Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Community safety

Community safety: Critical perspectives on policy and practice

Edited by Peter Squires
Copyright Date: 2006
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Community safety
    Book Description:

    Community safety emerged as a new approach to tackling and preventing local crime and disorder in the late 1980s and was adopted into mainstream policy by New Labour in the late '90s. Twenty years on, it is important to ask how the community safety agenda has evolved and developed within local crime and disorder prevention strategies. This book provides the first sustained critical and theoretically informed analysis by leading authorities in the field. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of the community safety legacy, posing challenging questions, such as how and why has community safety policy making become such a contested terrain? What are the different issues at stake for 'provider' versus 'consumer' interests in community safety policy? Who are the winners and losers and where are the gaps in community safety policy making? Do new priorities mean that we have seen the rise and now the fall of community safety? The book provides answers to these questions by exploring a wide range of topics relating to community safety policy and practice, including: anti-social behaviour strategies; victims' perspectives on community safety; race, racism and policing; safety and social exclusion; domestic violence; substance misuse; community policing; and organised crime. Community safety is primarily aimed at academics and students working in the areas of criminology and local policy making. However, it will also be of interest to community safety and crime prevention practitioners who need to have a critical understanding of the development and likely future direction of community safety programmes.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-957-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. v-v)
  4. List of abbreviations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. List of contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  6. ONE Introduction: asking questions of community safety
    (pp. 1-10)
    Peter Squires

    As the various chapters in this book make clear, the emergence of a substantive concern with what became known as ‘community safety’ policy marked a significant shift in forms of local and national governance. This shift had far-reaching implications for local authorities, for crime and disorder management, for the politics of community, for social policy and for the variety of agencies (the police, local authorities, probation, Drug Action Teams, witness support services and so on) that, following the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, came to form the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) charged with the responsibility of delivering local...

  7. Section one: Community safety:: an incomplete project?

    • TWO ‘You just know you’re being watched everywhere’: young people, custodial experiences and community safety
      (pp. 13-34)
      Carlie Goldsmith

      This chapter is based on a small-scale qualitative research project carried out in 2005 with young people who had spent time in Young Offenders Institutions. The research had three aims:

      to investigate the participants’ psychosocial well-being prior to imprisonment, during their time in custody and after their release;

      to assess how safe they felt while in custody and subsequently;

      to explore how they felt that imprisonment had impacted on their aspirations for the future.

      In April 2005, the total prison population in Britain was 73,228 and of that number 10,581 were aged under 21 Britain has the largest number of...

    • THREE Community safety and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities
      (pp. 35-52)
      Derek McGhee

      This chapter focuses on the social and political climate in which hate crimes, whether racially motivated or as a result of homophobia, are increasingly being taken seriously by local authorities and police forces in England and Wales. The chapter explores the special place hate crimes occupy in the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act ‘community safety’ ethos, with particular attention being paid to how police forces, especially Hampshire Constabulary, have been attempting to win the trust of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in Southampton.

      In the course of the chapter, it will be argued that police forces in England...

    • FOUR Community safety, the family and domestic violence
      (pp. 53-70)
      Paula Wilcox

      For centuries, non-intervention in the private life of the family was the state’s justification for abdicating responsibility for the safety of women and children in the home. With ‘community safety’ becoming a key organising discourse of contemporary crime prevention, this has become an increasingly unsustainable perspective. Feminist research and activism from the 1970s (building on 19thcentury feminism [Mill, 1869; Cobbe, 1878]) chipped away at this hegemonic construction of privacy revealing its role in covering up male abuse/violence in the home, now commonly referred to as ‘domestic violence’¹ (Pizzey, 1974; Dobash and Dobash, 1979; Borkowski et al, 1983; Hanmer and Saunders,...

    • FIVE Ethnic minorities and community safety
      (pp. 71-92)
      Marian FitzGerald and Chris Hale

      The Labour Party 2005 General Election manifesto summarised the key elements of its approach to community safety under the heading ‘Safe communities, secure borders’. Citing its record to date, it also set out its view of the issues it would continue to prioritise. These linked measures to address antisocial behaviour and reduce crime with the need to tackle illegal immigration and the threat of terrorism.

      We are giving the police and local councils the power to tackle antisocial behaviour; we will develop neighbourhood policing for every community and crack down on drug dealing and hard drug use to reduce volume...

  8. Section two: Community safety:: a contested project?

    • SIX The local politics of community safety: local policy for local people?
      (pp. 95-110)
      Matt Follett

      The role of local authorities in community safety policy development has a long and varied history. The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of this history, incorporating findings from some recent research fieldwork. The chapter will attempt to show that many local authorities have for some time understood their own contributions to local crime and disorder management, certainly predating the statutory role given them by the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act (CDA). Alongside this review of community safety policy development, from the 1980s to the CDA, consideration will be given to a number of critical criminological approaches...

    • SEVEN The police and community safety
      (pp. 111-124)
      Barry Loveday

      As a range of current policing strategies now demonstrate, the traditional law enforcement role of the police is in the process of being overtaken by initiatives based on a combination of intelligence-led policing and a commitment to the implementation of effective crime reduction programmes based on sharing information and intelligence throughout England and Wales. Currently, all police forces are now required to introduce and use the National Intelligence Model (NIM) as identified within the 2002 Police Reform Act. As its title suggests, the NIM requires the collection and more effective use of local (and other) sources of information that together...

