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Will the Newlove report gather dust?

Mark Easton | 16:29 UK time, Tuesday, 29 March 2011

When Helen (Conservative Baroness) Newlove was introduced to the media last November as the government's "champion for active, safer communities", the Home Secretary Theresa May said:

"I look forward to seeing the results of her work which will help us all build safer and more confident communities free from crime and anti-social behaviour."
Baroness Newlove


Was there an expectation that the report the Home Office had commissioned from the widow of murdered father Garry Newlove might lead to ministerial action on dealing with the kind of anti-social behaviour that ultimately led to her husband's tragic death?

Certainly, Lady Newlove must have heard sceptical voices suggesting her efforts would be ignored, because in introducing her list of proposals today she says this:

"To cynics who may be saying 'here we go again, another set of recommendations, another report to gather dust' I'd like them to remember the spirit that sustained, then rebuilt this shattered country during and after the war."

Lady Newlove makes it clear that her recommendations are "to government, to local agencies and to communities". Most of her ideas would seem to require at least Home Office or government support. Some are already coalition policies. I have highlighted the ones that I think would probably require ministerial backing.

• Community reward - where information provided by the community leads to a conviction the community is given a reward to spend on crime prevention work;
• Bling back - where money made from selling local drug dealers' assets is handed back to the neighbourhood they blighted;
• letting communities set their own local speed limits;
• taking crime maps to the next level so people can use them to report crime and ASB (anti-social behaviour) and agencies can publish details of what action was taken against offenders;
• giving the public a single point of contact through the roll out of the 101 number to report ASB;


These measures could be achieved without central government support:

• providing council tax rebates, or vouchers for local businesses and services, for people who take part in activism;
• asking Police and Crime Commissioners to commit at least one per cent of their budget to grass roots community groups to use or have a say on;
• encouraging public servants to go out into communities, volunteering their time and expertise to support local groups;
• pooling agencies' budgets, giving communities a choice in how it is spent; and
• changing the '9 to 5' culture of local agencies so they are there to respond when people need them most.


So what is the response of the home secretary to the Newlove recommendations? The Home Office was not sure whether Theresa May had read the report yet but said this to me:

"It is not one of those reports that we immediately respond to. We will look at it."

No minister was available for interview on the subject, but a short statement from the Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire ran as follows:

"Since her appointment Baroness Newlove has been working tirelessly to inspire, challenge, support and learn from areas across the country. I look forward to seeing how her report will help to shape how we approach community activism in the future."

I suspect, in time, Mr Brokenshire will tell us that "taking crime maps to the next level" and "giving the public a single point of contact through the roll out of the 101 number" are great ideas. They are already Home Office policy.

But what about "Bling back" and "Community reward"? The Home Office told me the government was not convinced about the effectiveness of "directives from central government, particularly around anti-social behaviour". But I wonder if the power to implement such policies really could be devolved to local level.

Ministers have always seen the Newlove report as aimed at the grass roots not at themselves. It is a classic example of what the new "post-bureaucratic age" of localism and the Big Society looks like.


  • Comment number 1.

    "Since her appointment Baroness Newlove has been working tirelessly to inspire, challenge, support and learn from areas across the country. I look forward to seeing how her report will help to shape how we approach community activism in the future." Why do you bother to print such meaningless waffle?

    It will be interesting to see how the recommendations play with the cuts to local government, the police and the civil servants who will hardly be motivated to give up more of their time having been so heartedly caned by the coalition on pay and pensions. First big test of the Big Society embraces localism? The outcome is easy to predict.

  • Comment number 2.

    Looks like a Snitches' Charter to me.

  • Comment number 3.

    Just dealing with a neighbour whose house has just been stoned by around 15 kids, just waiting to find out if our cctv camera that took ages to fit gets the kids chucking stones at the house.

    I would love to see the baroness spread the love but it really ain't going to happen..

    flagship website for crime

    For this to happen and the community to take back streets etc a lot of heads will need to be banged all well and good saying call the police to every incident, but at the end of the day the police dont live there dont have to deal with the trouble.

    Trust me when i say you get one hard nut or one that's to slippy for the police to nail down then your life will become hell. Through stuff you cant prove, one neighbour 15 wing mirrors later just didn't bother buying a new one eventually got a warning of the police and made to replace it at @£60ish a new mirror it soon gets expensive. Other neighbours have had to hire garages streets away to lock up their cars because of unprovable damage.

