(2) what recent discussions his Department has had with the Coventry Community Safety Partnership on the effectiveness of measures to reduce the incidence of antisocial behaviour in Coventry.
As with all other crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs), Coventry was allocated £25,000 a year from 2003-04 as a contribution towards funding an ASB co-ordinator post. In 2005-06, in England the antisocial co-ordinators grant was pooled within the safer and stronger communities fund. This pooled budget supports the delivery of outcomes and indicators relating to antisocial behaviour in local area agreements (LAAs).
Other budgets also contribute towards the wider cross-Government strategy to tackle antisocial behaviour. The Government are committed to diverting young people from crime and antisocial behaviour as demonstrated by our investment of around £2 billion on prevention, including activity such as sure start children’s centres, parenting support and positive activities. Last year we launched the Youth Crime Action Plan, a cross-government programme of action to tackle youth crime and antisocial behaviour and reduce re-offending. It set out a triple track approach of enforcement where behaviour is unacceptable, non-negotiable support and challenge to children and families where it is needed and better and earlier prevention. This builds on major progress we have made in the last decade in tackling youth offending. Backed by £100 million of new investment it has led to significant action over the past year and a half, which has made a real difference to young people, families and communities. The number of young people entering the criminal justice system for the first time is falling. The number in England fell from 94,481 in 2007-08 to 74,033 in 2008-09—a 21.6 per cent. decrease.
Home Office led activities also act to tackle antisocial behaviour, for example the introduction of community support officers, but a monetary value cannot be assigned to that contribution.
While I have not had discussions with the community safety team in Coventry I am pleased to hear that Coventry community safety partnership has an overarching strategy and action plan to tackle and reduce antisocial behaviour (ASB) in the city, which has been developed and is delivered through a range of agencies who are members of a Coventry ASB strategic group. On 13 October 2009 I wrote out to all CDRPs challenging them to develop and publicise a set of minimum standards for ASB and communicate that effectively to the public, including:
reducing perceptions of ASB year on year;
regular updates for every community on what is being done to tackle antisocial behaviour—including an expectation to publicise ASBOs to the local community;
offer support and practical help to victims of ASB;
provide residents with a right of complaint when effective action is not taken by local agencies through existing channels; and
taking reports of ASB seriously by recording and investigating all cases and committing to keeping victims informed of action taken.
I am particularly pleased that Coventry community safety partnership has already been proactive in devising the minimum standards and that in September 2009 produced a synopsis for the Home Office, which showed how they already deal with and publicise many, varied aspects of ASB and related crime in terms of response times, reporting outcomes to callers, use of enforcement activity and use of council weblinks by which to report and get feedback on information.