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Parish and town councils are not using the powers they currently have to make a real difference in reducing crime, ...
Parish and town councils are not using the powers they currently have to make a real difference in reducing crime, a new guide from Nacro, the crime reduction charity, and The Countryside Agency argues.

Section 17 of the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act places crime reduction at the heart of all council business. These little-understood and underused powers give town and parish councils huge opportunities to influence crime-fighting measures in their patch.

The guide outlines practical and affordable examples of measures that can significantly reduce local problems of crime and antisocial behaviour. It includes an appendix of key powers, demonstrating how everything from grass cutting to the placing of street lighting can be used in the fight against crime.

Mark Deane of Nacro's Crime and Social Policy Unit said:

'With much of the debate around crime and disorder being focused on our urban areas, this guide shows how the crime concerns of country residents can be addressed in an effective and practical way. The powers now available mean that rural councils can take the lead in making communities safer, partnering with local people and reducing the burden of local police.'

Margaret Clark, a Countryside Agency director, said,

'As our recent State of the Countryside 2002 report shows, although levels of reported crime are lower in the countryside than in cities, rural people have real concerns about crime in rural areas. We hope that this guide will help local authorities at all levels to address the needs of local communities and plan and promote better community safety strategies.'


1. 'Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, a Practical Guide for Parish and Town Councils', is written by Mark Deane and Susan Doran and is published by Nacro in partnership with The Countryside Agency.

2. The guide includes an appendix demonstrating how planning powers provided under statutory regulations have potentially wide-ranging crime and disorder consequences. Examples cited include litter and public health problems resulting from uncut grass verges and public safety issues resulting from inadequate street lighting. Each relevant local authority power is listed alongside a statutory provision, its associated crime and disorder issue and an example of how a crime reduction response should be implemented.

3. Nacro, the crime reduction charity, is dedicated to making society safer. We have an unrivalled expertise in developing effective solutions to crime and stimulating fresh thinking on how best to reduce it, based on over 30 years of experience. Combining practical services to individuals, communities and organisations with pioneering campaigns, Nacro lobbies for better ways to reduce crime, while demonstrating how this might be done in practice.

4. The Countryside Agency is responsible for advising government and taking action on issues affecting the economic, social and environmental well being of the English countryside.

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