What is the Community Safety Strategic Assessment?
The St Helens Community Safety Strategic Assessment 2017-20 looks at trends in various categories of crime, examining the findings of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and Police recorded crimes. It also looks at local trends using local Police recorded crime data and aims to identify key and emerging trends. Its purpose is to inform and support the development of a revised local Crime and Disorder Strategy.
What is a Community Safety Partnership (CSP)?
A Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is a legal requirement of the Crime & Disorder Act 1998, which places a joint responsibility upon specific agencies (see below) to work together to protect their local communities from crime and to help people to feel safer.
In St. Helens, the strengthening of partnership arrangements saw the formation of the St Helens People’s Board, which has assumed the statutory responsibilities of the CSP. A number of agencies represented on the Board including Police, Local Authority, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services, Probation Services and the St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group continue to work closely with the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to develop shared priorities to address crime and disorder, reduce reoffending and tackle substance misuse.
What is the role of the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)?
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) is not a ‘responsible authority’, as set out under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and therefore is not part of the CSP. However, section 10 of the Police and Social Responsibility Act 2011 provides a legal duty for the PCC and ‘responsible authorities’ to co-operate with one another and have regard to each others priorities for the purposes of reducing crime and disorder, reducing re-offending and reducing substance misuse.
PCC's also have a monitoring function and where a CSP is not carrying out its duties effectively and efficiently the PCC can request a review. Any such request must be reasonable and proportionate.
The Merseyside PCC, Jane Kennedy sets out her priorities for Merseyside in the PCC Police and Crime Plan. The priorities for 2017-2021 are to:
- Prevent crime and anti-social behaviour
- Provide a visible and accessible neighbourhood policing style
- Tackle serious organised crime
- Support victims, protect vulnerable people and maintain public safety
- Work in partnership to improve road safety
Some of the key findings include:
- The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) 2017 showed that most individual offence categories did not show significant changes compared with the previous year with the exception of a 10% decrease in theft offences.
- In comparison in 2017, the 10% increase in Police recorded crimes was largely driven by increases in violence against the person offences, theft offences and public order offences.
- Locally, crime data shows a mixed picture with reductions in drugs and theft offences but increases in violence against the person, sexual, burglary, robbery and other (includes public order offences) crimes. Although, caution should be applied in interpreting the data due to issues identified in relation to national police recorded crime data (see data limitations). Comparative data shows that levels of crime within St. Helens are below the North West average.
- Priority areas that will be addressed via the Community Safety Strategic Plan 2017-2021 include; knife crime, domestic abuse, homelessness, child sexual exploitation, acquisitive crime, anti-social behaviour and hate crime.
For a more detailed picture of individual crime types and priority areas for the Community Safety Strategic Plan 2017-2021 please refer to the St Helens Community Safety Strategic Assessment 2017-20.
Following an assessment of crime statistics by the UK Statistics Authority, published in January 2014, and a follow-up HMIC Inspection in November 2014, the statistics based on police recorded crime data were found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics. Police recorded crime is not currently considered a reliable measure of trends in crime for most crime types, since it is prone to changes in recording practices and police activity as well as changing behaviour in public reporting of crime. As a result, trends will not always reflect changing levels of criminal activity. Apparent increases in police recorded crime seen over the last 2 years may reflect a number of factors, including tightening of recording practice, process improvements, increases in reporting by victims and also genuine increases in the levels of crime.
A further Crime Data Integrity Inspection by HMIC in 2016 found that despite improvements, there were still deficiencies in Merseyside Police's crime recording process, with nearly 16% of reported crime going unrecorded. A series of recommendations were made which Merseyside Police are now working to implement.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is a face-to-face victimisation survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a selected range of offences in the 12 months prior to the interview. For the population and offence types it covers, the CSEW generally provides the better measure of trends on a consistent basis over time, because it is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police or police recording practices. The methodology employed in the main count of crime has remained comparable since the survey began in 1981. It was also confirmed in December 2016 that the crime statistics produced by the CSEW retained their National Statistics “badge”.
The CSEW allows for the calculation of estimates based on a variety of different measures, including the number of incidents of crime, and the number of victims. Using population estimates it is also possible to calculate the corresponding number of incidents per 1,000 population (the incident rate) and the number of victims per 1,000 population (the prevalence or victimisation rate).
The latest release is available at Crime Survey for England and Wales 2017.
Where can I find out more?
St Helens Community Safety Strategic Assessment 2017-20
Crime Survey for England and Wales
Merseyside Police and Crime Plan 2017-21
Safer St. Helens website