One Small Step For Rayleigh Town Council, One Giant Leap for Community Safety?

28/07/2019

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A brief note to readers: Before I ‘lift-off’ with this report I have removed some of the content due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter. Therefore this report isn’t conclusive of all the actions taken.

This week I’ve attended the latest Community Safety working group meeting. To say, I was kind of reserved on the ambitions of this group, would probably be a fair summary of how I was feeling after the last working group meeting.

I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised that it would appear we have turned a corner with coming to understand the problems in Rayleigh and what steps the Town Council can look at taking to help with Community Safety issues and the committee came forward at the meeting with much-renewed vigor and a healthy discussion took place.

Preparation had been done, with a fair bit of work on spatial patterns of crime and some analysis of the types of crime occurring in Rayleigh (credit due to the Chairman Cllr Bob Milne), we had the benefit of Essex Police in attendance to try and help us ‘drill-down’ into the statistics which doesn’t appear to the easiest, or as easy as it perhaps it should be – this is essential for looking at the possible actions that we can take as a council, as they would perhaps be different for different types of crime.

Some members of the group were drawn on solutions such as CCTV and this, of course, is always a possibility. We asked Essex Police about the use of CCTV in Southend and whether it’s use had helped with crime reduction. The officer couldn’t be specific about this issue, so, taking the initiative, I have asked that a delegation of members from Rayleigh Town Council, visit Southend’s CCTV control room to further investigate their system and its use. After all, we don’t need to spend needless hours trying to reinvent the wheel! CCTV has its place in our society but I think we must bear in mind this is not a silver bullet as I’ve previously mentioned.

Looking at the crime statistics, it was glaringly obvious a high percentage of Rayleigh’s crime is ASB (anti-social behaviour), again though we couldn’t drill down on these statistics to look at the demographics. We don’t know if this is youth crime or whether adults are the perpetrators. Turning to anecdotal evidence, we perceive that this crime could be related to youths. After some discussion we agreed that looking at extending our youth work into other areas, outside of the town centre, could be of substantial benefit to trying to reduce ASB.

Other areas of crime in the town centre were discussed such as shoplifting and some positive ideas put forward to try and engage with stakeholders and get our community working together to help tackle the problems.

On the whole, I am feeling far more confident that this group can really make a difference to our resident’s community safety with the limited powers that it has.

I intend to report more on these matters in the future as we progress our extensive list of action points.

Further reading
National support framework: delivering safer and confident communities
The Effectiveness of Public Space CCTV: A Review of Recent Published Evidence Regarding the Impact of CCTV on Crime.
The Effects of CCTV on Crime

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