals, allowing downwards, then what role their backs’, rather than support
communities to shape the does central government have the community to innovate. This
services they need, and in promoting and supporting can stop activism in its tracks,
liberating organisations from community activism? as many ideas get snuffed out
the grip of performance targets in their infancy, destroying the
and measures will mean that enthusiasm of individuals
areas take radically different and communities.
approaches. There will be risks
and there may be failures, and I’ve worked with
will government be prepared to neighbourhoods who’ve been
stand back and let that happen? prevented by the council from
doing something as simple as
putting up football goalposts for
“health and safety” reasons. This
has to stop. The Localism Bill will
give Local Authorities a General

42
Our vision for safe and active communities

Power of Competence. This will This would give the public already uncovered some of
give councils the power to do powerful information to cut these through their ‘Vanguard
anything that is not explicitly through any overly cautious Areas’ and their website
forbidden in law. agencies standing in their (www. barrierbusting.
way and would knock down communities.gov.uk)
It’s a very welcome step, which one of the main barriers to and I would like to see this
sends the right message to activism that people have work expanded.
council workers with ‘can do’ raised on my visits.
attitudes, but why not extend it Even more ambitiously,
to all members of the public? In the previous chapter I looked could communities be given
at the many bureaucratic the ability to seek to ‘overturn’
barriers faced by activists who national or local rules and
I suggest that want to do something as simple regulations if they accept
as organise a community event. some of the responsibility
the government These include health and safety themselves? And if they
(if preparing food), licensing (if can’t to ask ‘why not’?
introduces a music is involved), road closures
General Power and safety requirements.
And I made recommendations
of Competence to local agencies about
simplifying requirements and
for local residents negotiating processes on
behalf of the community.
backed up by
Additionally, I would like
clear guidelines government to consider
whether there is anything
and a free in legislation or central
government guidance that
helpline that prevents simplification? For
example that might prevent
people could portability of agency insurance
call to find out to community groups, that
would stop councils waiving
whether their fees or regulation in certain
cases, or that prevents
idea contravenes information sharing. The
Department of Communities
any rules. and Local Government have

43
Our vision for safe and active communities

Support innovation by setting up an information sharing hub and getting civil servants
out there

Whilst innovation and difference enable areas to explain how they Civil servants have many skills -
is to be welcomed, it would be have overcome problems and including administration, project
hugely wasteful if every area out encourage the sharing of ideas management, policy making, a
there was simply re-inventing through a discussion forum. The knowledge of funding processes
the wheel. emphasis would be on enabling and an understanding of how to
peer-to-peer discussion and navigate bureaucracies. These
We need support, with content provided
by activists and practitioners and
could be extremely useful to
community groups.
rather than government. Creating
to find more a ‘home’ in this way for activism Some government
efficient means would both make it much easier departments, such as the
of sharing best for people to access information Home Office, offer employees
practice and help to generate a sense of a up to five days paid leave for
national community of activists. community work, but some
and allowing areas departments offer significantly
to learn from and This hub should not be less and take up rates are low.
support each other, government managed or This needs to change. With
rather than looking branded as this might put activists 116,000 civil servants working
off. Government could support it in the three criminal justice
to government for
by running an award for activists, departments25 alone, over
direction. possibly exploring private sector half a million days could be
funding. The hub would need to made available to charities and
So, without duplicating what is be easy to find via Home Office, community groups.
already out there, I would like Police and Community web sites.
to see a central information I very much welcome the
hub for activists. This could I would also like recently announced cross civil
provide information and service volunteering initiative26
guidance, including “how-to” government to and am delighted to hear that
kits allowing anyone with an hundreds of thousands of
interest to get started, links to consider how professionals will be encouraged
useful organisations (such as the
national young volunteers service
more of its staff to volunteer at least one day a
year. I am particularly pleased
www.vinspired.com) and a
mapping device to enable them
resources might to see that senior civil servants
will be expected to champion
to find their nearest community
group. Many activists have told
be put at the and encourage volunteering.
That sort of proactive
me how difficult it is to find out disposal of the encouragement is exactly
and share information. This hub what is needed.
could showcase what works, local community.
25 Home Office, Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office
26 www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/professionals-join-big-society-volunteer-drive

