News Archive

Ken Part One

by msecadm4921

Our regular contributor covers the topics of community safety and crime.

Ken Rogers speaks from his own experience both as a police officer and in a voluntary capacity for 20 years chairing Industrial Security Associations, Crime Prevention Panels and serving on a number of Police Consultative Committees in Norfolk and Devon. With the Devon and Cornwall Police, he set up their first Crime Prevention Panel. Also as a Councillor in rural areas in Suffolk and Devon and witnessed increasing interest in policing issues. For the past eighteen months, he has acted in a voluntary capacity as a Community Safety Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator in Wivenhoe, Essex.
In industry, he has held security/risk management positions in the manufacturing, food and pharmaceutical industries and advised a number of International organisations.
He has served on the Editorial Boards of The Journal of Asset Protection and Financial Crime (in association with the Centre for Police and Criminal Justice Studies University of Exeter) and ‘Professional Security’ He has lectured on Security Management issues on MBA courses and a regular lecturer on MOD Courses Plymouth. And security related courses. Also lectured at the Home Office National Crime Prevention Centre. He is a regular contributor to ‘Professional Security’ and Journal of Prohibited and Concealed Weapons (dedicated to the protection of the citizen). During the 90s on the request of the Home Office, he submitted comments on proposed new legislation.
Provided evidence before the Home Affairs Committee on THE PRIVATE SECURITY INDUSTRY 1995. pages.227-230. HMSO.
Consulted by the Home Office at the early stages of the Crime and Disorder Bill and other legislation.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of International Security, Member of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management. A member of the British Institute Management. A member of the Centre of Crime and Justice Studies and NACRO.
Regular broadcaster on Radio Devon and local TV. Occasionally on Radio 4. In February this year on Radio 4 discussing increases in violent crime, in particular in rural communities.
INTRODUCTION
Crime prevention and Community Safety have never before been so high on the publics agenda in urban and, increasingly, in rural areas.
The term ‘Community Safety’ has in many instances taken over the term Crime Prevention. ‘Community Safety’ more clearly involves the local community and appears to be a more acceptable term. It also appears to attract more interest than the term ‘Neighbourhood Watch’. In Wivenhoe, Essex there is a local successful group called ‘Wivenhoe Community Safety Neighbourhood Watch Committee.’
YOUTH CRIME IS OF MAJOR CONCERN
Young people are increasingly feeling disenfranchised and marginalised in many areas of society. In particular, those who feel socially excluded due to their failures within the education system. This sense of failure is exacerbated when youths are suspended from school, they are then free to roam the streets getting bored resulting in antisocial behaviour. Suspension does not appear appropriate, therefore other forms of punishment require to be urgently considered.
The important question is how do we get the youth to assume responsibility for their actions within the community, including causing serious disruption at school. In Japan, there is a system of community-based corrections; offenders are instructed to carry out work within there own community under the supervision of volunteers. These volunteers are attached to the Japanese Probation service. Japan has one of the lowest imprisonment rates in any industrialised society.
In the most serious cases of anti-social behaviour police have not the time or inclination with the exception of the most serious cases in implementing Anti-social behaviour orders (ABOs) On average an arrest takes 5 hours of police time in the filling in of forms and other requirements. ABOs take up considerably more time. According to a report, (Metropolitan Police 2001 Inspector Palmer) cost associated with obtaining one ABO can be £100,000
With the shortage of trained police officers, how can the public expect such orders to be applied for? The public expected ABOs to be the answer to serious cases of continuing mis-behaviour by certain youths, they, and I am included, are disappointed. Members of the public fail to understand why the police do not take such action. As with many areas of Criminal Justice clear messages on procedures and actions or non-action are not reaching the public.
Family breakdown is in my experience one of the major causes of anti-social behaviour and crime committed by the younger members of society. Family breakdown cost this country £30 billion each year. (Report ‘The Cost of Family Breakdown September 2000 published by the Family Matters Organisation.) The report argues that of the £30bn that £2,210,000 is the cost of Criminal Justice. Then there is the impact on the young members of the family of domestic violence that in itself adds to the financial burden to an additional £350 million.
Is it not time that these issues were addressed as a matter of urgency.
The Community Safety partnerships have an important role in these concerns, families with problems should wherever possible receive early intervention with advise and assistance by the various agencies before the problem escalates.
Considerable crime is committed by youth less than 21 years of age. The recent Home Office Research into ‘Attitudes of Crime and Justice’ states that young people constituted 40pc of known offenders. The recent Audit Commission estimated that that a quarter of known offenders are under 18 years of age and commit seven million offences a year. The Youth Justice Board has revealed that during the past year young people have been more active in every area of criminality with the concern that much of the rise is contributed to violent crime. The Youth Justice Board has an important role independent of the Crown and is designed to monitor youth crime and advise the Home Secretary on good practice. This board should receive information from the various agencies, police, probation health and other relevant authorities on matters affecting youth justice. Still in its infancy, members of the board can with co-operation of the other agencies provide useful information to improve Youth Justice.
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM ON ITS OWN CANNOT SOLVE CRIME
The Criminal Justice System makes it clear that breaking the law is wrong and offenders will be punished. The threat of being caught and punished deters some people from committing crimes. But there are limits to what the criminal justice system can do because most offenders are not caught. Less than half of crimes are reported to police. For most crimes, the Criminal Justice System is unable to respond to protect us from becoming victims.
DEALING WITH YOUTH CRIME
The roots of youth crime are complex, but teenage boredom, disadvantage, lack of self-esteem and few opportunities for life changing, and life-enhancing experiences are significant factors.
Police have intimated that they cannot resolve the social conditions in which people live or the poverty and hopelessness. However, the police can now more clearly voice their concerns in particular in respect of youth offenders and those who reside within a problem family and poor social conditions. Police have first hand knowledge of these families therefore why not more openly discuss these important issues within the local partnership. It is within my experience that generations of the same family continually fall foul of the law. But what has been done. I regret that I failed on this issue when serving as a police officer as I believe society has also failed.
ANALYSIS AND PREVENTATIVE STRATEGIES
Preventative strategies and the development of such strategies are in the hands of ‘Community Safety Coordinators’ working in partnership with the local authorities, police and other agencies. The role of local authorities in community safety issues is increasing rapidly as we witness an extension of responsibility for tackling crime from the police and the criminal justice system to a wider range of bodies both private and public.
An excellent partnership has been formed in Essex between Trading Standards, Neighbourhood Watch the police and other agencies. There is a requirement for this form of partnership in particular dealing with innovative ways of raising community awareness of the activities of rogue traders and thus, also protecting vulnerable members of the community. A local newspaper the ‘Colchester Gazette’ has joined this partnership with continued front-page warnings of the dos and don’ts ’ for dealing with these rogues. This newspaper deserves congratulations for its considerable efforts in playing its part in this community safety initiative.
Prevention is more than the locks and bolts and bars. It involves police and community involvement providing information on their concerns with details where and when crime and anti-social behaviour are occurring. This information is of value to Community Safety and active Neighbourhood watch co-ordinators.

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