    • EIGHT Community safety and the private security sector
      (pp. 125-138)
      Mark Button

      The growing role of the private security industry in policing and the criminal justice system has been recognised by academics across the globe (South, 1988; Johnston, 1992; Rigakos, 2002). Studies have illustrated the expansion of the role of private security and the greater number of security personnel employed than the public police in most industrialised countries (Jones and Newburn, 1998; De Waard, 1999). Research has also highlighted the ability of private security firms to operate core state functions, such as prisons, custody suites and tagging schemes (James et al, 1997; Button, 2002). There are very few activities in the broader...

    • NINE Outreach drug work and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships: square pegs in round holes?
      (pp. 139-152)
      Adrian Barton

      Some social problems are predictable, allowing, in theory at least, a proactive and structured policy response: for example, the age ranges of the population can be measured via the use of demographics. This enables the clear identification of time periods when more resources will be needed by primary schools, pension funds and so on. Equally, in many of these policy areas, there is a clear and unambiguous ‘lead’ agency that will structure the nature of the response. Other forms of social problem often emerge from the need to respond to changes in behaviour. In those cases, the fluid and relatively...

  9. Section three: Community safety:: a flawed project?

    • TEN Community safety and corporate crime
      (pp. 155-168)
      Steve Tombs and Dave Whyte

      It has been well documented that corporate crime has enormous economic, physical and social costs. Yet despite this, such crimes remain almost entirely absent from ‘crime, law and order’ agendas. One might have been forgiven for thinking, however, that with the noises emanating from the Home Office around the introduction of the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act (CDA), and the requirement for local crime and community safety audits in particular, such offences may have received some local community, regulatory and policing attention. If the CDA represented the UK government’s legislative endorsement of ‘community safety’ as the driving force behind new...

    • ELEVEN Community safety and victims: who is the victim of community safety?
      (pp. 169-180)
      Sandra Walklate

      It is now commonplace to discuss the contemporary condition of social life by reference to the risk society thesis and, of course, much has been made already of the differential impact of the risk society on contemporary life in relation to crime. Young (1999, 2003), for example, talks of the move from the inclusive to the exclusive society and the concomitant rise in vindictiveness and Garland (2001) tells us about the embeddedness of risk-associated ideas in relation to criminal justice policy through the vehicle of the ‘ culture of control’. Both of these analyses (among others) take as given the...

    • TWELVE Young women, community safety and informal cultures
      (pp. 181-198)
      Lynda Measor

      Community safety policy is one of a number of initiatives governments have developed to address crime and related problems of disorder and insecurity. Community safety policy has grown slowly in importance and significance since the 1980s and now stands as the essential core of a collection of strategies (Tilley, 1994; Crawford, 1997; Gilling, 1997; Hughes, 1997; Stenson, 1998). Various critiques of community safety approaches have developed within criminology (Crawford, 1997; Hughes, 1998; Stenson, 1998; Garland, 2000; Coleman et al, 2002). Little attention has been paid, however, to the implications that community safety approaches may have for women in communities – as...

  10. Section four: Community safety:: overrun by enforcement?

    • THIRTEEN Community safety and social exclusion
      (pp. 201-218)
      Lynn Hancock

      The links between the risk of criminal victimisation and urban social divisions have been clearly demonstrated using British Crime Survey (BCS) data (Hope, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001a, 2001b) and other analyses integrating a range of population data with recorded crime statistics, as well as spatially referenced data sources over recent years (Hirschfield et al, 1995). While the relations between disadvantage and victimisation are neither simple nor mechanical, and these data have their limitations, the finding that the most disadvantaged groups are also the most likely to suffer higher levels of property and personal crimes has been firmly established. That more...

    • FOURTEEN Community safety and young people: 21st-century homo sacer and the politics of injustice
      (pp. 219-236)
      Dawn E. Stephen

      This chapter explores the impact of the now dominant aspect of community safety policy: the management of ‘antisocial behaviour’ through ‘early interventions’. The opening necessarily lengthy quotation, therefore, firmly sets the tone for this critical exegesis of community safety and young people’s place therein. The argument is that, instead of objective judgement, justice and inclusion, community safety has become a tool of partiality and exclusion through ‘precautionary injustice’ (Squires and Stephen, 2005a) techniques that increasingly demonise, and consequentially deny justice to, children and young people. As Goldson (2004, p 27) observes insightfully, ‘the ideologies and domain assumptions that underpin ‘risk’...

    • FIFTEEN Conclusion: contradictions and dilemmas: the rise and fall of community safety?
      (pp. 237-248)
      Peter Squires

      We began this excursion into the field of community safety policy making with a series of questions about what may have been achieved in its name. We conclude, having reviewed many dimensions of this area of policy development, with a fairly substantial charge sheet against it. The ‘official’ history of community safety tells a story locating the origins of community safety policy development in a revitalisation of local democracy as municipal authorities sought to resist an increasingly centralised and increasingly punitive and largely situational response to problems of crime and disorder. At the same time, the renewed priority afforded to...

  11. Index
    (pp. 249-255)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 256-256)