Hackney wins bid to become Pioneer Area

Hackney has been named as one of 60 areas from across England and Wales to become a new Neighbourhood Crime and Justice pioneer pilot area.

This means Government funding will pay for the appointment of a new Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Coordinator until March 2010, whose job it will be to lead on proposals to tackle crime and anti social behaviour, in partnership with local people and the police, as well as develop the Community payback scheme.

A crucial part of the job will be to let residents know their entitlement in the new Policing Pledge so that they know their rights and how to contact their local neighbourhood policing team. They should also know how they can hold them to account and the level of service they should expect. The Crime and Justice Coordinator will also ensure that adequate services and support for victims and witnesses are provided.

Making the announcement earlier this week the Home Secretary said: "I am grateful to the London Borough of Hackney for signing up to take action to open up the criminal justice system, so that the public can see the tough consequences for those that break the law."

The minister went on to describe the new Neighbourhood Crime and Justice Coordinator as "A dedicated resource to act on the public s behalf to make sure that justice is done and seen to be done in their local communities"

Welcoming the announcement, Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said: "This is very good news for Hackney. Crime has been falling significantly in recent years. There were 8,500 fewer crimes in the past 12 months, in comparison to four years ago and we have an overall reduction of 34%. This funding will help with our strategy of improving and building upon those results and including local people in key decisions."

Acting Superintendent Dave Stone of Hackney Police, said: "It has long been acknowledged that tackling crime cannot solely be the responsibility of the police. Partnership working is essential, using the expertise, skills and services of the Council, Probation Service, the courts and other organisations, as well as our local community. Initiatives such as Community Payback, which provides the opportunity for local people to have their say on how those who have committed crimes, should make amends for the harm they have caused are vitally important, and I am pleased that Hackney is going to be able to build on the success it has had in this area."