    We have CCTV 2* £20k cameras and one mobile manned camera. Still it goes on.

    Then we move to the all to common sink estate future no go zones as drugs will become the dominant force driving the underlying economics and will be heavily protected. As we see current proposals on drug mules esentaily decriminalising the transport of what could be considered personal use you have to ask has this been factored in to create the Bling payments back to communities. 55 grams of cocaine or heroin pure will cut around 8 times dependent on grade 2 ounces of cocaine becomes 14 to 16 ounces.... I kilo of cannabis 32 ounces £6400.

    Im starting to get really confused by all these ideas maybe the people suggesting them should experience first hand for 6 months a problem street / neighbourhood using an alias so they cant be prioritised by the services WE rely upon. Then write a report on how best to deal with the problems.

    Seem to remember Micheal Portillo playing mum for a week or 2 in Seacombe shortly afterwards he left his party post because of the way the mum had to struggle just to pay the milk bill.

  • Comment number 4.

    When the people of this country are allowed to elect judges who will remove criminal elements from our streets on a permanent basis ( if they are in jail they cannot commit crimes ) there will be no improvement in the situation. It is pointless the police wasting time pursuing criminals and the human trash that commit the anti social behaviour when they know full well that all the hassle of arresting them and the mountain of paperwork involved is a complete waste of time, because if the prosecutor even bothers taking them to court, the judge will take an ultra liberal view and they will be out on the street unpunished within days.

  • Comment number 5.

    If money is miraculously available for foreign no-fly zones all of a sudden, surely money for 'no crime zones' could be implemented without another hike in council tax. If government channelled as much effort into battles on their own soil, as they do abroad, perhaps a regime of crime might once and for all be broken. The excuse there isn't money available in this economic climate to tackle the ideas of Lady Newlove and her passionate cause doesn't seem credible.

    Why isn't the Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire doing the work of Lady Newlove?
    Isn't there a clue in the minister's job title as to what the ministerial role should be? Surely the job of government is to notice what is going on at grass roots level and put action and law into place to start to solve crime problems. Why aren't the local police already the focal point for implementing local needs, following discussions with the public in their community and on the beat? After all, the local police ought to know what is happening at grass roots level on their beats. I thought this is what our council tax pays for, does it not? Isn't this where the focus of the Home Office should be.

    Why can't once and for all there be less red tape to go through, just to implement common sense ideas more directly and interactively with the public. Government shouldn't shirk their responsibilities and listen to the passionate Lady Newlove if they can't be bothered to do the leg work themselves.

    Surley government must supply the finance to set things up immediately if council tax budgets are not working and appoint someone with the responsibility or create a new role in the local police to implement Newlove's ideas in their budget for the year. Extra money above council tax police quotas really ought to be made available for the 'Big Push' in the battle for our 'Big Society'.

  • Comment number 6.

    It does seem that Lady Newlove has been employed to write a report containing nothing new. Most of her suggestions have been mentioned before and to be honest few are truly relevant. Another poster said it best when they said that one of the people writing these reports should actually LIVE as one of the people they are trying to protect TODAY before they make suggestions. Not really sure what she thinks allowing communities to make their own speed limit will achieve apart from singling out areas. Seems to me that this BIG society's sole intent is to split the nation up into tribal areas where the locals run the show.
    Closing community centers and youth groups, putting the trouble teens back on the streets is not the way to reduce ASB, nor is stretching the police even further.

    If the Gov't really want to actively reduce anti social behaviour and crime in the community, they need to talk to either the people who are suffering from these problems NOW or even better, the people causing them.

  • Comment number 7.

    Same old story. New Report with recommendations at a considerable cost to the tax payer, Ministers pick out some of the recommendations and make a half-hearted attempt to implement them. Give it a year and it will shown to be not working and will disappear through cuts!

    The facts are very simple, most 'no go' areas have crimes that are committed by a core of individuals and can account for a large proportion of problems. It is proven that these individuals are known to the community and the Police but they (the perpetrators) remain at large terrorizing the community at will knowing that nothing will be done.

