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Crime (Milton Keynes)

Volume 450: debated on Friday 20 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to reduce the number of cases of violence against the person in Milton Keynes. (91663)

Violent crime of all types is addressed in the Milton Keynes Community Safety Partnership’s (CSP) overall strategy for crime reduction, which is supported by a detailed Basic Command Unit Crime Reduction Plan. The CSP continues to target violent crime through enforcement, prevention, intelligence and communication.

The CSP and police have put considerable resources into dealing with violent crime.

The CSP runs an effective Joint Tasking and Co-ordinating Group that ensures a multi-agency approach to tackling a range of crime problems. It has a delivery group charged specifically with reducing violence, and has secured funding to reduce racial harassment. The local Racial Equality Council is delivering this work on the CSP’s behalf.

The police have a dedicated Public Protection Unit dealing with domestic violence, predatory offenders and serious child abuse. With probation and other partners, they also participate in a multi-agency public protection arrangement to monitor the most dangerous offenders. The most serious violent crimes are investigated by the CID in the Basic Command Unit, and a detective will attend and deal with any robbery offence reported.

Milton Keynes has a vibrant night-time economy, with large numbers of people attracted to the city by its entertainment and leisure facilities. There are a number of initiatives designed to make the city centre a safer place.

The police’s Operation Debus ensures that resources are deployed to provide a visible presence in hotspot areas and at the times when offences are most likely to occur. The police use Fixed Penalty Notices to intervene at an early stage and prevent escalation of violence. The police issued 378 Fixed Penalty Notices for Public Order Act offences between April 2006 and September 2006.

Operation Hangover brings together the resources of Milton Keynes’s Licensing and Trading Standards departments and the police to tackle the antisocial behaviour associated with excessive alcohol consumption. To support this both the council and the Thames Valley police have put a lot of effort into communication with license holders about their new responsibilities under the Licensing Act 2003.

At a national level, the Home Office introduced the Respect Action Plan in January 2006 to reduce antisocial behaviour. The Violent Crime Bill is currently before Parliament. It contains measures to tackle binge-drinking and tackle the harm caused by weapons. Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, a new range of tougher sentences became available for offences committed after 5 April 2005: special ‘public protection’

sentences are available for those convicted of violent offences and assessed as dangerous.