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SWALE BC LAUNCHES INNOVATIVE COMMUNITY SAFETY PLAN

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An innovative plan, designed to change the way crime and disorder is tackled across the borough is to go out to con...
An innovative plan, designed to change the way crime and disorder is tackled across the borough is to go out to consultation to the people it most affects and who could be its toughest critics - Swale residents. Making a Difference is the title of the draft community safety plan prepared by the Swale Crime and Disorder Group, in response to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The group is a partnership between the Police, Swale BC and other local community organisations.

However, the legislation is poised to bring about real changes to our community by calling on local agencies to pool their experience and resources, to develop strategies that tackle not just the effects, but also the root causes of crime and anti social behaviour. In Swale, after careful analysis of a wealth of statistics on local crime and related social problems, the Crime and Disorder Group drew up a list of priorities for action. These priorities are presented in the draft community safety plan.

So it is now over to the public, who are asked to look through the plan and fill in their comments using a short questionnaire that can be returned to a Freepost address at the council. All the comments and suggestions sent in by the end of January will be taken into consideration for an updated version of the plan which will set out priorities for action in terms of timescales and resources. This final plan must be ready for April 1999.

During the consultation period copies of the plan will be widely available in public places including council offices, libraries, leisure centres and doctors' and dentists' waiting rooms. Throughout January, members of the Crime and Disorder Group will also be in supermarkets, handing out copies to shoppers and answering questions.

Swale's chief executive, Chris Edwards, says: 'We have already enjoyed success with the partnership approach to making Swale a better place to live. The Swale Community Partnership has been working with local people in five of our most needy wards, to decide how best to use government regeneration funds to bring about real improvements.

'Making a Difference is about organising the agencies who can make things happen. But the public has a part to play too, by telling us what issues we should act on.'

Superintendent Ken Monckton from Swale Police says: 'I hope that many people living and working in the borough - whose lives are affected by crime and disorder - will want to comment on the plan. Constructive views particularly will better enable all the partners to pull together and in an effort to disarm criminals and their activities. I would emphasise the need of residents' involvement, to enable us to produce the final version of the community safety plan, which will be launched in April next year.'

The Crime and Disorder Group comprises representatives from: Swale BC, East Kent Health Authority, Swale Police, West Kent Health Authority, Kent Probation Service, Kent CC, Crown Prosecution Service and Swale Housing Association.

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