Today (Wednesday 30 November) Merseyside Police and partners pledged their commitment to invest in prevention with new force teams and a new force approach to help make Merseyside a safer place to live, work and visit.
When Serena Kennedy became Chief Constable, she was adamant that prevention would play a pivotal role in reducing crime on Merseyside to help communities be safe and feel safe.
To help drive this, Merseyside Police is investing in new teams, in a new force approach, and in new ways of working, alongside our partners, so we can deliver dedicated work and help all officers and staff be more preventative, with the support of specialist teams.
Prevention is about preventing crime and reducing harm in our communities by understanding and addressing the root causes; the reasons why crimes happen; why people commit offences and why they exploit the vulnerable, then thinking about new or different ways to solve problems and stop crime from being committed.
Merseyside Police have created a new prevention strand, with teams focused on preventative work.
Prevention teams will include:
- Early Help teams who look to identify and address vulnerability at an early stage by working directly with families and individuals in order to safeguard and tackle the root causes of problems before they become established
- investment in dedicated schools’ officers who will be embedded in schools across Merseyside and supported by education specialists in partner organisations to work with children and young people, build trust and confidence in policing and help divert them from crime and anti-social behaviour. These officers are pivotal in supporting young people and make a tangible difference to them and their families right across our communities.
- a Prevention Hub to help embed the new approach to prevention throughout the whole organisation to put it at the core of everything we do. Merseyside Police will drive change in Merseyside Police to ensure that we are all proactively thinking about preventing crime and wider harm, as well as responding to it. That might be through signposting to another agency or by adopting a longer-term partnership evidence-based, problem-solving approach.
- Youth Intervention Unit (YIU) to identify young people who are at risk of committing a crime or reoffending and diverting them, with the support of Youth Justice Services, to make better life choices and reach their full potential
- an Integrated Offender Management (IOM) partnership approach to crime and reoffending threats faced by local communities, providing rehabilitation through positive support and a targeted response to those who continue to offend
- Problem-oriented policing, which enables a problem-solving approach to be taken to address issues within our communities and find long-lasting solutions
- officers and staff dedicated to designing out crime before it happens. This could be through simple measures, such as cutting back overgrown shrubbery, or bigger projects alongside partners to design new build housing projects that help protect areas from being vulnerable to burglaries and robberies.
- investment into a licensing team to specifically target problematic licenced premises across Merseyside to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour
- the first dedicated Rural, Wildlife and Heritage Crime Unit in Merseyside, created in response to direct feedback from rural communities that they feel vulnerable to being targeted by criminal gangs. Approximately 50% of Merseyside is classed as rural and these areas are often targets for serious and organised crime groups who target their high value belongings in robberies and aggravated burglaries. This dedicated team will mean we can protect these communities better and gather vital intelligence on serious organised crime.
- Police Community Support Officers within the police Missing Persons Unit dedicated to care homes. Statistics tell us that around 73% of missing people on Merseyside are under 18 and around 50% are from care homes (including foster homes). The PCSO’s aim will be to proactively prevent young people going missing by building relationships with them to understand the reasons why they may leave their homes, to try to reduce the likelihood of this repeating pattern. This helps to give young people better life chances in the future, protects them from harm and exploitation and reduces demand on front line officers called to find missing children, to enable them to focus in other areas on the streets of Merseyside. Sadly we know that vulnerable children can be exploited by criminal gangs for county lines so we will also introduce a county lines co-ordinator to the Missing Person’s Unit, who will work with our dedicated County Lines and Child Exploitation teams to help keep children and young people safe.
At a community and partner event on Wednesday 30 November you will hear some examples of the prevention work that has taken place over the last year in each of the five boroughs of Merseyside. This work has already had a positive impact across the county to address underlying causes of crime, stop victimisation and support safer communities over the long term.
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “We all work hard to make our communities safer, better places to live and work. But I believe we need to invest more in prevention, both in our day-to-day work and in our long-term approach, so we can make a bigger, more sustained impact and help our communities now and in the future.
“Policing has always had a vital role to play in preventing crime and harm, so this isn’t new to us, or our partners, and we have some examples of great work we have delivered in recent months to reduce harm and vulnerability and prevent crime across Merseyside by thinking about how we solve problems and focusing police and partner efforts in the best places to do that. I believe we need to drive this further and faster which is why we are investing in new teams and new ways of working, alongside our partners.
“All of my officers and staff joined Merseyside Police to keep people safe and stop them being harmed and exploited – it’s what drives them every single day. Our new work on prevention will give then the chance to make more of a difference. We will never stop relentlessly pursuing offenders who cause harm. We will never cease our efforts to tackle serious and organised crime on our streets and we will carry on taking criminals off the streets. This work is vital to keep our communities safe, but alongside this we will put more focus on preventing crime before it happens and over the long term, looking at how we stop young and vulnerable people from being exploited and drawn into crime, how we support them when they are on the brink or in challenging circumstances, how we design areas in order to reduce the possibility of crime happening in the first place.
“I firmly believe we have to be more preventative to stop people from losing loved ones; to prevent people becoming involved in, and being affected, by serious and organised crime and anti-social behaviour; and to prevent more people becoming victims of crime in Merseyside. By intervening early and thinking about problem solving we can prevent problems from escalating, improve life chances and support communities in the future, which will make a huge difference to all of our communities across Merseyside.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “The best way to build stronger, safer communities is to prevent crime from happening in the first place.
“It’s a priority in my Police and Crime Plan and it’s a priority shared by local people – more than 96% of whom told me they want the police to focus on crime prevention initiatives.
“Prevention is at the heart of good policing. So, I warmly welcome this launch, and the work being led by the Chief Constable, to embed this approach within Merseyside Police, putting it at the heart of everything we do. We will be working closely with our partners and, crucially, our communities to deliver this strategy, as we know focusing on prevention has the power to reduce harm and improve the quality of lives for the people we serve.”
Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, added “I was delighted to host the Prevention launch here in Knowsley. Ensuring our communities are safe and crime free is a key priority for us and that’s why the Council has invested over £2m to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour which includes the establishment of our multi-agency Crime and Communities team.
“We will be working alongside Merseyside Police and other partners on the prevention approach for the benefit of everyone who lives, works or visits Knowsley and the wider region.”