Tackling crime: talking to and involving the public works

The Home Office has recently published a review of the research into how to improve public confidence in the police. One of their conclusions? The very community politics idea, expressed in very New Labour vocabulary, that

The strategies most likely to be effective in improving confidence are initiatives aimed at increasing community engagement. Three out of the four interventions classified in the ‘what works’ evidence all included an element of communicating and engaging with the community (embedding neighbourhood policing; high quality community engagement; and using local-level communications/newsletters).

In other words: talk to people, listen to them and involve them. That is the way to get greater confidence in the police.

Increasing confidence in the police isn’t just good news for the police, it’s good news for the public too, in particular because fear of crime often causes worry and restricts lives in ways that can be overcome if people have more confidence in the police. Increased confidence in the police also goes hand in hand with increased willingness to work with the police, such as by reporting crimes or helping with investigations.

So whilst cutting crime itself is crucial, increasing confidence in the police not only helps with that but also brings its own benefits.

It’s also one reason why I despair of councillors (of all parties) who don’t like putting out leaflets and perhaps, at best, begrudge doing a few in the run to their own re-election.

Leaflets are a major way for councillors to let local residents know what is happening in their area – on crime and on other matters. Failing to communicate in this way isn’t just being a bad campaigner, it’s being a bad councillor.

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