Police commissioner - 'worst case scenario'
MORE shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and drug-fuelled burglary and prostitution could hit Reading's streets when the Thames Valley gets its elected police commissioner.
That was the "worst case scenario" presented to the ruling-Labour cabinet by officers this week, in anticipation of when police and crime commissioners replace police authorities in England and Wales later this year.
Candidates are still to be unveiled but the council is worried that Reading's needs - as one of only a few large urban areas in the Thames Valley - will be overlooked.
Concerns stem from the Government's decision to switch funding control from community safety partnerships and alcohol action teams to the elected commissioner covering the Thames Valley.
Reading's safety partnership is one of 16 in the region and has been grappling with a £72,000 decrease over the past year.
Council leader Jo Lovelock said the administration must start lobbying candidates as soon as they are known, while deputy leader Tony Page stressed the threat to Reading "is very real".
The report said the "major" risk area is in drug services for adult criminals. From next year Reading's drug and alcohol action team will lose its drug intervention programme (DIP) grant from the Home Office, which totalled around £900,000 last year. The money will go to the commissioner, despite Reading having one of only three "intensive" DIPs in the region.
Officers predict the loss of funding will lead to offenders not being identified and given appropriate treatment, resulting in a rise in crime.
The report also explained that more than £50,000 Home Office funding for youth offending and drugs services will go to the commissioner from next year.
Council officers argue that young drug users will miss out on treatment, while the youth offending service will be unable to carry out its statutory duties, resulting in an increase in the number of youngsters committing offences.
This article appeared in Reading Chronicle 19 Apr 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Apr 23, 14:09
More good times ahead for the multi-cultural third world slum that is our beloved Reading eh? For those that often wondered why Katesgrove and Newtown are not featured in The Good Ramblers Guide To Berkshire need wonder no longer...
Recommend? Yes 32 No 19
Apr 24, 08:56
I am one of two people short-listed by the Labour party to be our candidate for the forthcoming election on 15 November. Currently Labour Party members are considering which candidate to select.
As an ex Reading person (University followed by work for Reading Borough and Berkshire County Councils as were - and resident of Reading for 8 years before moving to Oxford and now Buckingham) - please be assured that Reading will most certainly not be overlooked by me when I (hopefully) become the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) in November. From my own time in Reading, from my friends who live in the town and from my professional work with Thames Valley Police and criminal justice system partners, I have some understanding of the severe challenges that Reading wrestles with - not least in the areas of youth offending and drug related crime.
One of my priorities is likely to be (naturally a precise Labour Party manifesto is some way off) that police and other community safety resources are deployed to places where there are the highest risks of harm.
I very much look forward to conversations in Reading with the Council leaders and many others over the coming months about what Reading needs from its new PCC.
There is more information about my campaign here: http://jonsharveyforthamesvalleypcc.blogspot.co.uk/
And if people wish - please follow me on Twitter @CllrJonSHarvey
You can also email me: email@example.com
Recommend? Yes 14 No 22