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Bid to tackle violence on our streets

VIOLENT crime in Accrington town centre has gone through the roof according to the latest official figures.

VIOLENT crime in Accrington town centre has gone through the roof according to the latest official figures.

The worrying development means 16 per cent more violent incidents - against people and property - have happened in the last two years.

And it comes just three weeks after the Observer asked in a front-page headline: "How Safe Are Our Streets?''

The figures are in stark contrast to domestic burglary and vehicle crime, which have both decreased by 42 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

Nearly £245,000 has been allocated to the borough's battle against crime and, according to members of Hyndburn's ruling Cabinet, the money is needed urgently to reverse the alarming rise in street violence.

Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "This funding is welcomed. When people are asked to list their priorities in a poll or research, the most important item on the agenda is crime."

"Violence is on its way up and it is very worrying at a time when we are looking to improve the town centre economy. The Community Safety Partnership is looking most carefully at it."

Councillor Janet Storey, Cabinet portfolio holder for community safety, said the figures were especially disconcerting in the context of other offences being reduced.

She said: "All the other targets have been met and even decreased. The police now have powers to issue on-the-spot fines for disorderly street behaviour, but for violent offences fines are very unlikely to be given."

A consultation between a variety of groups, including Hyndburn Community Safety Partnership, Lancashire Drug Action and the Government Office for the North West, will establish ways to spend the money.

Next April a three-year crime reduction strategy is to be implemented in a bid to ensure violent crime is reduced and other targets continue to be met.

The money will come from three departments within the Home Office and Lancashire County Council.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist