20 ways to fight crime?

Louise Casey has put forward drastic proposals to improve our justice system – but are they too radical?

Online maps showing crime hot spots, high visibility bibs for criminals doing community punishment and Friday night youth clubs in deprived areas were proposed yesterday as part of a drive to rebuild confidence in the criminal justice system.

Louise Casey, the outspoken former head of the Government's Respect task force, will spearhead the initiative – an appointment likely to send a shudder through the criminal justice system. Ms Casey once mocked the Government's anti-binge drinking campaign by saying that some ministers might perform better if they turned up drunk.

She warned yesterday that people did not believe official figures showing crime was falling and thought the system favoured offenders. She said: "There was a strong view during the review that they would no longer intervene if they saw a crime taking place, for fear that they would either be attacked by the perpetrators or arrested themselves."

Ms Casey set out initiatives to re-engage the public, including forcing people on community sentences to wear bibs.

However, Harry Fletcher, the assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said that bibs would humiliate rather than rehabilitate offenders.

1. Anonymous evidence Elderly and disabled crime victims – as well as people at risk of reprisals – should be allowed to give evidence in court from behind screens. Ministers are sympathetic to the idea, which already happens routinely in cases involving sex offences and gangs.

Controversy: *

2. Rebrand community service Community sentences should be renamed "community payback" to emphase that not jailing people is still a punishment. Could happen, but would the public notice?

Controversy: *

3. Make offenders visible Offenders should wear high-visibility orange bibs to make community payback schemes "more visible" to the general public and more "demanding" on criminals. Ministers support the idea in principle, but critics say it would humiliate offenders undergoing rehabilitation.

Controversy: *****

4. Internet crime maps Online maps with crimes plotted on them to be published every month so people can see how dangerous their area is and how well the police are doing. Gordon Brown has backed the move in principle, but areas could be stigmatised if the maps are street-by-street.

Controversy: ***

5. More power for CSOs Police community support officers should be able to detain people for up to 30 minutes and hand out fixed-penalty notices for disorder. The idea is strongly opposed by the police and the last thing the Home Office wants is another run-in with them.

Controversy: ****

6. Youth clubs Friday-night youth clubs to be set up in 50 of the most deprived areas. Funding for youth services is already being boosted with poorer communities targeted. But should high-crime areas be rewarded?

Controversy: **

7. Work for offenders Unemployed offenders should work five days a week on community payback, with those in work forced to work in the evenings and at weekends.

Would be hugely expensive and stretch the probation service to breaking-point.

Controversy: ****

8. Extra hours if orders breached Offenders who breach their orders should be given extra hours as punishment. Would put pressure on resources.

Controversy: ***

9. Privatise community service Private firms should be given powers to run community sentences. Would be fiercely opposed by the Probation Service and likely to be resisted by ministers because of the political fallout.

Controversy: ****

10. Monthly leaflets All homes should receive monthly leaflets telling them what action against crime is being taken in their area as well as contact numbers for local police. The Home Office backs closer links between the police and public, but officers see it as more bureaucracy.

Controversy: **

11. Cash for high-crime areas The Government should give cash direct to communities hit by crime. This already happens to a certain extent – the money central government gives to local authorities depends on how well off they are.

Controversy: *

12. Separate seats for victims Victims' families should have separate seats in court. Already happens in many courts and looks a certainty.

Controversy: *

13. Cut bureaucracy A fresh drive against the police paperwork that keeps officers off the beat to be spearheaded by a senior officer assigned to the Home Office. Everyone wants less red tape, but ministers won't want anyone breathing down their necks.

Controversy: **

14. Independent statistics Home Office should lose responsibility for producing national crime statistics, with the job given to an independent body. The department has cooled on the idea.

Controversy: ***

15. Courts to name and shame Courts should provide much more information about convictions and sentences given to offenders. Critics believe "naming and shaming" offenders doesn't help their rehab.

Controversy: ***

16. Community crime-fighters A "community crime fighters" squad should be set up to involve the public. The Home Office backs the plan.

Controversy: *

17. Cash for successful groups Community groups that succeed in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour should be awarded public money. Government is in favour.

Controversy: *

18. 'Voice of the people' Appoint a "voice of the people" to champion voters' crime fears in Whitehall. Ministers insist they are already in tune with their constituents.

Controversy: ***

19. Scrap police targets Whitehall police targets should be replaced with a less rigid "measure of public confidence". Unlikely – PM was a supporter of targets.

Controversy: ****

20. Parental responsibility Drum home message that parents who allow children to run wild will be punished. Government is already campaigning hard on this.

Controversy: *

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