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The fear of crime will not fall unless much more is done to enlist the support of the majority of people in London'...
The fear of crime will not fall unless much more is done to enlist the support of the majority of people in London's communities and the 'hard to hear' groups, says Toby Harris, chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority.

'Without the involvement of the majority of the people who make up our communities, together with all key stakeholders, our efforts are at best unproductive, at worst a complete waste of time.

'But it has proved very difficult to reach people at borough or even council ward level due to the complexities of our richly diverse communities.

'We now need to look at contacting smaller groups of people in units of hundreds of households rather than thousands, to be able to communicate effectively with the majority of people within their own environment and through their own channels.

'In the past, we have cast the net too wide and too generally, we now need to rethink our strategies and find news ways of opening up dialogue with more people than ever before. We especially need to reach out to the hard to hear groups who often feel isolated from mainstream society through language or cultural barriers.

'If we give people a reason to participate in our crime-fighting initiatives, together with a specified outcome, most people will want to be involved in building a safer community for their families, friends and themselves.

'Police authorities has a specific remit to consult with their communities over local policing plans. But we all need to do much more to engage the majority - not just rely on the usual small core of community activists. They will help in any case.

'Many people's lives are being blighted through the activity of the gunmen and drug dealers, others have to put up with nuisance and anti-social crime, such as vandalism and intimidation. It is time the silent majority of decent, law-abiding citizens joined us to stand up to the minority of thugs and hooligans who seem to think they are untouchable.

'The MPA now has a statutory partnership role within the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, and has made £50,000 available to each borough commander to invest in partnership projects. The success of these will be greatly enhanced if we can convince the majority of our communities to play an active role in their implementation.'

MPA members responsible for specific geographical areas across London will now work even closer with local authorities, police borough commanders, crime and disorder reduction partnerships, consultative groups and others to contact and convince more people to take positive action to support the fight against crime and disorder. Greater numbers of police and the introduction of up to 1,000 police community support officers in the London boroughs by the end of March will help bolster public confidence.

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