Co-ordinated action disrupts and deters the most serious and harmful crimes and those which cause most concern to communities, with offenders brought to justice and less likely to reoffend.
While Warwickshire remains a safe place to live, work and visit overall, there are a number of crime types which cause considerable harm. It is my job as Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure that these offences receive a priority focus, with coordinated action taken to bring offenders to justice and reduce the harm caused to victims, their families and the wider community.
In recent years we have seen the rise of so-called ‘County Lines’ gangs as the drugs trade expands from the major metropolitan areas to smaller communities like Warwickshire. With it has come concerning levels of violence, including knife crime and gang-related activity, often involving young people and targeting some of the most vulnerable members of society as victims.
I know residents want to see concerted police action taken to address violent crime. I will support Warwickshire Police in taking a zero-tolerance approach, with particular emphasis on knife crime and gang-related activity, as well as alcohol-fuelled crime. I will also look to maximise the opportunities to gain additional funding for Warwickshire from governmental schemes to make our public spaces safer and feel safer for all.
Police action alone will not solve the societal problems that underpin violent crime, so a strong partnership approach is needed. I will support and play an active part in the formulation of a county-wide violent crime strategy. This will develop a better understanding of the problem and help direct coordinated action to reduce the levels of offending.
I will also help to fund initiatives which work with young people to emphasise the dangers and consequences of carrying knives, helping them make better life choices. Through timely and effective interventions, I want to prevent young people being drawn into violence.
Serious organised crime impacts on many aspects of life. As well as the trade in illegal substances, organised crime groups seek to profit from modern slavery, human trafficking and child exploitation, while the online realm is another where fraudsters and scammers seek to take advantage of our increasing reliance on digital systems.
Highly organised and methodical in how they plan and carry out their offending, organised crime groups require a concerted effort to apprehend, particularly as they are no respecters of police force or indeed national boundaries. I will ensure that Warwickshire Police continues to work closely with local partners, regional forces and national police and intelligence agencies to identify, apprehend and deter serious organised crime, bringing offenders to justice and safeguard the vulnerable. I will also continue to support the multi-agency Serious and Organised Crime Joint Action Group founded by my office to guide the local fightback against organised crime.
While the actions of organised crime groups can impact vulnerable individuals, it can also affect large sections of the population through fraud and online crime. With cyber offences now making up the most likely way that people will experience crime, a more comprehensive response is needed. I will ensure the force puts a greater priority on tackling these types of offence while also taking an active interest in how online crime is dealt with at a national level, as a new fraud and cybercrime reporting and analysis service is procured.
Another major focus under this plan must be to reduce the level of re-offending. All too often, people become locked into a cycle of crime, which is both personally destructive but also has a wide impact on the communities their offending takes place in. Every life successfully diverted away from crime means a set of potential victims of crime being spared.
The underlying causes of criminality need to be addressed, including drug and alcohol misuse, mental health difficulties, employment, training and accommodation needs. This includes ensuring there is adequate provision in place to reintegrate ex-offenders successfully into the community on release from prison. Overall, the whole criminal justice system must see reducing reoffending as a key part of its work and I will use my position as Chair of the Local Criminal Justice Board to influence partners and ensure this is the case.
A multi-agency approach is also needed to manage the most complex of offenders, involving police, criminal justice agencies and other partners such as housing to ensure communities remain protected. I will look to support organisations which help to break the cycle of crime by continuing to commission services which provide drug and alcohol interventions to those in the criminal justice system, while also supporting other schemes which work with perpetrators of crime to reduce reoffending through my Commissioner’s Grants Scheme.
What success will look like:
- Reduced levels of serious violence, including knife crime, murder and other forms of homicide.
- Increased activity takes place to disrupt organised crime groups, leading to successful prosecution of offenders.
- Vulnerable people are safeguarded from modern slavery, human trafficking and child exploitation, with perpetrators brought to justice.
- A county-wide violent crime strategy is in place, with police working with partners to identify potential victims and perpetrators.
- Regional and national resources are maximised to support local investigations of serious and organised crime.
- Crime which emanates from outside Warwickshire, including County Lines, will be deterred.
- An improved collective response is given to fraud and cyber-crime, including support for victims and better crime prevention awareness.
- Innovative and effective initiatives to support offenders to break the cycle of crime will be supported.
- Reduced reoffending throughout Warwickshire.