Woking Community Safety Plan
At last week’s meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, councillors received a report from the Safer Woking Partnership on their Community Safety Plan for the borough. The Community Safety Plan is a strategy drawn up by the police, local authorities and other interested organisations with the aim of identifying priorities for combating crime and disorder over the next three years.
The strategy highlighted four areas where the police will be focusing their attention. The first priority is anti-social behaviour. The second is violent crime and burglary, which includes domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation. The third area is drugs and alcohol abuse, and more will be done to provide awareness sessions and counselling, as well as concentrating on issues around the night time economy. The fourth strand of the strategy relates to a broader goal of reducing re-offending by placing greater attention on the most prolific offenders, as well as providing targeted assistance where necessary.
During the meeting I asked a number of questions, including how the partnership intends to work with the Licensing Committee, which has responsibility for regulating night time entertainment in the borough and can take action against premises found to be contributing to crime and disorder. I also asked whether the focus on child sexual exploitation was driven by the national attention on high profile cases in towns like Bradford and Rotherham, or whether it was the result of intelligence about local activity. Finally I asked about whether there needed to be a focus on other aspects of the strategy such as preventing violent extremism, highlighting that early intervention was often the best way of countering radicalisation before it develops into criminal activity.
I was impressed with the evidence by the representatives from Surrey Police and the Safer Woking Partnership and felt that a lot of thought and consultation had gone into producing the strategy. Residents who want more information about policing in their area, including the latest crime statistics, can find out more information on the Woking Police website.