44
Our vision for safe and active communities

But what many communities beyond "X days", to offer must also extend to small
and voluntary sector think creatively, to be community groups. I am pleased
organisations want is sustained responsive to requests and that some businesses are already
volunteering, for example a few to allow and enable the supporting the plan and urge
hours every week or month, flexibility that this requires. the Government to get more
or sustained activity over a set businesses on board, leading by
period where civil servants It's great to see that under the example and challenging others
can regularly input skills which new initiative charities will be to do likewise.
groups do not have. I would able to request specific help
urge government to think when it is needed, but that

Give the public the power of information

The public need timely, The government is already Government should also
accurate and highly localised working with some forces to see explore how “real time” crime
information on crime and how they might develop crime reports and local intelligence
anti-social behaviour if they maps further, for example by data might be more easily
are going to be able to hold allowing victims to track online shared. A number of non-
agencies to account. what has happened to their governmental websites such
crime report. Two ‘trailblazer’ as www.citizensreportuk.org,
areas27 are also testing the www.themissinglist.co.uk
Since January feasibility of adding information and www.fixmystreet.com
on justice outcomes (ie. whether already allow members of the
official anyone has been caught and public to self-report crime and
prosecuted; and details of any environmental problems and
information on sentence). I would like giving for others to share that
crimes reported the public access to outcomes
information to be prioritised,
information in real time.
These sites make reporting
to the police has so that members of the public
in all areas are able to judge
transparent to the wider
community and could be
been available at the effectiveness of the whole
criminal justice system and
used to pressure the services
into taking speedy action
street level detail also their Police and Crime (or explain why they haven’t).
Commissioner once they
at www.police.uk are in post.

27 Lincolnshire and West Yorkshire

45
Our vision for safe and active communities

Make it easier for the community to access funding

This report has highlighted lots direct control over and with conditions attached to current
of examples of people making the drive towards localism funding could be unravelled and
their neighbourhoods safer and this is likely to be even more simplified to ensure maximum
cleaner places to be. the case in the future. Putting value and return on the funds/
control back in the hands of money received. A starting point

Many local partners doesn’t prevent


Government from setting a
would be to remove restrictions
where money provided in one
vision for what it expects to financial year has to be spent in
got started happen and having strong that year, even if the community
without funding relationships with local agencies. activity it has been planned and
I would like Government to ask earmarked for continues into
and aren’t waiting
Police and Crime Commissioners the next year or beyond.
for funding to keep to commit to making a small
going but are working proportion, say 1%, of their Government can also have a
creatively and budget directly available to very constructive relationship
dynamically with the community groups to use or with the private sector. I will
have a say on. touch on this only briefly as
money they have and it is slightly outside the remit
are raising themselves. Where money is made available of this report, but I would
it is essential that it is easy to encourage the government to
access and manage and that consider what additional tax
But access to resources (both it does not act as a burden for incentives could be introduced
financial and in-kind) remains those receiving it. The amount to encourage businesses to
an issue for most community of time spent going through support local activism. In many
groups, at some point. a bidding process, developing of the areas I’ve been working
detailed spending plans and with, major local employers
I recognise that most funding undergoing evaluation can leave had significant corporate social
for community groups comes little energy and time to get any responsibility programmes,
from local agencies, charities, real work done. Government but this did not always impact
trust funds and companies should look at how bureaucracy in a significant way on the
which the Government has no could be cut and how immediate local community.

Shine a light and celebrate success

And finally, In the same way as local


agencies have to reward and
inspire those who want to
get involved and say to the
government has recognise activists, so too does
national government. Ministers
rest of the country "in Britain,
taking part is what we do".
to say thank you. have an important role in
highlighting success, visiting
Changing a culture is about
championing those who say ‘I
projects and publicly praising will’. Peer pressure can be a
local activists. This will motivate good thing and everyone
those who are already active, wants to be the best.

