Working together for a safer Sandwell

The new team leading Sandwell’s partnership efforts to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour has pledged to do everything it can to keep people safe and support victims.

The Safer Sandwell Partnership brings together the council, police, fire service, health, probation and many others to tackle crime and improve community safety.

This summer, Sandwell Police commander Chief Superintendent Richard Youds has become the new chair of the Safer Sandwell Partnership Local Police and Crime Board. And Councillor Maria Crompton, who became Sandwell Council's cabinet member for safer communities in May, has also joined the board.

The council's director of housing communities, Alan Caddick, is the board's vice chair. The board has set four key priorities for 2019-21, which are to:

* Work together to prevent and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Sandwell’s neighbourhoods

* Prevent violence and exploitation

* Reduce offending, reoffending and serious organised crime * Protect and support vulnerable victims

Chief Superintendent Youds said: "We recognise there's already some great work taking place in Sandwell that’s making a huge difference to people’s lives. "However, we know we always need to keep improving the way we work together across different organisations, especially in response to the changing nature and threat of modern crime.

The victims of these crimes are often the most vulnerable people in our community. "We also work very closely with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, West Midlands Community Safety Partnership, local community and voluntary organisations and councillors to set our priorities." The Safer Sandwell Partnership has put 'tasking' at the centre of its efforts.

This involves organisations working together in the six towns and at a borough-wide level to tackle issues quickly and properly, before they escalate into bigger problems and so the solutions last.

The partnership also has specific groups working on serious organised crime and preventing violence and exploitation, which includes modern slavery, human trafficking, domestic abuse and the exploitation of young people into criminal behaviour.

Councillor Maria Crompton said: "It's absolutely vital that everyone works together to ensure people are protected and to make sure they feel safe too. "I look forward to us building on what are already strong links between organisations in Sandwell to do everything we possibly can with the resources we have available. Because crime and anti-social behaviour is a concern for local people and their safety is always our number one priority."

The partnership is looking to build on a wide range of achievements from recent years, which include:

* A unique annual six-week campaign, Safer 6, which promotes safety, crime prevention and healthy living across the six towns – the 2019 campaign starts on 7 September.

* The lowest drug-related death rate in the West Midlands – with deaths due to drug misuse still falling and well below the national average. In addition, the proportion of 15-year-olds who use tobacco, alcohol or other drugs in Sandwell is lower than the average for England.

* Advice sessions delivered to thousands of young people across Sandwell on the dangers and consequences of carrying knives.

* Thousands of victims of domestic abuse supported by Black Country Women’s Aid and partner organisations.

* Targeted action to tackle anti-social behaviour and improve safety in West Bromwich town centre, supported by a public spaces protection order (PSPO).

* Sandwell Council’s ‘24/7’ CCTV and concierge service supporting police and partners to fight crime and anti-social behaviour by monitoring around 5,000 incidents a year and helping to solve cases.

* Sandwell’s Youth Offending Service being assessed as ‘Good’ with some outstanding areas of practice by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) in October 2018.

* National recognition for the See Something, Do Something campaign and Sandwell’s partnership approaches to tackling both modern slavery and reducing unauthorised encampments.

The Safer Sandwell Partnership works very closely with three other boards – the Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Board, Sandwell Children’s Safeguarding Partnership and Sandwell Safeguarding Adults Board.

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