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SALFORD COMMUNITY EXCLUDED FROM DRAFT GM POLICE AND CRIME PLAN
 

Star date: 27th November 2017 

AGENCIES AND HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS REPLACE COMMUNITY VOICES

'They're not community priorities they are practitioners' priorities...' 

Before December last year, there used to be a Greater Manchester Police Neighbourhood Survey, based on face-to-face interviews between residents and PCSOs. Issues ranged from perceptions of anti-social behaviour to people's ability to influence local decisions. Now, that's all gone...

Instead, officers from housing associations and agencies are giving their views on what the community is thinking, which is informing a new draft Police and Crime Plan for Greater Manchester. And the community won't get a say until after it's published.

Full details here...


"They've actually given up asking communities what their priorities are, because everything the community wants they can't deliver..."


It was never scientific. And it never involved masses of people. But at least the Greater Manchester Police Neighbourhood Survey had some real people in Salford giving their perceptions on everything from drug dealing to anti-social behaviour, to whether they feel they can influence decisions made in their area.* Now, they are not even being asked; until the last minute.

The GM Police Neighbourhood Survey ceased in December 2016, and after that, there was no 'perception data' at all. Instead, Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, and Beverley Hughes, his Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime, are developing a Police and Crime Plan (PCP) for Greater Manchester in which the community has been totally excluded initially. All residents will only be asked for their views once a draft is published in December.

Earlier this year, a survey went out to 'stakeholders', including the police itself, Salford City Council, NHS, housing associations and third sector organisations, inviting officers "to provide insights on local priorities where you work (your perception of residents' views on community safety, and comments on the area more broadly)...

"This survey is only being distributed to neighbourhood practitioners" the form added "It is not a survey of the general public."

The survey asked 'stakeholders' to "relate your perception of residents' views" on all sorts of topics, from fear of crime and drug dealing, to litter, 'nuisance neighbours' and 'problems with homeless people'.

Strangely, the survey also questioned the officers about their perceptions of 'democracy' and 'free speech' in the community, and asked how strongly people get involved in "Trying to stop the closure of a local service or amenity" and "Trying to stop something happening in my local area".

One of the 'reform principles' highlighted in the survey was "Behaviour change in our communities that builds independence and supports residents to be in control" ...it then ironically asked the officers where this 'residents control' should sit in order of priority.

The form states that the "Key findings from this survey will be used to help refresh the PCP" adding that "Public consultation will be undertaken as part of the broader process to refresh the PCP."

One community worker who has seen an early outline of the PCP findings but wished to remain anonymous, told the Salford Star: "They're not community priorities they are practitioners' priorities. They've actually given up asking communities what their priorities are, because everything the community wants they can't deliver more police on the streets, their bins emptying, better public spaces. So they've moved the goalposts. And it's obvious what the practitioners are going to say anything that means they don't have to do something

"They're asking about community cohesion but have got answers from practitioners who, nine times out of ten, don't live in these communities" they added "They've identified all the things that make their life easier but not necessarily what will make the lives better for people who live in community. And once this has been agreed it goes back to the community but how can they do that when it's not the community's priorities?"

Youth worker, Graham Cooper, also slammed the survey for being discriminatory towards young people. The survey explicitly singles out for community concerns 'Youths/teenagers/groups hanging about on the streets' ...'youths kicking/ throwing/playing football in inappropriate areas'... 'Youth gangs/violence'...

"Why are we still using discriminatory questions against young people in that survey?" he asks "It should be illegal. If you put questions about any other demographic group you'd get sued for discrimination because you're generalising. Yet for young people it's different.

"It's wrong" he adds "Young people are the only group they ever put in these surveys. If you ask young people what's wrong they'd probably have a go at the local authority."

The GMCA (Greater Manchester Combined Authority) didn't wish to comment on the survey and draft Police and Crime Plan but did confirm that it will be published in early December,  and will then be put out for a consultation with the community.


* The last Greater Manchester Police Neighbourhood Survey found that 44% of people in Salford didn't feel they could influence decisions made in their area.

Salford Council also used to run The Big Listening, where random households were surveyed about attitudes towards the city and services. This was also subsequently scrapped.

Graham Cooper wrote
at 11:23:02 on 30 November 2017
Inaccurate is not how I would describe this article GMCA! I was approached by the Salford Star regarding the survey and how it portrays young people as a "problem" just for "hanging around on the streets" As you can see from my quotes these questions if tagged to any other group in society would be classed as prejudicial and therefore discriminatory. What Salford Star does not know is I was actually a member of these community focus groups and what became apparent at this meeting was the Top down approach to gathering information and there were others in the room who agreed that this approach was wrong. So I disagree that these are not facts. All the Salford Star is doing is putting out there the information that sits behind such consultations. As for Phil's words it shows that organisations can easily be a part of the problem rather than the solution-unless of course you throw a few grand their way then they jump to any tune

Hannah wrote
at 14:04:25 on 29 November 2017
Where can I find the last Greater Manchester Police Neighbourhood Survey? When searching for it outline I can't find anything on it. Is it called something else?

Salford Star wrote
at 19:07:54 on 28 November 2017
See Phil C's comment below...No 'facts' or 'reality' - except when the Salford Star is quoting someone from your organisation eh?

Phil C wrote
at 19:05:50 on 28 November 2017
Since when did articles in the Salford Star have to be based on the truth ??? It's all about ego and agenda - no one likes facts in Salford - facts force people to confront reality... There's no place for facts or reality in the rag.

Caroline Gray wrote
at 19:05:43 on 28 November 2017
i would believe S .Kingston word beyond any one ...What he says is truth...

Police State wrote
at 11:39:31 on 28 November 2017
GMP doesn't work for the public, they work for IGAS, the councils, Marston, the Utilities and big business. The crime commissioners need scrapping, they just cover up for them.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority wrote
at 11:39:16 on 28 November 2017
The claims in this article are simply untrue, as was explained to your reporter when he contacted our office. This initial survey was sent in July to those who support victims of crime and deliver services within local neighbourhoods, to get their professional assessment of what the big issues are in our communities across Greater Manchester. Its just one part of a wide-ranging and comprehensive programme of engagement activity as we develop the new Police and Crime Plan. We will be carrying out a major public consultation on the priorities for the plan next month, and this represented one part of the pre-consultation work. Weve also held a series of engagement events in every district of Greater Manchester - including Salford - to get local views on how we should prioritise building safer and stronger communities. Weve also met with a wide range of people and organisations, including victims of crime, young people, neighbourhood watch groups, people of faith, and people from minority communities to get their input into this important piece of work. Weve used all of this information to develop a range of priorities to tackle crime, and build safer, more cohesive, communities. The next phase will be to consult with the wider public on these priorities, and well be encouraging everyone in Greater Manchester to have their say. The Police and Crime Plan isnt just for the police, or the Mayor, or local councils - its for everyone, and we want to make sure that everyone has a stake in it. We hope that Salford residents take the opportunity to shape this plan. Greater Manchester Combined Authority

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