Local Crime Reduction scheme receives award for work to deliver safer communities

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The Yeovil Crime Reduction Team (YCRT), which responds to incidents like shoplifting and anti-social behaviour and helps the people who cause them, has received an award from Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI), which works alongside the Police Service to encourage and deliver safer communities.

The team has radio links to its members, like shops and pubs, runs the exclusion scheme and works closely with the police CCTV control room to keep the town centre safe.

However, over the last three years, the YCRT has demonstrated its commitment to getting to know the individuals who come to their attention so they can be helped to a wide range of support agencies that offer practical support such as shelter, medical treatment, counselling and even food and clothes.

Above: Gareth Williams, YCRT scheme co-ordinator (centre), with team members and support agency representatives 

The aim is to break the cycle of repeat offending and social exclusion and to try to tackle the underlying issues. These could be mental health, drug abuse, homelessness, difficulties with welfare benefits, domestic violence or a number of these, or other issues.

The team’s pioneering work has been so effective that it led to an 11% reduction in crime in Yeovil town centre in the 12 months to April 2017.

The YCRT’s new approach offering early intervention and triage services started in earnest after it became involved with the Yeovil One Team, which was set up as a Police & Crime Commissioner initiative to be a multi-agency hub, bringing together key organisations to share information about individuals with safeguarding needs.

In March 2019, YCRT’s hard work was rewarded with a ‘Business Crime Reduction Partnership’ Award from Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, the BCRP accreditation body, which runs a number of crime prevention initiatives to deter and reduce crime.

BCRPs are required to demonstrate good practice and professionalism by ensuring they are functioning in an ethical manner and within the law. The criteria cover membership agreements, data security and compliance with current legislation.

The scheme’s co-ordinator Gareth Williams said: “I am passionate about wanting to make Yeovil a better and safer place for people to come during the day and evening. All the organisations that we work with are working towards this goal. It’s very much an award for the team.”

Lindsay Hodges, Housing Specialist, South Somerset District Council, said the council work closely with the YCRT and all the other support agencies involved in the partnership.

She explained: “It’s a really useful tool. When trying to find appropriate accommodation, we work together to find solutions. Some of those people who have been unhouse-able previously, we have seen getting housed.”

Lindsay added: “We know that as a result of all these efforts, there has been a reduction in homelessness, and people presenting to Accident & Emergency and so on – so it has a positive knock-on effect all round.”

Presenting the award to the team in Yeovil on 15 March, Guy Collyer, who has oversight of the BCRP accreditation for PCPI, said: “It’s not only commendable what you have achieved, but also it’s incredible. What you see from the media is that the Police Service cannot do it alone. It needs the help of BCRPs.”

Yeovil’s assessment was carried out by Revive & Thrive, one of two organisations authorised to carry out this work nationally.

Matt Powell, Director, of Revive & Thrive, said: "We are incredibly pleased that the new standards for accreditation have been launched with such an outstanding example of what Business Crime Reduction Partnerships can achieve. Yeovil is setting a standard that other BCRPs should be aspiring to and Revive & Thrive is proud to have assessed this, the first of many partnerships which will go on to receive this award."

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