    Rather than waiting for these individuals to grow in confidence and increase there level of anti-social behavior, these individuals need to be targeted and bought to justice with harsh penalties for them and their family. I include the criminals family in the penalties as in most if not all the cases, family members are fully aware of what is going on.

    Handing out harsh penalties will regain the confidence of the communities which have often been let down by the courts and police when it comes to prosecution. Why should law abiding community members report a crime if nothing will be done and in all probability lead to them being targeted by the perpetrator.

    Parents must be made accountable for their children! This lack of accountability is partly to blame for the problems we have on our streets. Punishing illegal and anti-social behaviour and using education to change future behaviour in the perpetrators and the community at large is no quick fix, It will take time and effort from all involved but over time, we can rid our streets of disease once and for all.

    Acting tomorrow is not an option, the longer we leave it, the harder it will be to remove this disease in our community. The streets belong to us and we need to reclaim them.

    Oh but wait, we have no money for this! Well, we have enough money to flatten Libya but no money to save our towns and cities! The hypocrisy of democracy.

  • Comment number 8.

    there are places ,lots of places that dont make the news unless someone dies ,today we the chip kids they are great with computer games but no good with dealing with life .there are a lot of factors in this one being police process time costs money ,and they dont like to spend it, the courts are told by government not to send anyone to jail as they are full to the brim [and it costs money ] ,

    these psyco kids are are getting away with murder all over the country and the police are told not to touch them because it costs to much ,and they will tell you not to go out and take them on the reason is simple if they stamp on your head the police have to start to fill in forms and there are performance related issues with unsold cases :

  • Comment number 9.

    The problem with Baroness Newlove's proposals is the background against which they appear. Take away the public sector cuts and they appear a little more affable, but against the Coalition agenda they are simply a part of a political masquerade.

    You can almost smell the venison over which the conversation must have taken place: I'll do Big Society and you do Big Help.

  • Comment number 10.

    7. At 07:59am on 30th Mar 2011, czechmate75 wrote:
    Acting tomorrow is not an option, the longer we leave it, the harder it will be to remove this disease in our community. The streets belong to us and we need to reclaim them.

    National politicians do not seem to really care about "our" streets but only about "their" streets. As wealth (in money terms) becomes more unequal the real future is gated communities and private security.

  • Comment number 11.

    all over the country councils are getting government grants for covering up crime numbers ,it works like this its called a partnership the council prints up leaflets with a phone number on it to report a big list of everything from antisocial behavior to criminal damage and there are separate catagories for and phone numbers for all listed crimes ,so you end up phoning the council instead of the police [THIS KEEPS THE REPORTED CRIME FIGURES FOR THE POLICE ,SO THEY CAN GET THERE BONUS !
    A nd the government can say [REPORTED CRIME IS DOWN ]
    So the gov pay the councils ,and they do well with this one the police do well because REPORTED CRIME IS DOWN and the only people doing badly IS THE PUBLIC

    Antisocial crime is on the up it just dont make the headlines unless someone is killed or its so bad like a certain council estate in bournemouth its out of control and there is a vonrable disabled issue involved :

  • Comment number 12.

    A real time view of police none action on [antisocial behavior ]
    yobs outside the side fence lots of banging and shouting i go to the fence only to have it kicked in on me ,a nail from a piece of fence hits my hand and cuts deep into the gap between my fingers its pouring blood ,the scum from the estate run off
    [ doing the birdie ] my wife phones the police and gets fobed off ,i phone the police and they turn up 15/20 later ,they say they have been looking for them ! thats strange iv not given a discription ! they then ask for a discription ,you know they are not going to bother and so do they ,the only follow up is a phone call from some unelected body doing a survey into police performance !
    doutless for a bonus review :

  • Comment number 13.

    Another report ,a vauge reference to a massive problem that the government is responsable for ,by not looking for antisocials [SAVING MONEY ] and giving the councils massive grants to set up a public /public partnership with the police so crime does get reported TO THE POLICE DIRECTLY BY THE PUBLIC .

    lets face it its all about money the government dont give a toss about peoples lives being destroyed by antisocial behavior ,they live in a safe inviroment with garranteed police response time of 2 minuets ,thats if they dont have outside their door 24 hours a day ,as for the rest of us just getting them to turn up can be a problem .

    these people dont have a clue what is happening on our streets they rely on their assistants to get figures and reports then they write a report and charge what they like ,how much did this report cost anyway?
    Was it discussed over lunch at the sovoy ? you can here them now [dont worry what lunch costs ,its on the expences !

