The PSNI doesn’t have a crime prevention strategy but the local police watchdog in Londonderry is spearheading efforts to address the underlying causes of criminality.
This is one of the main findings of a PSNI inspection carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in February.
A newly-published report of the inspection, which looked at police efficiency, found that the PSNI does have a clear approach to managing and responding to demand and uses mapping systems to identify and despatch the most appropriate resources to incidents.
But, remarkably, it doesn’t have a long-term strategy to tackle crime.
“The PSNI does not have a crime prevention strategy,” the authors state.
“The focus of PSNI and partners in the police and community safety partnerships (PCSPs) has been on traditional crime prevention aimed at ‘target hardening’ and personal protection to reduce repeat victimisation and victimisation of vulnerable people.
“This is important in the support of victims, but needs to be underpinned by work with partners to address the broader causes of criminality and victimisation,” they add.
The report says the local police force recognises the effectiveness of working with local partners to prevent crime and that a statutory basis for co-operation has been provided in the community planning aspects of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.
“The service and partners are starting to use the new community planning powers to support multi-agency activity to reduce demand, but this work is in its infancy.
“In Derry and Strabane district, the PCSP is facilitating a multi-agency group including representatives of the district council, social and health services and the PSNI.
“This group will collectively agree which individuals and families in the area are the most vulnerable and need most partner resource, and develop multi-agency intervention plans.
“The group is in the process of finalising an information sharing agreement between the agencies involved. The PSNI aspires to use this approach in the other ten districts as a model of partnership working to improve safeguarding and manage demand,” the report says.