Community to help tackle crime in Portsmouth as part of £90,000 scheme

TACKLING crime in Portsmouth will become more community-led with a £90,000 scheme, after it was revealed that the number of residents experiencing crime in the city doubled.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 1:19 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 2:25 pm
Picture posed by models Picture: Shutterstock

The latest community safety survey showed that last year 35 per cent of respondents from Portsmouth had been the victim of a crime, compared to 18 per cent in 2016.

Harassment and intimidation were noted as the most common crimes, rising from  2.5 per cent to 7.6 per cent in that time.

However, the report found that in 2018 only 48 per cent of crimes in the city were reported to the police as many incidents were not deemed 'serious enough.'

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As a result a new community-based scheme will be launched to allow members of the public to suggest problem areas and potential solutions to these types of crimes in the city.

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This week Portsmouth City Council's community safety boss, Councillor Dave Ashmore, approved £90,000 funding for the programme that will start with three half-day workshops around the city.

Cllr Ashmore said: 'Our most recent survey did show an increase in people's experience of crime, which is obviously concerning. We work closely with police and other agencies to make Portsmouth a safer city, but of course we're affected by national crime trends along with other places.

'It's important to remember that violent crime, which is a particular fear for many people, is pretty rare. Only about four per cent of Portsmouth residents have experienced violent crime.'

The council's community safety strategy and partnership manager, Lisa Wills, agreed that the findings were concerning. 'Last year saw a significant increase in people's experiences of crime as a result of real increases in certain types of crime,' she said at the meeting.

'Increases in crime from police data could have been because recording of crimes was improved. But the survey does show that people are experiencing more crime.'

New or existing community groups and voluntary organisations will be invited to the workshops, which are expected to run once a year for the next three years. Money will only be awarded for projects if there is evidence of its need, if it doesn't create any long-term financial commitments and if it costs no more than £10,000 per area.

For Cllr Dave Ashmore it was essential that the scheme was led by local people. He added: 'I think this is a great initiative and I like the fact that the workshops mean it will be something led by communities. It should be something that is more community led than something led by members.'

It is expected the workshops will begin this autumn. More information on how to get involved will be available nearer the time.

How the money is spent will be determined by what is decided at workshops.