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Blunkett Speech

by msecadm4921

The law-abiding majority should have the confidence to reassert their right to live peacefully, free from danger and harassment, Home Secretary David Blunkett said in a speech in Sheffield.

Speaking at the annual conference of the National Community Safety Network, he said that the balance between the rights of the community and the rights of the individual have tipped too far in favour of the individual, and communities that are blighted by the anti-social and criminal behaviour of a few need to feel that their rights are just as important.

Mr Blunkett said:

"The communities who have put up with the actions of an anti-social minority have had their voice ignored for too long. The rights we hold in common are as important as individual rights and communities must be encouraged to exert them.

"It is no surprise, given the history of the past 200 years, that the rights of the individual over the state have taken precedence. However, in a new century we need to be sure that we still have the balance right and that communities made to suffer by the minority feel they can speak up and expect things to change.

"Partnership between Government and the agencies on the ground is the key to making this a reality. We have provided the tools to tackle these problems: police numbers have increased by nearly 12,500 since 1997 and there are now nearly 4,000 Community Support Officers on patrol giving visible support and reassurance. The powers in the Anti-social Behaviour Act are making a real difference to neighbourhoods up and down the country and over 2,400 anti-social behaviour orders, 6,000 child curfew orders and 150 dispersal orders have now been issued. New housing powers have also been introduced to give local authorities the ability to evict people who don’t stop causing trouble for their neighbours.

"But it is where these tools are used alongside help and support for communities that we will see the biggest results. The use of anti-social behaviour orders alongside support for parents through parenting orders, and preventative work to steer young people into training courses, education and volunteering is already making a difference to the numbers of young people getting involved with anti-social behaviour. I would like to congratulate the nine local authorities that have been awarded ‘beacon council’ status for their work in these areas.

"Using and sharing intelligence across all the agencies and making use of new technology to change working practices, as the prolific offender scheme that I launched earlier this week will do, is also a challenge. But if we are serious about enforcing the rights of the community it is something that we must embrace.

"When I launched the Home Office strategic plan a few weeks ago, I made it clear how we will put citizens and communities at the heart of our agenda. Offenders will be caught and punished, victims will be properly supported, people will feel more secure and will get involved in helping to tackle social problems and inequality of opportunity. We all have to take a hands-on approach to asserting the rights of the community. Working together, balancing prevention and enforcement, giving people the tools and powers to use them and working with the people on the ground to make the most effective use of them to give the citizen and the community back their voice." The Home Secretary was speaking at the National Community Safety Network AGM. The NCSN is a practitioner led organisation for local community safety practitioners whose membership totals about 400 and covers over half of the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership areas in England and Wales.

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