Government policy now links prevention and enforcement as key outcomes in delivering change, and it's within the preventative agenda that sport and culture can play a role
It has long been recognised that culture and sport have an important role to play in preventing young people becoming involved in crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB). In response to this, the National Culture Forum (NCF) and the Chief Cultural and Leisure Ofﬁcers Association (CLOA) have produced a new policy document entitled The Role of Culture and Sport in Reducing Crime and Anti Social Behaviour.
The document has been designed to help providers of culture and sport services better understand community safety and crime reduction agendas - and it is hoped it will provide a mandate for shared action in the future.
It identiﬁes some ways that leisure providers can contribute to reducing the actuality and fear of crime by engaging with the right partnerships, and provides guidance on better evidencing the contribution the sector can make to local priority outcomes.
A number of real case studies show the impact that a range of interventions have had on diver ting those most at risk of offending through culture and sports-based activities.
With the cost of placing one young person in custody for a year at around £45,000, councils and their partners will need to renew the focus on innovative ways of providing services to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
Government policy now links prevention and enforcement as key outcomes in delivering change and it's within the preventative agenda that sport and culture can play an important role in providing better community safety outcomes, perhaps most speciﬁcally in the area of anti-social behaviour.
Preventative activities are often referred to as diversionary activities and operate at three levels:
• To offer preventative activities in areas of high crime/high deprivation.
• To offer preventative activities for those young people who are known to be at speciﬁc risk.
• To offer diversionary activities to young people who are currently in the system to prevent them re-offending or developing a criminal career.
Focused work with young people on the cusp of offending or involved in low level crime can signiﬁcantly reduce enforcement costs. For example, government agencies within England and Wales spent an estimated £3bn dealing with ASB in 2004.
The Police and Crime Commissioners will be responsible for the commissioning of community safety activity; this is a fundamental change and will mean that Community Safety Partnerships will have to seek funding from them unless the local council is willing to replace the funding previously supplied through the Community Safety Fund.
Participation in the Community Safety Partnership is a way for culture and sport providers to highlight the valuable role they can play in both the support and prevention agendas. So what should providers of culture and sport do next?
• Read the document and seek to understand the context that community safety and crime reduction providers are operating in.
• Share this document and discuss priority local actions with colleagues and delivery partners, such as county sports partnerships, regularly funded organisations and other stakeholders.
• Investigate the issues that your local Community Safety Partnerships are addressing and identify how your ser vices can contribute.
• Engage with your Community Safety Partnerships by demonstrating what you can do for them locally.
• Offer to deliver ser vices that help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour taking place. Consider forming a broader consortium of providers to strengthen your proposal.
• Develop an outcomes framework for Safer Communities. This will help you measure and evidence the difference your service makes to local priorities. It will also help you make the case for continued investment of public money.
• Share successful examples via CLOA and other best practice networks.
As part of your ongoing leadership development, maintain your knowledge and further your understanding of this important area of policy.