A NEW strategy to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour across the conurbation has been inspired by the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Cabinet member Cllr Bobbie Dove provided the insight when presenting a report on the new BCP Community Safety Partnership strategy for the next three years.

The strategy’s three priorities are tackling violent crime in all its forms, keeping young people and adults-at risk safe from exploitation, including online risks, and working with communities to deal with anti-social behaviour (ASB) and crime hotspots, including ASB linked to substance misuse.

Councillor Dove, portfolio holder for community safety and regulator services, said a strategic assessment had been carried out to ensure the strategy can target what needed to improve.

She told cabinet colleagues: “As we were undertaking this piece of work a quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu came on my desk and it kind of struck a resonance with me and he said: ‘There comes a point when we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream to find out why they are falling in.

“It is on this basis and with this quote in mind that we wrote the new CSP strategy.

“The partnership now takes the approach of developing a strategy that centres around three main priorities, which can threaten residents’ quality of life and youth aspirations and we want to build a place where residents and visitors are safe.

“So we are literally quite going back to basics and ensuring that support is in place at the very earliest opportunities and let’s not forget for some that they are often the victims before they become the offenders.

“We have this now in place to ensure that we get there early enough to turn lives around and so that our residents and families have better outcomes.

“The public health approach is centre to all that we do and comes before we start enforcing such as arrests and entry into the judicial system.”

The strategy is the first created by BCP Community Safety Partnership since it was formed in 2019.

Councillor Dove said “partnership coordination groups” will work to meet the priorities in the strategy, looking to address the “human, social and environmental factors that drive people to crime”.

She added: “With this strategy we hope to develop a new way of working to have a complete wraparound multi-agency service and ensure we are upstream enough so we can stop our vulnerable people falling into the river in the first instance.”

Cabinet members recommended approval of the strategy, with council having the final say at a meeting next month.