46
Our vision for safe and active communities

Leading by example – what central Government needs to do

1 Stop stifling communities by cutting bureaucracy and red tape.


Government is already cutting bureaucracy and red tape. This needs to be not just
about cutting it for professionals – but more importantly for communities. Give
communities the power to make change happen – with powers of competence
extended to the public not just local authorities.

2 Support innovation by setting up an information sharing hub and getting civil


servants out there.
Communities will often know what works and what needs to happen better than
Whitehall. But, learning needs to be shared across areas. Support the development
of a hub with a community award. Provide an ‘offer’ to communities of civil servants,
on their terms and to help them.

3 Give the public the power of information.


Often Government has monopolised information on how services are doing –
but it’s the public who can make change happen locally. The public need timely,
accurate and highly localised information on crime and anti-social behaviour.

4 Make it easier for the community to access funding.


Unravel and simplify some of the daunting and overly complex financial rules for
community groups. Set an expectation that PCCs will make a proportion of their
budget directly available to community groups to use or have a say on, and work
with businesses and the private sector to encourage corporate social responsibility –
however big or small - to work for neighbourhoods.

5 Shine a light and celebrate success.


Say ‘thank you’ to those who are making a difference and champion those who say ‘I will’.

47
Our vision for safe and active communities

Annex
Case Studies from the 7 neighbourhoods
Introduction

Over the past six months, some are just starting. The one servants, given a small amount
Baroness Newlove has been thing they have in common of funding to get things going
working with activists in seven is they have passion about and came together for the day
neighbourhoods across England their local area and want to do in London where they could
and Wales. They are all taking a something to make it better. meet and motivate each other
different approach to tackling and share their experiences.
their very different crime and Working with Baroness Newlove
anti-social behaviour problems, has encouraged them to keep Here are their inspiring stories,
and they are at different stages going or inspired them into in their own words.
of their journeys. Some have action. They have received
been doing this for years and support from Home Office civil

Jan Palmer, Merthyr Tydfil


I’m Jan Palmer and I’ve lived though the MENCAP society and
in Twyn, Merthyr Tydfil for I might have different aims, we
42 years. I’m passionate both have the same problem –
about my community and creating a lively and welcoming
improving it for everyone that place for people to meet – and
lives here. therefore we should work
together as a team. I’ve also found that people
When I first became involved such as Councillors, who
in the community, I started I identified the possibility I thought would help me,
a residents group called of using the building and are sometimes obstructive
The Action Group and later approached the owners. They and consequently it can
a Neighbourhood Watch gave me permission to use be difficult to find the right
Group for my area. I’m now the building but I’ve come up person to speak to, to get the
the co-ordinator for 5 streets against a number of barriers that answers I need.
on my estate and have, and have prevented me from going
will continue to, successfully ahead with running the groups Despite these barriers, I’ve
improve many aspects of in this building. continued to work tirelessly
community life in my area. to improve the quality of
The problems I’ve faced with life for the residents in my
Most recently I’ve been trying this particular project are similar community. Last year I was
to get access to a building, to problems that I’ve had with recognised by the South
owned by MENCAP Society, many of the projects that I’ve Wales Police Authority
to provide a venue for tried to do. The barriers are who gave me an award for
community groups such as things such as applying for Volunteer of the Year and
Mother and Toddler Groups insurance, finding the funding an Award for Volunteer of
and Youth Groups, as there is for insurance, getting guidance the Year for the Borough of
a lack of community facilities on completing paperwork and Merthyr Tydfil for my work on
in the area. I realised that even finding the necessary forms. ASB and underage drinking.

