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Targets for cutting crime will be set by a new national agency, home office minister David Maclean announced today....
Targets for cutting crime will be set by a new national agency, home office minister David Maclean announced today.

The Crime Prevention Agency, launched last November, will look to set targets for partnerships to meet in a number of important areas.

Mr Maclean made the announcement as he officially opened the Crime Prevention College at Easingwold in North Yorkshire.

Mr Maclean said:

'The new agency will help to underpin Britain's position as a world leader in crime prevention. Its task will be to initiate and develop good ideas, in partnership with other bodies, including local authorities, business, the voluntary sector and the wider community.

'The agency is developing a national strategy building on the Association of Chief Police Officer's crime prevention strategy and encompassing action against retail and vehicle crime, crime on problem estates, and the new threats posed by technological crime.

'I want the agency to look at those and other aspects of crime prevention to see if it is possible to introduce meaningful targets in areas such as retail crime and crime on problem estates.

'I want the agency to set targets to concentrate the mind.'

Mr Maclean also announced that the College is looking to develop training for Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators, with plans for an introductory course before the end of the year.

Mr Maclean said he would like the Crime Prevention College to emphasise partnership, and to offer training for other criminal justice agencies and for the private and the voluntary sector.

He said:

'Around the country partnerships involving the police, the private sector, local authorities and Neighbourhood Watch volunteers are demonstrating effective ways to tackle crime.

'The college will build on these local achievements and help to export best practice around the country.

'Already we have encouraging results. In 1995, recorded crime in England and Wales fell for the third consecutive year.

'It is only the third time this century that crime has fallen three years running. That means that last year there were 468,000 fewer crimes - fewer victims - than in 1992.'

The Crime Prevention College has moved to Easingwold after many years in temporary 'portacabin' accommodation in Stafford. It will share the premises with the Emergency Planning College.

Mr Maclean said:

'Throughout World War II, the anti-gas training school was housed here, providing a vital element in Britain's air raid precautions.

'It is appropriate that a building which contributed to Britain's war efforts between 1939 and 1945 should now be contributing to a different effort, that of building a safer Britain.'

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