Tackling Britain's Street Crime Problem: A National Problem Solving Approach?

Jonathan Smith, Home Office, London
Andy Feist, Home Office, London
Mark Bangs, Home Office, London

Against a background of overall reductions in recorded crime in recent years in England and Wales, annual increases in robberies stand out as a disturbing counter trend. Most of these robberies are personal robberies committed by groups of young males against other male victims, most often for small amounts of money, but increasingly for their mobile cell phones. They form the bulk of what the public and media commentators alike refer to in short hand has the 'street crime problem'. In March 2002 the British Prime Minister announced a concerted cross government initiative bringing together not only the police and criminal justice agencies, but also departments of government with responsibilities for a range of social issues, including employment, education, sport, transport and heatlth. The Government's aim to bring the problem of street crime under control by September 2002 and deal with offenders quickly and effectively marked a radical step-change in problem solving crime reduction approaches. This paper outlines the initiative and considers its impact during the first six months of its operation, as well as its potential application to other crime-related problems.

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Updated 05/20/2006