48
Our vision for safe and active communities

Ann Mcgovern, Shepway


My name is Ann McGovern have started a gardening group,
and I am from East Folkestone we will be encouraging houses
in the South East. Over the to grow vegetables this summer.
last six weeks since Baroness The older generation is going to
Newlove first visited us we help us young ones.
have made lots of progress.
Helen was highly impressed More people are getting A useful learning tool I
with various projects in involved which makes me took away from my visit to
action and then we held a positive about our plans for the London was how to use social
meaningful and productive future. We had 19 people turn networking; from this I have
meeting with a number of up to our meeting on Tuesday started a Tyson road group on
community leaders. We have 8 March and we are getting the Facebook which we will use
been busy chasing highways youth involved by getting them for people who live here now
for our grit bin and it is going to do a dance performance at and to get others who used
to be fitted to the ground in the street party. With some of to live in the street involved.
3 weeks. We are in the middle the money from our work with We will advertise all events
of organising a street party for Baroness Newlove, we will be people are having over the
Sunday 14 August. Paperwork holding an anti-graffiti course coming year. Anyone with
has been made easier and and getting residents trained on pictures from over the years
we are getting help from how to use the chemicals and can post them on the page
the council. equipment to remove it, saving and hopefully build this in
time in the long run. Some to a great site. I am excited
This extra boost of activity money is going towards the at the challenge ahead and
means that we are expanding street party so no one is seeing some good results,
work that we started out of pocket, and some to a please feel free to join
previously. Last winter we project to tackle issues with the our Tyson Road Group on
got every house in Tyson migrant population after we Facebook to support us and
Road garden bulbs to plant hit the headlines in January. track our progress over the
and we are seeing some We are also looking in to coming months!
nice flowers coming up. We 20mph signs for the street and
are now working with the holding a clean up day before
neighbouring street and we the street party.

49
Our vision for safe and active communities

Ian Levy and Father Rob Wickam,


The Parish of St Johns-at-Hackney
I’m Ian Levy and I’ve lived in thirteenth century: it served
Hackney since 1987. On the the local population then, and
16th September 2004, my son it does so today. With all the
Robert Antonio Levy (16) was challenges in Hackney, the
murdered by a 15-year-old church must try to tackle what
schoolboy as he was trying to is preventing our communities, zz mentoring programmes in
prevent a fight. He was a bright particularly the young, living schools,
young man who had his whole fulfilling lives. zz summer projects,
life ahead of him, and a desire zz education and training
to fulfil all of his dreams and The church stands at the apprenticeships,
ambitions. His life was taken crossroads of three postcodes; zz work placements, and
by another youth who felt the continual trouble between rival zz youth campaigns.
need to carry a knife, without gangs has meant I have had to
thinking of the consequences. bury several teenagers, often But now we want to ‘step up a
complete innocents caught up gear’ – or two.
My family established the in this violence, and support
Robert Levy Foundation to their families through these We are ambitious! We would
promote activity centred distressing bereavements. So like to set up a Hackney youth
around the core principles much of what is happening radio station but know that it
of education and a good to our young people and their will take time and resources.
united community All young families can be stopped, but we We also want to increase
people have the absolute all need to contribute, and we all the opportunities for young
right to be protected, but the need to work together. We must people to participate in drama
responsibilities that accompany learn from our mistakes and and arts through working
this right must be made clear build on our successes. with Chickenshed Theatre.
to them through education
and our communities. The Our Parish – Our Plans We know that many of
need to provide real life our projects are about
changing opportunities cannot We are working together with young people expressing
be overstated and if we are to other organisations (London themselves, having fun, and
change the mindset of those Citizens CitySafe, Campaign, engaging with each other,
who walk the criminal path a Word4Weapons, Chickenshed but they are also based in the
real viable alternative has to Theatre) and individuals to ‘real world’ of their lives, and
be available support greater community therefore at the heart of all
activism against this terrible our projects will be education,
I’m Father Rob Wickam, I have violence. We have had successes training, work, and the
been the Rector of St Johns- over the years in creating creation of opportunities to
at-Hackney Parish Church for opportunities for young people live their lives constructively
four years. There has been a at risk of becoming involved in, and with responsibility to
church on this site since the or a victim of, violence, through their community.

