An update on a request for funding to tackle crime in the three wards of Bloomsbury, Kings Cross and Holborn & Covent Garden
A bid for over £400,000 from the `Government's Safer Streets Fund was recently submitted to Camden who then put this forward to MOPAC (The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime).
The Home Office invited PPCs to make a submission for funds. In London PCC responsibilities lie with the Mayor.* Bids can also come via local authorities with the approval of the PCC, in this instance the London Borough of Camden, who were supportive of the proposal.
The bid for CCTV installation had wide support from local community and residents groups (including BRAG) as well as Keir Starmer MP, councillors, the Bedford Estate, the Fitzrovia Partnership, etc.
The bid was designed to deal with crime across all three wards of south Camden: Kings Cross, Bloomsbury and Holborn and Covent Garden. Criminals do not think about ward boundaries, so if action is limited to just one ward crime will inevitably be squeezed into neighbouring areas.
Unfortunately MOPAC chose not to submit Camden's bid to the Home Office.
We have learned that Haringey, Lambeth and Hackney were the bids MOPAC approved, which were in fact the three boroughs they invited to bid.
The Home Office will announce the results of the funding round in May 2021, but it may be possible that further funds will be available from the increased total already announced.
We will see what the MOPAC applications achieve and will look at the criteria for the other London areas when this is known.
There were also other items in the application: see details below
*Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) were elected for the second time on the 5th of May 2016 in 40 force areas across England and Wales. Every force area is represented by a PCC, except Greater Manchester and London, where PCC responsibilities lie with the Mayor. PCCs aim to cut crime and deliver an effective and efficient police service within their force area.
The role of the PCCs is to be the voice of the people and hold the police to account. PCCs ensure community needs are met as effectively as possible, and are improving local relationships through building confidence and restoring trust. They work in partnership across a range of agencies at local and national level to ensure there is a unified approach to preventing and reducing crime.
This bid seeks to address the target crime types by increased surveillance of crime hotspots, improving intelligence sharing between all stakeholders in the area, and by increasing awareness to reduce the risk of people becoming victims. This will increase the risk to offenders of detection and arrest as well as the effort required to commit the offences.
We will add new CCTV assets in locations where they can have the biggest impact. We will also have Rapidly Deployable Cameras (RDCs) which can be moved to emerging hotspot locations. Dedicated resource in Camden’s new state-of-the-art CCTV control room during peak times for offences will enable the whole system to enforce effectively in ‘real time’ as well as gather evidence for later prosecutions.
We will connect all the stakeholders in the area by using technology to combine elements of BCRP and Neighbourhood Watch so that the business and residential community can work closely together to reduce crime and create a ‘Neighbourhood Watch for the 21st Century’. This Business & Community Crime Reduction Partnership (BCCRP) will improve information sharing across a range of partners using web-based software. The information sharing platform increases ‘capable guardianship’ of the space and the package includes training costs for users. This goes beyond a traditional BCCRP because the local community will contribute in a similar way to that done by Neighbourhood Watch. This ‘eyes are ears’ approach will be shared directly into the new intelligence platform. Sanitised information can then be shared through partnership channels in a two-way process to ensure valuable ‘community intelligence’ is part of the overall picture.
We will provide a programme of crime prevention advice, training and location audits complementing and extending the work of the BCCRP. This will involve police officers and trained council officers visiting locations to provide crime prevention advice to staff and training on how to spot and report suspicious activity. There will also be an audit of useable CCTV in these locations so that coverage can be mapped out across all sources. All this is geared towards target hardening locations to fit the victim profile.
The primary impact measure will be a reduction in offences in the area. The Safer Streets Toolkit includes few interventions related to our target crime types. We have included Neighbourhood Watch but others, such as street lighting, are not relevant as the peak time for offences is during the day.
Considering the likely impact of interventions and taking into account successes from previous operations, there is an expectation that there will be a 30% reduction in Theft Person and Robbery offences in the area. This would reduce the crime rate by 80 offences/1000 population from the 2019 figure.
Whilst all this work is primarily to target Theft person and Robbery offences, the approach will also have an impact on other offences. The physical CCTV assets and wider intelligence network will provide additional tools for dedicated police operations.
Operation Venice, a pan-London operation to tackle moped-enabled crime, has had success in the area and additional operations to tackle criminality linked to the easing of Covid lockdown are due to begin in the coming months.
The additional surveillance and information sharing will make the streets safer once the night time economy starts to re-open, providing support to reduce incidents of sexual violence and to spot and tackle predatory behaviour. In addition they will prove invaluable if Project Vigilant was to be introduced in the area as it can inform, direct and coordinate frontline resources. Another benefit is people feeling safer in the area. Recent impact statements from victims of sexual violence have stated that they would feel safer in the area if there were CCTV cameras.