‘Hotspot policing’ rolled out to more forces after violent crime fell by 70 per cent in pilot scheme

 ‘Hotspot policing’ rolled out to more forces after violent crime fell by 70 per cent in pilot scheme

“Hotspot policing” is to be expanded to more than a third of forces after the tactic was found to cut violent crime by more than 70 per cent.

Eighteen forces are to share in the £4.2million Home Office funding that will enable them to blitz “crime hotspots” with beat officers in high-viz jackets.

It is being expanded after the success of trials in Essex cut violent crime by 73.5 per cent in 20 areas targeted by police.

Kit Malthouse, the Policing Minister, said: “People want police officers visible on their streets, stopping violence and protecting people from harm and exploitation.

“That is what our smart new approach to hotspot policing does and I am delighted to see the tactic is already reducing high-harm crime in some areas and look forward to this success being replicated in other towns and cities across the country.”

Developed by Essex Police, the tactic puts regular, intensive, high-visibility police foot patrols into areas identified as at risk of serious violence for short periods of time.

Police data analysis will inform which areas are most at risk of violent crime and where the patrols should be targeted.

First piloted in Southend-on-Sea , Essex, in 2020, the tactic resulted in the 73.5 per cent fall in violent crime and  a 31.9 per cent fall in street crime in the 20 highest crime hot spots on days when patrols visited, compared with days they did not.

Other trials have shown similar results – a recent hotspot operation by Bedfordshire Police across 21 neighbourhoods saw harm from serious violence drop by 44 per cent on patrol days.

The additional £4.12million will bring the total funding given to those 18 forces to tackle serious violence to £28.6million in 2021.

Detective Chief Inspector Lewis Basford of Essex Police, who designed the hotspot policing as part of his Masters degree in Criminology from Cambridge University, said he was “thrilled” at its expansion.

“This is simply police doing high-visibility policing. It’s nothing new, but it does get results,” he said.

“We’re committed to tackling violent crime in Essex, and we know that one of the main factors of this type of crime in our county is the sale of drugs and the impact that has on our communities. 

“Our Op Raptor teams, which tackle street and drugs gangs, made 272 arrests in the first six months of 2021, and we’ll continue to arrest the perpetrators of these cowardly, destructive crimes.”    

The 18 forces are Metropolitan Police, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Northumbria, Thames Valley, Lancashire, Essex, Avon and Somerset, Kent, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Sussex, Hampshire, South Wales.

This Government is determined to make our streets safer 

Over the years, I’ve met too many parents of children whose lives have been cut short by serious violence. The pain and grief they have to endure is heartbreaking.

While we cannot bring back their son or daughter, we owe it to them to do everything in our power to prevent further tragedies – which is why driving down crime is an absolute priority for this Government and we are taking action across the board to make our cities, towns and villages safe.

That includes putting more police officers on the ground to reassure the public, protect people from harm and act as a deterrent for would-be criminals.

Today we are announcing extra money to tackle violent crime this autumn using intensive, high-visibility police patrols.

Eighteen forces across England and Wales have been invited to bid for a share of an additional £4.12million to increase hotspot policing.

This involves operating regular police foot patrols for specific periods of time in areas where there is a risk of violence taking place.

When deploying hotspot policing, forces need to know where to focus their resources. Smart data analysis determines which areas are most at risk of violent crime and where patrols should be targeted.

Essex Police have shown the way in developing this approach, and yesterday I visited the force to hear about their success. The statistics are impressive.

First piloted in Southend-on-Sea in 2020, the tactic resulted in a 73.5 per cent drop in violent crime and a 31.9 per cent fall in street crime in the 20 highest crime hotspots on days when patrols visited, compared with days they did not. 

Other trials have shown positive results – a recent hotspot operation by Bedfordshire Police across 21 hotspot neighbourhoods saw harm from serious violence drop by 44 per cent on patrol days.

Ultimately, this is about saving lives and these numbers underline just how much of an impact hotspot policing can have, which is why we are providing extra funding to roll out the tactic more widely.

This is just the latest step in our wide-ranging effort to deliver a safer society for all.

Over the summer, we published the Beating Crime Plan, which is our blueprint for delivering on that ambition and building on our progress so far, which includes already recruiting almost half of the 20,000 additional police officers promised by 2023.

Our Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill also contains assertive measures to drive down serious violence.

Be assured, our work will be relentless. Violent crime destroys lives. It shatters families. And it creates fear in our communities.

The law-abiding majority in this country rightly want to see change – and that is what we are determined to deliver.

 Kit Malthouse is the Minister of State for Crime and Policing 

Related post