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Issue:- 21 July 2011


CRIME has continued to fall in Merseyside for the 5th consecutive year with 7,617 fewer victims of crime in the last 12 months (April 2010 to March 2011).  Statistics released by the latest official British Crime Survey and Home Office, show a 7.1% reduction of crime in Merseyside compared to a national fall of 4.3%.

The Force has seen significant reductions in anti-social behaviour of 9,451 offences (11.2%), criminal damage revealing 3,941 fewer offences (16.8%) and vehicle crime with a fall of 2,135 offences (18.9%).   In addition, burglary and serious acquisitive crime have reduced, as have violent offences such as assault and robbery.  In Merseyside, robbery has decreased by 14.8% (240 offences) bucking the national trend of an increase in robbery offences of 1.4% - a difference of 16.2%.

Drug offences have increased by 0.1% (15 offences) following pro-active police activity and an increase in members of the community coming forward with information.  Sex offences have also risen by 22.4% (equating to 207 offences) following the set up of the Unity team - a specialist rape unit with dedicated officers and CPS prosecutors. Sex offences are traditionally under-reported but since the Unity team was created, the Force has seen more offenders brought to justice and an increase in confidence of victims willing to come forward.

Assistant Chief Constable Helen King said:- "I am pleased to be able to report that homes are safer in Merseyside than in our most similar force areas with the fall in burglary in Merseyside being three times greater than the national average. We are also second lowest out of the Metropolitan forces for business burglaries. Merseyside has additionally seen a fall in robbery of almost 15% at a time when robbery across the UK has increased.  It is also positive news that in Merseyside, the likelihood of being assaulted is much lower than the national average, with our Force dealing with the fewest incidents of violence out of all the Metropolitan forces. This is reflective of the hard work and dedication of our officers and partners in reducing this sort of violent crime in our communities with a wide-range of initiatives to tackle alcohol and drug-related violence including city and town centre zones and the opening of the 'Cop Shop' in Liverpool city centre. We also work closely with partners to reduce domestic violence. All of these specific initiatives helped in bringing about this significant reduction in violent crimes.  Overall, we have seen a reduction in crime of 7.1%, which equates to 7,671 fewer victims in the last 12-month period compared to a national picture of 4.3%.  This continued year on year reduction is testament to the dedication of our officers and staff, and the work we do with partners and communities.  We have shown to all the residents of Merseyside that if you come to us with information we will act on it.  But we will not be complacent and will continue to strive to see further year on year reductions to ensure there are fewer victims of crime in Merseyside and our communities are a safe and happy place for everyone."

The number of people saying Merseyside Police are doing an excellent job has increased to 60.2% from 55.8% compared to a national average of 58.7%.

Merseyside Police Authority Chairman, Cllr Bill Weightman, added:- "Yet again crime is down in Merseyside which is great news for our communities.  Merseyside Police Authority places great importance on the views of members of the public when agreeing our priorities with Merseyside Police. The reduction in crime we see today is testament to the partnership working between the Authority and Chief Constable in targeting resources at anti-social behaviour, which has reduced by over 11%, and other priority areas. Such reductions in crime are particularly impressive considering the cuts in government funding, and are evidence of the continued hard work and dedication of our police officers and staff during this period of change."

£10m bid for housing renewal in Liverpool

THE city council has submitted a bid for £10 million of HMR Transition Funding, as part of its continuing work to protect vulnerable Liverpool residents and allow housing renewal to continue, by identifying and drawing down funding from different sources.

The Government announced the creation of the £30 million HMR Transition Fund in May, to re-house the residents left most vulnerable and stranded in clearance areas as a result of the ending of HMR funding.

Following an extensive review of the current picture in Liverpool, and taking into account the strict criteria set down for the funding, the city council has included the following 5 areas in its bid:-

Anfield Breckfield – Phases 3-5
Easby Estate – Phases 1-5
Welsh Streets – Phases 1 and 2
Edge Hill – Phases 1-3
Picton – Phases 1-3

All of these areas meet the criteria, which states that funding must focus on streets and areas which are between 10% and 50% occupied and which suffer from the worst dereliction.

The cost of acquiring homes in these areas, re-housing residents, demolishing properties and preparing sites for rebuild by private developers is £21.06 million. Because any Transition Fund awarded by the Government has to be match-funded by local authorities, Liverpool is bidding for £10.53 million.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, Councillor Ann O’Byrne, said:- "It’s absolutely vital that we continue to fight for any funding we can get for housing renewal in this city. We need to keep pressure on the government, identify new funding sources, work with communities and private partners and make positive decisions for the areas which need it the most.  The scrapping of HMRI funding was a huge, huge blow to this city, and even if we are successful in securing this funding, it will be a drop in the ocean compared to what we have lost. The narrow criteria also meant there were a number of areas in the city not eligible for this funding. But I want to reassure those residents not included in this bid that we will continue to work tirelessly to secure funding from other sources.  There are many challenges ahead, but this bid for transition funding reaffirms our commitment to do everything we can to improve life our most vulnerable residents, and forms part of our wider plans to drive forward housing renewal in this city."

Merseyside’s Pathfinder programme is one of five in the country identified as ‘most challenged’ by the Government, making the region eligible to bid for a share of the £30 million Transition Funding.

As well as stipulating that funds should be focused on streets or areas with between 10% and 50% occupation rates, the criteria when applying for funding also states:-

Extensive intervention has to have already been made in the areas using HMR grant funding.

It cannot be used to ‘open up’ new phases of acquisition and possible demolition.

The strict criteria meant other areas looked at closely by the city council, including Anfield Breckfield Phases 6 and 7 and Welsh Streets Phase 3, are not eligible for HMR Transition Funding and could not, therefore, be included in the city’s bid.

The city council is now exploring longer term solutions for these areas, so that regeneration and housing renewal can continue.

A decision on the award of HMR Transition Funding is expected to be made by the Government in August.

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