News Archive

Quality Of Life

by msecadm4921

Public belief that the reduction of crime and disorder is the top priority for improving quality of life in Cheshire has dropped by 20 per cent over a decade – according to Cheshire County Council’s third Quality of Life Survey.

It shows that 41 per cent of those interviewed put crime reduction at the top of their priority league table compared to 61 per cent in the first survey a decade ago. County Council Research and Intelligence Officers sought the opinions of a 1,505-strong cross-section of the public – including 205 teenagers – between January and March this year.

And their findings based around the public’s top 12 priorities will feed into the development of the authority’s Corporate Plan and the review of the Cheshire Community Strategy, the council adds.

It will also be used to inform a range of public sector planning bodies in community safety, best value performance, local transport, waste management, comprehensive performance assessment, health improvement and lifelong learning.

Said Communications Executive Member Nora Dolphin: "The survey provides a comprehensive insight into public opinion and will be invaluable in formulating policy. Indeed, those who took part highlighted the importance of involving local people in decision making by placing it third in their table of priorities."

Crime and disorder ranked top priority for the third survey in succession but in the 2005 sample was just four per cent ahead of the need to provide more activities for young people – also second in the 2000 survey.

Within the crime and disorder section a more visible police presence was again the major concern to 71pc of the people questioned, although this total had also dropped by 11pc from the 2000 survey.

Deputy Chief Constable Graeme Gerrard said: "We have made major reductions in recent years in crimes such as burglary. It is good news to hear that this has reassured many people and reduced the numbers who put crime and disorder at the top of their quality of life concerns. Nevertheless a large number of people do still worry about the levels of crime or disorder in their community and many more want a visible police service. It is precisely for this reason that we have transferred resources into community policing, increased the size of our community action teams and formed neighbourhood investigation units to tackle crime at a very local level."

In fourth position was the need to provide more houses that are affordable to buy or rent – seen as a growing problem over a decade which has seen the issue rise sharply in the priority league table from ninth position in 95. Some 31 percent of those interviewed put this problem top of their list compared to 29pc who chose to reduce traffic and transport problems (5th); 24pc who wanted better employment opportunities (6th); 23pc who ranked helping people to live healthier lives (7th) as their first priority and 20pc who felt similarly about protecting the environment (8th). A reduction in illegal drug taking – second and third in previous years – dropped to ninth in the latest survey. In fact this option was ranked in the top three priorities by less than one in five respondents.

However, teenagers interviewed rated the problem as third in their list of priorities with 30pc placing it in the top three.

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