Mayor calls for zero tol­er­ance polic­ing for mi­nor crimes Vi­o­lent of­fences soar by fifth in a sin­gle year

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Jonathan Walker Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

WEST Mid­lands Mayor Andy Street has called for a ‘zero tol­er­ance’ ap­proach to crime.

He said crack­ing down on mi­nor of­fences would “set the stan­dard” for ac­cept­able be­hav­iour and could help cut the num­ber of se­ri­ous of­fences, in­clud­ing vi­o­lent crime.

Mr Street said: “Zero tol­er­ance around less se­ri­ous crime is ab­so­lutely right.”

The num­ber of vi­o­lent crimes recorded by West Mid­lands po­lice shot up by a fifth in the past 12 months, re­cent po­lice fig­ures show.

West Mid­lands Po­lice recorded 61,124 vi­o­lent crimes in a year. That was 167 vi­o­lent crimes a day.

Mr Street high­lighted com­ments by Dave Thomp­son, Chief Con­sta­ble of West Mid­lands Po­lice, who ad­mit­ted last year that the force is “not pur­su­ing crimes where we could find a sus­pect”.

The mayor said: “I re­ally do be­lieve, par­tic­u­larly if you look at the age pro­file of a lot of the of­fend­ers in vi­o­lent crime, that the idea of zero tol­er­ance around less se­ri­ous crime is ab­so­lutely right.

“We have a prob­lem at mo­ment of less se­ri­ous crime go­ing chal­lenged.

“That is not any rev­e­la­tion. That is what the Chief Con­sta­ble says.

“So cer­tainly in the ar­eas where I have some di­rect in­flu­ence al­ready, crime on trans­port, we have been very clear – that ap­proach not be tol­er­ated.

“And I think that sets the stan­dard, par­tic­u­larly with young peo­ple, about what is ac­cept­able.”

A zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to crime was pi­o­neered in New York in the 1990s, af­ter re­searchers said al­low­ing low-level crime such as van­dal­ism to go un­pun­ished could make ar­eas more sus­cep­ti­ble to se­ri­ous crime.

Mr Street also said lack of op­por­tu­ni­ties con­trib­uted to crime rates, in­clud­ing young peo­ple who were the not ex­cluded from school or left with­out any train­ing or em­ploy­ment to go to.

“Those who are most sus­cep­ti­ble to vi­o­lent crime are sort of fall­ing out of some of the other in­si­tu­tons. They are not feel­ing a com­mit­ment to so­ci­ety.”

High­light­ing the num­ber of young peo­ple not in ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment or train­ing – known as NEET – he said: “That whole piece around ex­clu­sions from schools. If you look at the num­ber of 17-year-olds who are go­ing into NEET po­si­tions, there is a huge cor­re­la­tion be­tween that and vi­o­lent crime.”

Mr Street, a Con­ser­va­tive, said he wel­comed last year’s gov­ern­ment an­nounce­ment that fund­ing for West Mid­lands Po­lice will in­crease from £444.1 mil­lion to £460 mil­lion, an in­crease of 3.5 per cent.

West Mid­lands Po­lice has also been told it can in­crease the pre­cept added to coun­cil tax bills by £24-a-year, which would bring the pre­cept for a Band D prop­erty up to £152.55 each year.

Mr Street said he had called in the past for the Gov­ern­ment to in­crease fund­ing for West Mid­lands Po­lice.

He said: “I hope I have been con­sis­tent in say­ing West Mid­lands Po­lice do need more re­sources.”

Wel­com­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s lat­est an­nounce­ment, he said: “There is move­ment there, and it’s a ques­tion of how that money is used to make sure we do have that at­ti­tude around those of­fences.”

> West Mid­lands Po­lice recorded 61,124 vi­o­lent crimes in a year

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