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Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out, with statistical information related as directly as possible to the Slough constituency, the effects on Slough of his Department's policies and actions since 2000. (311983)

The Home Office has introduced a range of policies and initiatives since 2000. The available statistical information relates to the Slough borough.

In terms of police recorded crime, data prior to 2002-03 is not directly comparable because of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. Between 2002-03 and 2008-09, total recorded crime in Slough fell by 7 per cent. More specifically:

Violence against the person—up 47 per cent.

Sexual offences—up 23 per cent.

Robbery—up 12 per cent.

Burglary—down 41 per cent.

Offences against vehicles—down 16 per cent.

Other theft offences—no change.

Criminal damage—up 10 per cent.

Drug offences—up 45 per cent.

Slough local police area together with the Royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Bracknell Forest form Berkshire East Basic Command Unit (BCU). As at 31 March 2009 the BCU had 633 police officers.

Comparisons with 2000 for Slough or Berkshire East are not available. There were 90 police community support officers as at 31 March 2009 in the Berkshire East BCU while there were none in existence in 2000.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 saw positive effects with the statutory duty to create a Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP). The CDRP has brought new ways of working in a cross cutting way with the police, Council and other key stakeholders and genuine partnership working to help tackle complex issues.

Since 2003 Slough has been funded by the Home Office as an 'intensive' Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) area enabling Slough to tackle drug-related offending through a range of' intensive' DIP applications including drug-testing on arrest and Restriction on Bail provisions allowing more offenders to be targeted, steered into treatment and out of a life of crime.

Slough's DIP budget for 2009-10 is £866,958. The operation of DIP in Slough in 2008-09 saw over 1,500 arrestees being drug-tested and 274 people referred into drug treatment.

Slough, as part of Thames Valley police force has been involved in the Tackling Knives Action Programme for the previous two years. This has provided additional funding and focus to work with young people and the community to prevent and educate about knife crime and serious youth violence as well as undertake enforcement operations to tackle this type of crime. Slough, as part of Berkshire East, has also received funding and support from the Home Office to tackle domestic and sexual violence. The BCU has received £95,000 to support Independent Domestic Violence Advisors and Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences that support the highest risk victims of domestic violence since 2007-8.

Before 1997 there were no bespoke powers to tackle antisocial behaviour but there are now a range of powers to deal with this issue. These include antisocial behaviour orders and designated public places orders (DPPO) from the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. Since 2005-06 at least 155 antisocial behaviour contracts have been issued. Numbers of antisocial behaviour orders have not been published since 2006 and were previously published only at force level.

Slough has benefited from additional funding to tackle antisocial behaviour and improve confidence in its community. In 2009 Slough began operating as a Neighbourhood Crime and Justice pilot area. Key actions have included:

Producing a new set of ASB Service Standards.

Overseeing 2226 hours of Community Payback in Slough during October 2009.

Implementing Community Cashback (assets recovered from criminals). On November 25 a £36,000 cheque from the LCJB (Local Criminal Justice Board) was presented to the Britwell Youth Centre.

Raising awareness of the policing pledge and the rights the public can expect from police when dealing with crime and ASB.

Setting up support for ASB victims and witnesses, ensuring they are supported appropriately.

Publishing all Slough borough council court successes in The Citizen every two months.

Distributing newsletters for North, South and East Slough.

There are 80 CCTV cameras installed in the Town Hall, the Town Centre, Farnham Road and other smaller shopping parades, together with some housing estates and leisure sites and are linked to the council's CCTV monitoring centre. CCTV also operate three mobile CCTV cameras, one of which has a built in digital recorder which can be installed across the borough when required.

Neighbourhood policing has been implemented in Slough since April 2008. Slough borough council has allocated Community Safety Project Officers, Environmental Enforcement Officers and Community Wardens to each of the three police neighbourhood sectors (North, South and East Slough). This means both council and police are properly represented at resident meetings, including Neighbourhood Policing Neighbourhood Action Groups (there is one for each ward).

Slough has received £250,000 funding and support as part of the Youth Crime Action Plan since 2008. This has focused on the following activities:

Using child protection legislation to remove young people from the streets at night and take them to a safe place, building on lessons from initiatives such as Operation Staysafe;

Using street-based teams of workers to tackle groups of young people involved in crime and disorder

Tackling antisocial behaviour and disorder at school closing time by increasing after-school police patrols where needed.

Placing youth offending team workers in police custody suites so that young offenders can be assessed and directed to appropriate services at the earliest opportunity;

Making young offenders feel the consequences of their actions by expanding YOT reparation schemes during their leisure time, including on Friday and Saturday nights;

Developing Family Intervention Projects to work with the most vulnerable and problematic families with children at risk of offending, with non-negotiable elements and sanctions for a failure to engage;

Implementation of the 'think family' reforms to provide an integrated and appropriate service response to all families at risk by the end of the funding period.

Slough has received additional funding through the Migration Impact Fund to support delivery of council services being impacted by increased migration. They have received £490,000 in 2009-10 to deliver three projects:

Supporting migrant children through dedicated programmes to assess newly-arrived families and supporting hard to reach groups. This also includes rationalising translation and interpreter services and tailored ESOL provision.

Migrant's Resource Centre focusing on health, education and environmental health, by raising awareness of appropriate access and recruiting community advocates to work with services. Tailored ESOL provision in neighbourhoods on life skills, laws and customs.

Improving housing conditions in the privately rented sector housing a multi-agency programme to improve standards of houses in multiple occupation.