Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill

Memorandum submitted by Keep Britain Tidy (PR 95)

1) Keep Britain Tidy is passionate about cleaner, greener places.

Our vision is for a cleaner, greener England respected and enjoyed by all.

We campaign AGAINST litter and neglect FOR better cared for and more attractive places.

We HELP by providing knowledge, advice and support.

We LEAD by inspiring policy and practical action.

Introduction

2 ) Keep Britain Tidy asks the Committee to reflect on the impact Environmental ASB has on a variety of other national policy areas such as green infrastructure and health . We ask the Committee to consider the vital role of community policing in considering the application of the sections of the Bill highlighted below . The environmental quality and perceived safety of an area has been shown to influence levels of activity in the local population – the higher the perceived level of crime and the more litter and graffiti an area has, the lower the level of physical activity (1). High levels of graffiti and litter increases the likelihood of being less physically active and being overweight or obese (2). Poor quality local environments also have wider impacts on public health. Fear of crime and poor maintenance can stop the use of children’s play areas (3). Higher levels of greenery and lower levels of graffiti and litter in residential environments are associated with being physically active and not being overweight or obese (2).

3) It is reported there is a correlation between those people who reported that they experience high levels of environmental ASB and increased levels of anxiety, depression, poor health and smoking. 23% of those people reporting a high incidence of street level incivilities also said that they feel depressed or sad very/fairly often. This compares to 13% of those who experience low levels of street incivilities (4). The environmental context of one’s surroundings therefore has a psychosocial impact on how people feel about themselves and their local environment. These results suggest that if people feel bad about the environment in which they live, they are more prone to anxiety and depression and less likely to avoid unhealthy behaviour such as smoking (4). All of which has societal, emotional and financial impacts on the country as a whole.

4) There is a great deal of evidence that people’s behaviour is affected by their local environment and visa versa. Areas spoiled by litter and graffiti encourage further antisocial behaviour ( 5 ). Research in London revealed a link between the cleanliness of an area and the levels of safety felt by local residents ( 6 ). Furthermore, the more concerned people are with the appearance of their local area, the more concerned they are about violent crimes ( 6 ). Therefore, environmental ASB is a major concern for local communities and community policing has a key role in tackling such issues.

Police and Crime Plans

5) Keep Britain Tidy would like to see the importance of community policing reflected in police and crime plans. We believe that community engagement programmes must be at the heart of supporting communities to take an active role in keeping neighbourhoods safe. A supported, empowered community is more likely to embrace its civic responsibilities than one which is not. We would like to see commissioners through such plans provide strategic policy oversight and make the overarching links between policy areas to ensure a joined up approach to policy which makes a difference in local communities. As illustrated above environmental anti social behaviour such as littering, fly-tipping, graffiti and dog fouling has an impact on the effectiveness of other national policy areas such as green infrastructure.

Crime and disorder reduction grant

6) Keep Britain Tidy welcomes the provision of power to police and crime commissioners and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to award a crime and disorder reduction grant to any person in order to secure or contribute to securing crime and disorder reduction in the police area.

Engagement with local people

7) Engagement with local people is key to understanding local neighbourhood issues and we welcome the proposals to do so. We believe that community engagement programmes such as community beat meetings and community clean ups must be at the heart of supporting communities to take an active role in keeping neighbourhoods safe. A supported, empowered community is more likely to embrace its civic responsibilities than one which is not. We know that environmental ASB is a major concern for local communities and therefore community policing has a key role in tackling such issues.

Late night levy

8) Keep Britain Tidy welcomes the proposal to bring forward regulations to permit funds to be paid to other organs of local government which operate or administer measures to address the effect of alcohol-related crime and disorder in the night-time economy. We would expect to see street cleansing and repairing damaged street furniture included in this definition of measures to counteract the costs of street cleansing and making vandalism good in a late night economy. There is a great deal of evidence that people’s behaviour is affected by their local environment and visa versa. Areas spoiled by litter and graffiti encourage further antisocial behaviour and there are links between the cleanliness of an area and the levels of safety felt by local residents. Furthermore, the more concerned people are with the appearance of their local area, the more concerned they are about violent crimes.

References

1) Sustainable Development Commission (2008) Health, place and nature – How

outdoor environments influence health and wellbeing: a knowledge base. Sustainable Development Commission, London

2) Ellaway, A, Macintyre, S and Bonnefoy, X (2005) Graffiti, Greenery, and Obesity in

Adults: Secondary Analysis of European Cross-Sectional Survey, British Medical

Journal, 331: 611-612.

3) Department of Health (2005) Choose Health White Paper, Department of Health,

London

4) Curtice, J, Ellaway, A, Robertson, C, Morris, G, Allardice, G and Robertson, R (2005) Public Attitudes and Environmental Justice in Scotland, Social Research

Environment Group, Research Findings No.25/2005, Scottish Executive, Edinburgh

5) Keizer, K, Lindenberg, S and Steg, L (2008) The Spreading of Disorder, Science, 322, 12 December 2008, pp1681-1685

6) ENCAMS (2009) London Its People and Their Litter, ENCAMS, Wigan

January 2011