Bucks authorities are closely monitoring certain kinds of crimes in bid to crack down
Online radicalisation, domestic violence, and the rate of burglaries in the county are just some of the criminal activities being monitored more closely by the council in light of lockdown.
Prevent strategies, victim safeguarding, and residential break-ins emerged as “key themes” of concern for councillors, according to findings published additionally to the Safer Buckinghamshire Plan 2020-23.
Councillors convened to endorse the merits of the plan during a cabinet meeting, on Tuesday, September 8.
Its main purpose is to uphold community safety through close assessment of criminal activity in Buckinghamshire and its causes, while also identifying “emerging trends and issues”.
The Safer Buckinghamshire Plan 2020-23 five priorities:
Community resilience – targeted support for communities with “greater levels” of crime and anti-social behaviour
Protecting vulnerable adults and children – reducing exposure to and commitment of crime or exploitation
Drugs, alcohol and poor mental health impact – reducing crime and harm linked to these factors
Domestic abuse – early intervention and improving victim services
Dealing with offending – preventing first time offending, bringing offenders to justice, and stopping re-offending
In the report itself, which surveyed 2,379 people, some of the top crime concerns in the county included burglary, fraud, scams and vehicle crime.
However, Gareth Williams, cabinet member for public health and community engagement, noted the “pattern” of burglaries had “changed” during the pandemic, with offenders put off by people being “at home more”.
He added the council was monitoring cases of domestic violence “even more closely than we would do before [lockdown]”.
It is also looking at online radicalisation through Prevent, “with people being indoors and online a lot more”.
All are “key themes”, Mr Williams said, “not necessarily covered in this report, but that’s not to say those issues aren’t being looked at”.
“The most common concerns in the survey are drugs, fly-tipping – for which we have a zero-tolerance policy – lack of police, burglary, speeding and parking,” he added.
The 16 Community Boards established at the time of the unitary council’s inception are critical in identifying ‘local priorities on the ground’.
“Thames Valley Police, via the Police and Crime Commissioner, do give us a big grant of over £400,000 a year which goes towards a lot of the project work and action that sits underneath this [plan],” said Mr Williams.
Cllr Anita Cranmer requested an “action plan” to tackle some of the casualties of the lockdown, not least children abused in the home which saw in August a 234 per cent increase in self referrals by minors compared to August 2019.
Deputy chief executive, Sarah Ashmead, said the council “continually refreshed” the impact of Covid-19 and reminded members of a Recovery Framework Report approved in July, to steer renewal.
Other members of the Safer Buckinghamshire Board, which contributed to the plan, include Thames Valley Police, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service, Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the National Probation Service, and the Thames Valley Community Rehabilitation Company.