Report reveals Community Safety Partnerships need a firmer basis

A report by Criminal Justice Inspection on Community Safety Partnerships has recognised the dedication shown by CSP members and co-ordinators to the concept of community safety.

“CJI’s Inspectors were impressed by the commitment displayed especially given the fact CSPs have had to develop voluntarily and function in a vacuum,” said Kit Chivers, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.
This situation has come about because unlike the Police Act 2000 which gave statutory effect to District Policing Partnerships (DPPs), Section 72 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002, which provides the legislative framework for the operation of CSPs, has not yet been brought into force,” he said.
The void created by the lack of a statutory basis for CSPs was the root of many of the weaknesses identified during the course of the inspection, indicated the Chief Inspector.
The inspection report also recommended the membership of CSPs operational and strategic tiers should be reviewed.
“At present, only three per cent of CSP membership is drawn from the private and community sector while the statutory sector accounts for 50% of all members. Therefore, reviewing the membership of both tiers at this point when CSPs have been in existence for three years, may allow for an increase in membership of those from a community background,” said Mr. Chivers.
Criminal Justice Inspection has also called for more robust arrangements to be put in place to monitor attendance at Community Safety Partnership meetings which would ensure non-attendance of members was followed up.
Looking to the future in the context of the Review of Public Administration, Mr. Chivers said the report recommended that policy makers consider integrating District Policing Partnerships and Community Safety Partnerships.
“Such restructuring would lead to the establishment of one operational community safety/policing tier in each Council area,” he said.
“Criminal Justice Inspection does not envisage DPPs taking over CSPs or vice versa, but having carried out this inspection we believe some new thinking is required that will take into account the experience of both bodies.”
“Therefore, we are urging policy makers to look again at the vision laid out in the Patten report and echoed in the Criminal Justice Review,” concluded the Chief Inspector.