50
Our vision for safe and active communities

Win Gleed, Havering


I am Win Gleed from BRAG into operation a request we
– the Briar Residents Action made that the road sweepers
Group – and we started to clear up immediately after the
get together and take action bags of refuse are collected to
because there is so much avoid rubbish falling out of the
rubbish left lying around on bags and being left to be
the estate even after rubbish kicked around.
collectors have been and more connections with the
escalating problem with drugs. We have also formed a good youth that live on the estate
relationship with HAVCO – our and we intend to have an
The first step was to set up local organisation who supports intergenerational event with
a residents group of people the voluntary and community the young and the elderly
who feel the same as I do sector. They are supporting us to having competitions. Even
and want to make the area a take out liability insurance so we the wardens have said they
better place to live. can organise events, apply for will have a team competing!
Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) In May the Generation team
The second step was for us checks so the team can work from Havering Council are
to buddy up with services with young people and the also having an event in the
so we have a direct way in vulnerable and apply for courses Betty Strathern to help get
and can be more effective at for all who wish to take up a the disabled and elderly out
getting things done. We have position and further their CV’s to meet our group.
met with Homes in Havering, or career.
Havering Council, Streetcare, We have made good friends
Police and shop-keepers on In our neighbourhood we’ve on facebook with other
a regular weekly basis. BRAG wanted to build a sense of activists all over the country
members have made buddies community and get more who we met at the London
with top management in all people involved. We’ve reached workshop. We are making
the servicing departments out to young people by creating plans to see some of them in
including my own with a facebook page and keep in April to renew our friendship
Inspector Phil Morgan. The contact with local people who and talk about ours and
residents are also making use the net, but we shall soon åtheir progress.
buddies with local councillors. have a web page with a logo.
This has made it easier The children in a local school are There has been some interest
to start developing our having a competition to design from the factory units and big
Neighbourhood Agreement, the logo and we shall have it on companies that are on the
where we all – agencies and letter headings tea shirts etc. estate with a view to make
residents – note down what donations to the group. B & Q
we can all contribute to We’ve also wanted to bring have already donated plants
keeping our area safe. groups of people together. for some of the flat gardens.
At a really successful recent
And it has worked! For meeting at the Betty Strathern So far the future looks good.
example, Streetcare have put Community Centre, we made

51
Our vision for safe and active communities

Rheta Davison, Cutsyke


I’m Rheta and I’m part of the a downstairs flat on the worst skills can lead to jobs
Cutsyke Community Group. road in Cutsyke and looked for that pay money and help
Cutsyke is a small village help from the community to them accordingly.
with many homes owned run a kids club. We then had the
by the local council. It was chance to get the flat upstairs We could not get the youth
a community cut in two by which we also successfully service involved in helping
a main road which resulted applied for funding and leased. with the older kids so I set
in the two half’s of Cutsyke This became our computer suite up a group called Youth 61.
(mainly the young people) fitted out for the homework club This group had their own
not mixing. Many of the and to help the older residents management structure and
residents were born in the learn about computers. held meetings and by doing
village and they were proud this it encouraged other
to be born in Cutsyke but this When I first joined the group I young people to come on
was going to change. went to loads of meetings, met board. Being part of this gave
loads of people and learnt from them a sense of responsibility
The group was set up in 2000 them. But most of the time as well as diverting them from
by a group of people who workers from the council and crime and antisocial behaviour.
thought that the council were agencies looked down on you I would showcase their
going to turn two houses into and did not help in any way. It achievements every where I
one for a large family. They was “you get what we say” but went and how they made a
had seen their village torn that didn’t wash with me so I positive contribution to their
apart by the large industries challenged them every chance I local area. In one sense it was
closing leaving many families could but I also learnt along the showing them how they could
without work. Empty houses way and could talk their lingo, I be part of the local democratic
did not bring in revenue for think the biggest challenge was process. We also knew by
the council and so larger gaining their respect. getting younger children
families were brought in who doing positive activities in the
often caused problems. The trouble with some young drop-in for the arts and crafts
people is that because they we could not only give them
The housing issue proved haven’t lived within a household skills but instil into them the
to be nothing but a rumour with a parent in full time idea that some rules are there
so the group considered the employment they think that to help them. Equally, getting
other problems mainly drugs living off the state is the right the older members of our
petty crime and anti-social- way. We need to break this cycle community involved with the
behaviour. Sometimes it was and one way is to work with the youngsters working side by
like hitting your head against young people from an early age. side at the drop-in shows the
a brick wall the resources While not all young people have elderly that these kids treat
wasn’t there to help us so we the potential to get good grades them with respect and the fear
had to help ourselves. I knew at everything, they might have of crime goes down.
from having my children that potential in other areas such as
you had to keep the young gardening and cooking etc. We Working with Baroness
people occupied so we leased need to show them that these Newlove has given us a new