    OY COME DOWN TO OUR PLACE FOR A WEEK the only problem is the police wont protect you from the ferrels from the council estate ,you can write a report from here thats if they dont stamp on your head !come to somerset :

  • Comment number 14.

    so you get a job" as an mp/minister everything you look see and touch is paid for you live in a nice area with a good police presence and a very short response time
    life is good there are no finacial worries and you can look forward to a fat pension

    the only problem is you have write a report about antisocial behavior but you have no idear what its like to live in the real world because you dont live there so you have to rely on other reports from other people who no idear whats its like in the real world then you put in a big bill for your fictional work !




  • Comment number 15.

    Local government is now obliged to publish every expenditure over £500. About time this central government did the same.

    I would like to see figures for the full cost of this report - including her expenses, admin support, publicity etc etc - full economic cost.

    Good value for tax payers money?

    (Mark - time for a freedom of information act request?)

  • Comment number 16.

    How to make the police work....
    Destroy their figures.
    Most crime spots go unattended by police for one simple reason a call only ever goes in to them everytime you phone a crime in also phone it into crime stoppers.
    This makes a report of the crime twice and means that the crime gets followed up, this is very useful when you have a group of neighbours who all do the same a group of 5 would generate 10 reports for every one crime.
    This in turn shows up in the next round of figures at crime stoppers and within the station as a problem area. keep this up and soon your road or street will be upgraded to priority one gold etc.
    This in turn costs more for the force as they are forced to act, which in turn justifies their place on our streets as our protectors.

    jon112dk indeed it would be nice to see what this cost us the tax payers especially those of us that already do what she has suggested.
    We turned down the speed cameras 2-3 years ago as a dangerous idea to members of the public, who have neither the protection of uniform or the protection of law. Laws are only enforceable by a man in uniform to bring about a uniformed platform that we all understand and obey. Mr or Mrs Jones with the speed camera stood at the gates is liable to get seriously assaulted by very angry motorists.

  • Comment number 17.

    Will this report gather dust? It probably already is,although it's all well meaning stuff,it wont make a blind bit of difference.
    What would make a difference is the legislation and controlled selling of all drugs as they seem to be the cause of huge amounts of crime within society.
    The tax revenues that would be generated from this could finance more police on the streets to tackle the real crimes,including a lot of the anti social behaviour that is probably fuelled by one of the governments legal drugs,alcohol,get this drug out of the supermarkets and corner stores and get some real control on the most dangerous drug that's in society would also make a huge difference.
    I cant see it happening though,the UK is just too Conservative for anything remotely radical,the last Labour lot were just a bunch of left wing Tory's,the Lib dems are just middle ground Tory's and the Tory's,well they've still got their heads in the 1950's,some of them in the 1850's.
    I wonder how many more innocent people have to be murdered as Baroness Newlove's husband was before anyone does anything to sort the mess out.

  • Comment number 18.

    Unfortunately, today, we have justice to a price not justice to a standard, mainly because we can longer afford to keep people in prison.

    Interesting how things change isn't it? Thirty years ago when people took the law into their own hands to dispense justice they were called vigilantes and even today people who defend themselves against criminals and those of an anti-social ilk usually end up on the wrong side of the law.

    Over the years sentences have become more and more lenient in all but the most violent crimes, so it's no wonder that criminals feel that they can get way with more.

    The state is rolling back its involvement to such a degree that some parts of the UK are no-go areas though chief constables will deny this.

    Some people are career criminals or are regularly anti-social given that they spend a large portion of their lives doing crimes and other anti-social activities. Ideally in the present circumstances it would be wonderful to jail them for life to stop them re-offending and save money and misery but this is not permitted as it violates THEIR human rights. Similarly we could have massive fines for anti-social activities that could be ploughed back into our law enforcement services but that is probably not allowed too.

    Given that economics play such a great part in the dispensing of justice, I'm just wondering if, in the interests of saving money & dispensing justice, we will see a return to the cheaper capital punishment for murder option rather than the more expensive 20 years to life sentence.

    Not only would this save a considerable amount of money, but, heaven knows it might also actually deter people from committing murder and allow us to put more police back on the streets.

