Crime, Community Safety and Resilience
High deprivation levels in the region are a key cause of offending, with the West Midlands Police having the highest crime severity score of all forces in England and Wales. The West Midlands also has a much higher rate of domestic abuse-related incidents, with 26 incidences per 1,000 of the population.
We’re aiming to create a better connected and collaborative criminal justice and rehabilitation system, geared towards the needs of regional communities, and one which tackles immediate and long-term criminality issues.
Alongside this, we will address the disparities in opportunity and fairness that are faced by some of our deprived communities, increasing positive economic activity and life chances.
Progress So Far…
The West Midlands has a strong track record of developing cross-sector collaborative initiatives to prevent, reduce and respond to crime, improve community safety, and ensuring our resilience structures are effective.
Over the last 10 years the collaboration, partnership, and planning through forums including the Local Criminal Justice Board, its delivery groups, the regional Community Safety Partnership, the West Midlands Fraud Board, and more recently the Violence Reduction Partnership, can evidence both innovation and impact.
We know that crime in the West Midlands, including some of the highest increases in serious and violent crime, are systemic and rooted in decades of decline in wider social factors. Now is the time for the West Midlands to enhance our existing partnerships to make a sustained impact on our region.
Levelling Up Mission:
Focused on reducing homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime. Our proposals will also act as a key enabler in fulfilling the broader set of community and economic missions through, for example, enabling more young people to engage in education, training or employment rather than offending.
Our proposals will deliver both immediate and generational levelling up of the West Midlands – targeting historical inequalities, in a region with an ambition to ensure that a person’s ethnic background is never an obstacle.
Through targeting these two key areas we are confident that we can work towards both addressing the immediate issues of criminality in the West Midlands, and address future criminality by better supporting young people.
Leadership within the criminal justice system.
- Create a local system of mutual accountability through priority and target setting and improved evidence-based decision-making.
- This will include a ‘duty’ on Criminal Justice partners to collaborate on strategic and delivery plan development and sign-off and share data.
- Alongside this, the Police and Crime Commissioner would hold a stronger role in the criminal justice system with involvement in senior level appointments.
- They would also have the power to ‘call-in’ decisions by Criminal Justice partners, have control over devolved funding for rape victims and violence against women programmes, and retention of fixed penalty fines and profits from crime;
- Enhanced regional powers would be devolved for health partners to have responsibility over secure facilities, offender skills, health and resettlement and drug safety testing.
Supporting young people and breaking the cycle of criminality.
- We want to meet the needs of children and young people as early as we can through ensuring robust early help support;
- Divert young people away from the criminal justice system and allowing them to flourish in their future lives. We would achieve this through:
- A new Local Authority 18-25 offending prevention programme based on the success of the Youth Offending Service model;
- Enhanced powers for the Youth Justice Board;
- Regional pathfinders on referral mechanisms and alternatives to custodial sentences.
What We Hope to Achieve
Through redesigning and redrawing the regional relationships which currently lead to dispersed, complex and disconnected outcomes, we will be able to:
- Increase accountability for outcomes which is comprehensive, complementary, and rooted in the needs of the region’s diverse local communities;
- Reduce in the flow of people entering the criminal justice system, particularly among children and young people;
- Reduce the time victims have to wait to see offenders brought to justice;
- Enhance rehabilitation of offenders, particularly those starting out in life, thus avoiding constant ‘recycling’ through the criminal justice system.