52
Our vision for safe and active communities

lease of life. We have been


shopping and painting -
giving the drop-in a new look.
The funding has enabled
us to hold courses from the
drop-in for members of our
community giving them
the chance to get some a voluntary activist. Some
qualifications and hopefully workers will look down on
on the road to work. We also you and try and make you
are targeting young mums, trip up in many ways. But you
offering them some training have to confront someone
courses so they are confident (a councillor or council
and more aware of the help officer) make sure you have
that is out there for them. all the relevant information
with you so you can backup
My advice to other groups your argument the internet
is be dogmatic if you are can help you gain that
passionate about your area information.
then you will succeed but
you have to keep punching Don’t ever give up if it’s worth
away at bureaucratic jargon fighting for then fight for it.
and the stigma of being

53
Our vision for safe and active communities

Hayley Bell, Offerton


I’m Hayley and I’ve lived in Through the work with to 8 gorgeous children. And
Offerton for 12 years. Eighteen Baroness Newlove, we are doing if that’s not enough I’m often
months ago the estate was a number of things: nurse especially to my 12 yr
struggling with anti-social old daughter Georgia who has
behaviour, low sense of zz Improving communications chronic lung disease she has
community and very little on the Estate with the What's been in and out of hospital
space for us to meet. There On Offerton!!! face book since she was 3 weeks old.
were some things going on page, the newsletter update Like any family we have
for children on the Estate, but and communications week had our struggles especially
nothing that suited all my which brought in some around money, particularly
children's age groups. 'shock tactics' to encourage with changes to the benefits
behaviour change system. Throughout February
So I got involved because I zz Encouraging residents everything was so busy with
heard about the opportunity to ask themselves if the community projects and
to get community funding environment and anti-social it was really hard to juggle
through You Say We Pay. behaviour is acceptable, that with Georgia being in
Louise Brown and I set up and if not what can be hospital and also support
Offerton Mum's Group and done. This will result in a my family on £50 per week
organised two free fundays Neighbourhood Agreement hardship payments. But out
during the summer holidays. which will show that the of all that I saw something
Hundreds of people came responsibility for this is I hadn’t before, I saw how
and enjoyed the events. shared between services people living around me, my
Families could come all and the community to make neighbours my friends all
together, there aren't many improvements, in particular helped. My best friend Lou
opportunities for that. The around dog mess, litter and invited all 10 of us to hers for
events provided activities, general upkeep of the estate. meals. A lady down the road
entertainment, food and zz Encouraging more people brought a bag of food around
information on services for to get involved through You and slipped me £5. She didn’t
residents. Say We Pay, hoping for new have a lot of money but that
energy and new ideas which never stopped her sharing. My
The place still needs a lot of can be brought together 84yr old neighbor came and
attention but through the through Friends of Offerton paid my phone bill. People
energy of some of the locals residents group. cared. I care and that is what
and staff from some of the inspires me to do what I do.
services and You Say We Community activism does
Pay, anti-social behaviour is take time and energy but it I have enjoyed the energy the
down by 40% and things feel also shows how communities Newlove project has created,
better. There are still incidents can give back to each other. all the services coming
though and we need to come I am now joint chair of the together responding to the
together to tackle it - we Friends of Offerton group as call to action has been good.
shouldn't stand for it. well as treasurer. But first and I just wish more members
foremost I’m a wife and a mum of the community would

54
Our vision for safe and active communities

respond... but we will keep


working at it.

