Crime and Vandalism Corporate Policy

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OCTOBER 2009

SCRUTINY REVIEW

INVESTIGATING VANDALISM
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“The real significance of crime is in its being a breach of faith with the community of mankind” Joseph Conrad, „Lord Jim‟, Chapter 14 (1900)

CONTENTS Page CHAIRMAN’S FOREWORD RECOMMENDATIONS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 INTRODUCTION VANDALISM IN THE GUERNSEY CONTEXT THE IMPACT OF VANDALISM CORPORATE POLICY AND COORDINATION DRUGS AND ALCOHOL AMENITIES AND SOCIAL INCLUSION ATTRACTIVE ENVIRONMENT REPORTING AND DETECTION PENALTIES AND CONSEQUENCES 3 5 8 10 17 21 24 26 34 38 45 51

10 PUBLIC PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

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CHAIRMAN’S FOREWORD suggesting that vandalism should be addressed through a specific corporate policy, but the report has highlighted that there is a need for better coordination of existing social initiatives in recognition that they are all interconnected. Broader strategic plans, for example those seeking to address drug and alcohol abuse, poverty, social inclusion and crime and disorder generally, also stand to impact positively on criminal damage. Monitoring these far reaching effects will be key to demonstrating the performance of social strategies. This report does not suggest spending more money; most of the recommendations pick up on existing strategic commitments and seek to make sure these are delivered. Of course continued allocation of resources is far from certain and social policies tend to be the easier targets for cost cutting. More robust performance indicators and monitoring will assist in linking initiatives to tangible results and keeping in mind the long-term costs to the community of possible short-term cuts in expenditure. Fear of crime can be as damaging as an actual crime to an individual. On our small densely populated island, groups of young people can appear quite threatening, but as with other small communities, the dynamic or tension between the ages can be distorted because of the close proximity in which we all live. The review found that there is a perception that it is predominantly youths that commit vandalism and this would appear to be supported by the prosecution statistics. As a result, since the Committee was led by the evidence provided to it, the focus of the review and its recommendations leans towards addressing criminal damage caused by young people. However, the Committee is keen to stress that it is the actions of a few that is of concern and young people should not be viewed as a homogenous group or as having sole responsibility for causing the problem. The statistics might only point to the fact that young

The Committee chose to look at vandalism as its first major review as it was identified as a problem of significant concern for the Bailiwick and was felt to be a useful test of commitments made by various departments under the then Government Business Plan. Criminal damage is the most frequently reported crime and is indicative of a wider social issue of behaviour deemed unacceptable to society, with roots in sociological, environmental and psychological factors, affecting the whole community and crosscutting the responsibilities of several, if not all, States departments. The positive contributions to the review from almost 400 members of the public and from States‟ departments supported the view that this is an issue of significant importance to the community. It could be argued Guernsey is better placed than most to deal with the causes and effects of vandalism as we are, perhaps, not hindered by the sheer size and scale of other jurisdictions. The Committee considered that there might be scope to improve the community‟s ability to tackle vandalism with a more coordinated and corporate approach. On a practical level, the Committee has recommended better central coordination of policy and procedures for preventing and clearing up damage done to States property. The Committee is not

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people are more likely to get caught! It is adults that are responsible...
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