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Home secretary David Blunkett, in a statement to the house of ...
Home secretary David Blunkett, in a statement to the house of
commons yesterday, set out the details of an inter-departmental ministerial
group to look at how, in conjunction with local people, the
government can do more to minimise the risk of further disorder.
The group which will be chaired by John Denham, the minister of state
for crime reduction, policing and community safety has today set out
preliminary details of the wider action they propose.
Mr Blunkett said:
'Solutions to the problems manifested in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford
have to be found at a local level. But there is still a role for
government to help local communities and pull together information.
'The remit of the ministerial group is to look at what practical help
- both short term and long term - the government can give to help
local communities. These solutions have to involve local
communities, key local agencies and other groups such as
neighbourhood forums and church organisations.
Action has already been taken by the group to support local
- Guidance The Association of Chief Police Officers has circulated
guidance to every police force highlighting the ways in which the
police can contribute to building good community relations. The group
is also working with the LGA to produce guidance to local authorities
in every part of the country based on the best practice of local
- Expanding summer activities through government offices for the
regions, encouraging local communities - not just those with a
history of racial tension - to offer summer activities to young
people, particularly ones which bring together different groups. In
many cases this will involve expansion of existing programmes.
Examples include Sport England football club summer programmes, arts
and theatre projects through Summer Splash (run by the Youth Justice
Board) and outward bound courses (sponsored by the DfES). These
programmes have a part to play in fostering communities through
activities which bring together young people.
- Promoting local dialogue The ministerial group is encouraging and
supporting local councils to look pro-actively at the relationships
between various communities in their areas. This recognises that the
recent disorder has involved or affected many people in different
communities who do not feel they have a powerful voice at local
The ministerial group is now setting up a small dedicated review team
to undertake further work within communities over the summer. It will
provide a direct link between ministers and these communities.
The review team will seek views from people on the ground, working
closely with local people to identify further what needs to be done.
This team will work in areas that have suffered violence as well as
similar areas that have not.
The review team will provide a clear link between local communities
and ministers, reporting regularly over the summer and producing a
finalreport and recommendations in September. It will be an
important way of helping local people provide local solutions, while
drawing out issues for policy consideration at national as well as
local and community levels.
1. Other ministerial members of the group are Angela Eagle, Nick
Raynsford, Barbara Roche and Ivan Lewis. The CRE was also invited to
join the group and has been represented by Beverley Bernard.
2. This group will be complemented by the development of long term
policy proposals by the Policy Innovation Unit based in the Cabinet
3. The PIU will report in Spring 2002. It will examine the current
position, prospects and experiences of Britain's ethnic minority
populations, and the factors shaping these. The particular focus of
the project will be on the labour market, since this is viewed as
being of central importance to - as well as shaping - life chance
factors such as health and housing.
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