The opportunity to go to
London to the Newlove
workshop brought lots of
learning (not just about how
the Tube works!) around community are held to
communications - now going account if they don't keep
to get support with our their side of the bargain
website; and also meeting zz Keep connecting with
others and learning how others through different
others do things. I gained ways, for example theatre
confidence from realising that workshops with local
others could learn lots from youths around issues such
us too. I made good contacts as anti-social behavior,
especially with Havering, we bullying and domestic
have kept in touch and will violence.
support each other during zz Plan and deliver my
and beyond the rest of the summer event - a massive
project. summer communities
together party.
So what next?
Things are changing,
zz Develop the facebook Offerton is starting to get
page and potential more connected. The only
website into something way we can be a strong,
people automatically resilient community is if we
turn to for fast, reliable are connected. We now need
information. more individuals coming
zz Take forward the forward to support their
Neighbourhood community - that would
Agreement and make make a huge difference.
sure the services and

55
Our vision for safe and active communities

Jim Cappleman, Flower Roads Estate


I’m Jim Cappleman and After discussions with local Once we had received
I’ve lived in Southampton residents the Association drew approval for the roads and
for 57 years and on the up a list of priorities and issues: road safety, we quickly moved
Flower Roads Estate for on to organising a three day
15 years. I’ve always been zz Providing more activities youth festival to be held on
interested in improving my for young people in the our much loved green space,
neighbourhood and the lives local area Daisy Dip. We also applied
of those who live here, but zz Engaging with, and to the Peoples’ Lottery for
as a busy manager for the making a difference to, funds to rejuvenate Daisy Dip,
NHS I could never dedicate for people experiencing which is conveniently divided
enough time. So following long-term unemployment by a road: one half would
early retirement a couple of and deprivation be multi-activity space for
years ago, I decided to ‘give it zz Improving the quality young people and the other
a go.’ I started by resurrecting of roads and road safety a nature reserve for families,
the Flower Roads Residents generally, particularly around conservationists and schools.
and Tenants Association, I was the school and GP surgery
voted Chair of the Association zz Creating a safe place to live in I know these plans were
(there wasn’t a queue!) and for everyone ambitious! But ‘nothing
set about recruiting other like zz Using the open space of ventured, nothing gained’.
minded residents (including Daisy Dip for recreation, We were awarded the lottery
young people) who wanted nature, relaxation and funding (£48,000) against
to do something. creating a sense of very stiff competition,
community ownership. and Southampton City
The Estate is in fact 15 Council match-funded the
interconnecting roads We knew we had to be award. Work will start in
named after flowers. The realistic about what we the Spring, with another
housing is predominantly could achieve in the short youth/community festival to
a combination of terraced term, initially we focused celebrate the rejuvenation.
and semi-detached family our discussions with the City We really hope Daisy Dip
housing built in the 1950's. Council on the quality of the will provide a focus for
The Estate is surrounded by road surfaces and road safety community activity, such as
relatively affluent areas and generally. We presented our case getting to know each other,
by a large residential campus logically, taking into account volunteering on the reserve
belonging to Southampton the economic situation and the (especially the unemployed),
University. Residents of the challenges facing the Council. and supporting one another.
Estate often feel they have We could evidence our case and
been neglected for council had the support of residents, We know ‘we are on a roll,’ but
improvement programmes the local school and businesses. it hasn’t always been easy; it’s
because of its ‘hidden’ location As a result a puffin crossing was been hard work, frustrating
and the competing demands installed relatively quickly and at times, especially after
on local resources. the roads were resurfaced setbacks, but this makes the
within nine months. successes more enjoyable,

56
Our vision for safe and active communities

especially the collective


sense of achievement
helped by a sense of fun
with lots of laughs!

We have long way to go: we


need a venue for our young
people, we need to do
more to get old and young
people together, there is
still too much isolation on
the estate due to poverty,
cultural differences, health
problems, etc; but we have
plans, and believe me,
the number of residents,
police, teachers, students,
businesses who want to join
is increasing all the time,
people like being part of
something happening.

57
Published March 2011