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Anti-crime initiatives face having funding axed
11:00am Friday 1st February 2013 in News
DRUG and drink addiction programmes along with anti-gang and knife crime projects could be cut under new community funding reforms.
Nine grants totalling £3.6m are being axed by the Home Office, to be replaced in April with a £3.1m-a-year community safety fund.
The new fund will be controlled by the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Anthony Stansfeld.
But police fear the cash could dry up by 2015.
The cuts were revealed in Mr Stansfeld’s draft plan for tackling crime over the next five years – due to be discussed today.
Mr Stansfeld wants a two per cent rise in the police precept part of the council tax bill. This would see a band D property in Oxford pay £157.38 a year – an increase of £3.08 from 2012/13 – to help plug the gap.
He said: “I propose to maintain expenditure on community safety initiatives in 2013/14 at close to the 2012/13 levels despite the reduction in Government funding.
“However, this is a one-year-only commitment and the community safety fund budget will almost certainly have to be reduced in later years due to reduced Government funding.”
Thames Valley Police announced last month it was to close Blackbird Leys Police Office to save cash.
Leys resident Sheila Smith, 76, said: “It doesn’t send a good message at all. “It will go back to like it used to be around here, really bad. It’s been so much quieter but if they start cutting more you could start seeing more gangs and all sorts.”
The grants to be axed funded police work with other organisations such as local councils and charities. In the draft plan, Mr Stansfeld has promised to work with councils to target late-night drinking which he believes is the major cause of crime in Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley.
Mr Stansfeld said: “We need to put the precept up and it comes to about the equivalent of a pint of beer for the average Band D household.
“Most police authorities are putting the precept up, so we are not alone. Thames Valley is growing so quickly we need this just to keep pace, and expect we will have an extra nine officers on the beat next year.”
The new Thames Valley Police and Crime Panel will consider the proposals in the Grand Jury Room at the Oxfordshire County Council offices in New Road, Oxford, at 10am today.
Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Nine projects facing cuts are:
- Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) – Partnership of drug workers and police who identify drug users at point of arrest and attempt to help with areas such as housing, education and life skills and testing.
- DIP Drug Testing Grant – part of the drug intervention programme n Community Safety Partnership funding – Manages the community response team and CCTV.
- Youth Crime and Substance Misuse Prevention Activities – A Home Office grant to councils to wean youngsters away from drugs.
- Positive Futures – Grant helps vulnerable 10-to-19-year-olds at risk of drug misuse and offending
- Communities against Guns, Gangs and Knives Programme – Fund paid to voluntary sector teams working with young people at risk of involvement in gang, gun and knife crime
- Community Action Against Crime: Innovation Fund – Neighbourhood projects aimed at cutting crime
- Safer Future Communities – A partnership led by Clinks, the infrastructure charity supporting organisations working with offenders
- Ending Gang and Youth Violence Programme – A grant to local authorities to tackle gang violence
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