Report backs calls for 'joined-up' public services

Public services need to be more “joined up” to fully tackle crime and harms to the public, according to a new report.

The report argues that the State has a collective responsibility for crime prevention and says that investing in early intervention requires a whole-system approach.

Published today by Public Health Wales and Liverpool John Moores University, the report - Everybody’s Business: Early Intervention Crime Reduction – sets out ways multi-agency partners - the police, courts, health and social care, local government, education, and the third sector, can work together.

Violence, substance abuse, mental health and other ‘harms’ are interconnected, it says.

“We’re talking about issues and problems that are shared by all these agencies, so as often as possible a shared approach to address them is most effective,” says Professor Zara Quigg of LJMU’s Public Health Institute.

Internationally, evidence increasingly shows that a large proportion of requests for police support and resulting activity is focused on non-traditional police practices.

Across England and Wales, it is estimated that over 80% of all police calls are for incidents of a non-criminal nature, with many of these relating to issues involving vulnerability and complex social needs.

“Early intervention crime reduction is not just about what the police do to prevent and respond to cross-cutting public health and criminal justice issues, but also about how multi-agency partners can work with the police as part of a whole system public health approach to prevention,” added Prof Quigg.

“This report provides examples of ways in which multi-agency partners can work to implement whole system approaches to addressing harm and examines areas where early intervention and preventative policing approaches have been or are likely to be successful.”

This includes:

  • Whole system and multi-component approaches e.g. data and evidence-based approaches; community orientated policing; community level multi-component programmes; and adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed approaches.
  • Primary prevention e.g. addressing societal norms and values through policies, legislation, and strategies; parenting education and home visiting programmes; provision of education (for practitioners, and children and young people) and opportunities to develop life skills; sports and physical activity programmes for children and young people; and situational crime prevention and monitoring behaviours to improve safety and reduce crime and associated risk factors.
  • Secondary prevention e.g. sports and physical activity programmes for those at risk of offending; strengthening families programmes; approaches to identify, protect and safeguard vulnerable persons; crisis intervention models; and police-led diversion programmes.
  • Tertiary prevention e.g. restorative justice; pulling levers/focused deterrence programmes; court-based diversion programmes; programmes for offenders to prevent reoffending and further harm; and sports and physical activity programmes for offenders.

This report outlines the building blocks of better co-working as: strategic and leadership support/resources; workforce development and representation; multi-agency partnership working; and building community relations and gaining public support.

And it identifies barriers: commonly, a lack of strategic support from the top for agents; lack of trust in and fear of the police; defining, measuring, and achieving prevention outcomes; community characteristics and assets; police staff capacity and turnover; a culture of ‘crime fighting’ in police; and a lack of multi-agency support/working and competing priorities. Addressing these barriers is vital to enable police to work effective as part of a whole system approach to early intervention crime reduction.

“At regional, national and international level, there is increasing acknowledgement that early intervention crime reduction is everybody’s business and investing in crime prevention and early intervention will save money in the long term.

“Clearly publicly-funded agencies are in a difficult position financially, so this is about working smarter not longer and sharing resources and not having to carry burdens alone,” adds the Professor.


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