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A burglary taskforce

A taskforce on residential burglary has met. Its member are from the police, industry, charities such as Crimestoppers and Victim Support, and the Government. The aim; to look at what more can be done to combat these crimes and to agree actions such as making homes more secure, preventing criminals from selling on stolen goods, and improving the wider police and criminal justice system response.

It’s chaired by Home Office Minister for Policing and the Fire Service Nick Hurd. He said afterwards: “Being burgled doesn’t just mean the loss of valuable and sentimental items – it also makes us feel less safe in our homes and has a damaging effect on communities. I’m pleased that burglary levels have fallen significantly in recent years, but with hundreds of thousands of people suffering this intrusive crime every year, more needs to be done to combat it. It’s vital that we work with partners, policy and industry on this.”

This taskforce is in line with similar groups for example on vehicle theft which first met in January; they’re due to meet twice a year. Deputy Chief Constable Chris Rowley, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for burglary, said: “Police officers know how distressing a burglary is for victims and are totally committed to tackling these crimes. The burglary taskforce will help us bring everyone involved to the table so we can continue to work together to prevent burglary – and when it does take place, to bring offenders to justice.”

An official inspection of police forces by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary has found inexperienced staff are ‘investigating’ crimes such as burglary (crimes are often ‘resolved over the telephone’), without enough supervision. HMIC complained of ‘signs of real strain’ on police services.

Meanwhile the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Knife Crime has said that areas suffering the largest cuts to spending on young people have seen bigger increases in knife crime. The All-Party Group sent Freedom of Information requests to 154 local authorities in England (county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London boroughs). For example, the four worst hit local areas were City of Wolverhampton (youth services funding cut by 91 per cent), City of Westminster (91pc), Cambridgeshire County Council (88pc), and Wokingham Borough Council (81pc). Police forces serving these areas have also seen some of the highest knife crime increases – since 2013/14 there has been an 87pc increase in knife crime offences for West Midlands Police, a 47pc rise for the Metropolitan Police area (London), a 95pc increase for Cambridgeshire Police, and a 99pc increase for Thames Valley.

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Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “These figures are alarming but sadly unsurprising. Taking away youth workers and safe spaces in the community contributes to a ‘poverty of hope’ among young people who see little or no chance of a positive future.”

Cat Smith, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs, said: “This study is yet more evidence highlighting the devastating impact of austerity on our communities. Youth services transform the lives of young people by providing a safe place where they can go to develop friendships and engage in meaningful activities.

“By slashing these vital services, the Tories have created the conditions in which crime can thrive, leaving young people more vulnerable to violence. Labour in government will introduce legislation to guarantee quality youth services for all of our young people and give our councils the funding they need to invest in our public services.”

Picture by Mark Rowe: Tudor door, Brougham Castle, near Penrith, Cumbria.


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