    In that way brave people like Garry Newlove won't have to put their lives on the line unnecessarily and law-abiding citizens can live their lives in peace.

  • Comment number 19.

    17. At 16:46pm on 30th Mar 2011, slightlyallthetime wrote:
    What would make a difference is the legislation and controlled selling of all drugs as they seem to be the cause of huge amounts of crime within society.
    The tax revenues that would be generated from this could finance more police on the streets to tackle the real crimes...


    To cut costs, help funding and increase their street presence let the police sell them.....

  • Comment number 20.

    Newshounds... Gary Newlove will become a common occurrence in this new way forward of Helen Newlove.
    In the 8 years we have been doing this we have had windows put through threats of our house being burnt down by a very dangerous individual who was already known for very violent attacks on individuals with steel bars a sword, when we finally got shut of him shotgun shells were found in the property. It took over 18 months to get rid of him. I still look over my shoulder when im out because he was evicted before a residential ban was put on him along with an ASBO so never actual did any time for crimes. There are also many of his associate that would still like to take a piece out of me.

    One main rule that all police officers follow is never to work home grounds because of retaliation, In all the years I have dealt with the police I have never dealt with one that lives locally. Don't believe me ask a copper if they work were they live.

  • Comment number 21.

    In any community blighted by ASB, everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, knows where the root of the problem lies. So why is nothing ever done? Because the local police commander, and ulitmately the Chief Constable are not accountable to the hoi polloi. Police authorities are stuffed with the "great and the good" who have no practical concern for socio-economic classes D & E unless it is to rein them in, and keep them away from "decent people".

    If we want to see ASB taken seriously, then the local nick has to be accountable to the local population directly, and answer for their amazing ability to never be around when trouble flares - too cosy back at the station with a nice brew to be bothered to go out and deal with the problems of "little people" who have no voice, and no clout.

    If Mr Cameron wants to implement one element of the Big Society - vis a vis ASB - he should legislate to give local communities a direct say in how the local policing priorities are decided and implemented. Will it happen - I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 22.

    #19 Kit Green....Initially I thought that this was a good idea,putting the police in control of the distribution of legalised drugs,but on thinking about I dont think it would work, given that in excess of 3 million people use cannabis in the UK you would probably have to double the size of the police force to cope with the demand,also if it was legal then that 3 million would possibly double or even treble,it would be a full time job that could only be handled by licensed sellers.
    Having said that,the crime figures would almost certainly fall without the illegal trade in drugs and all it's attendant crime,add to that some restrictions on the sale of alcohol and the police would not be so busy and may have time to police the sale of legalised drugs,but as for distributing them,I dont think so.
    It aint gonna happen anyway,just as the Baroness's plans wont happen,it's all wishy washy Conservative thinking,she is,by nature or design a Conservative and thereby,opposed to change,they'd have us all dragged back to the 1950's when front gardens were all nicely kept and not concreted over for parking spaces,when we sat around on Sundays twiddling our thumbs with nothing to do because everything was shut,and cars came in one colour only,black.
    I grew up in the 50's and 60's and remember it well,the post war dream did not include the youth,we were to be seen and not heard,stand up during the National Anthem and respect our elders without question,things have moved on a bit since then but not for the Tory's who cling on to this ideal,and as the UK is predominantly Tory in essence then we'll have this impasse and the reality of the situation is overshadowed by dream.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    To John Ellis: well said, sir.

    The idea that we can possibly live with FEWER police is madness.

    If the government say that police jobs can be saved with efficiency savings, then I say, "Make the efficiency savings anyway and use the money to fund MORE police."

    In a civilised and rich country like ours, there should be no such thing as a sink estate or a no-go area.

  • Comment number 25.

    "In a civilised and rich country like ours, there should be no such thing as a sink estate or a no-go area."

    In a country where market forces are what determine the value and cost of everything there have to be sink estates 'to encourage the rest' as the French said when the Brits shot their own admiral. Or to put it another way 'to put the fear of god into us' so we all toe the line.

  • Comment number 26.

    Sorry about this ladys husband, But not everyone is willing to take the law into his/or hers own hands and dish out punishment to wrong types? if this was allowed the streets would not be safe for anyone to use, and many more unskilled people would be killed.Many areas' of the U.K. the police will not go without back up today.


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