Have your say on Reading’s community safety, serious violence and domestic abuse strategies

Reading Borough Council has reiterated its commitment to making the town a safer place to live by launching two consultations this summer. The first consultation combines the remits of work for the Community Safety Partnership and the actions it takes on community safety and serious violence. The second consultation focuses on tackling domestic abuse undertaken through the Community Safety Partnership.

Reading’s Community Safety Partnership brings the Council together with Thames Valley Police, Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue, the probation service, Brighter Futures for Children and other organisations, to address priority issues in reducing, preventing and tackling crime.

A recent independent report from the Partnership into crime and safety issues across Reading, including examining crime statistics and recent residents’ surveys, identified a number of key priorities. The consultations launched this week will allow residents to offer their views on those priorities, have their say about what they see in their communities, and offer their own insight into the solutions needed.

The Community Safety and Serious Violence consultation looks at two separate groups of priorities:

Community safety priorities are proposed to include:

  • Reducing offences in the most crime-generating neighbourhoods thus freeing up resources to enable greater focus in other neighbourhoods;
  • Improving the way the Community Safety Partnership communicates and works with communities to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime through better information sharing and training;
  • Reducing community-based drug-related activity, including on-street drug dealing and use.

Serious violence proposed priorities include:

  • Reducing knife violence and crime, including the carrying of blades, by working with partner organisations and young people in developing a prevention plan to tackle these issues;
  • Tackling organised crime gangs operating across “county lines” with drug-related activity;
  • Improving safety for women in public places, especially in the town centre, by addressing sexually focussed crimes and ASB against women and girls.

The CSP also wishes to strengthen its strategies and work to reduce reoffending, and effectively tackle issues of persistent offending.

The consultation allows residents to have a voice and shape the future of these strategies by giving their own views on what they think would make Reading a safer place.

An additional consultation on tackling Domestic Abuse and Violence is running at the same time. A number of proposed priorities have been put forward with the advising of a prior needs assessment to inform the Domestic Abuse and Safe Accommodation Strategy 2022-25, including:

  • Ensuring there is a range of appropriate Safe Accommodation options for all victim-survivors of domestic abuse who need it;
  • Raising community awareness around domestic abuse in all its forms and strengthening our support for victims;
  • Improving engagement with those in marginalised communities to encourage them to access help;
  • Strengthening our multi-agency approach to assure support for our range of service users irrespective of gender or sexual identity;
  • Strengthening our support pathways for children and young people who have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse;

Karen Rowland, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Community Safety, said:
“I do truly hope that residents will feed into both of these consultations over the summer. Reading’s residents are engaged and concerned about crime, anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse and these consultations can provide us vital feedback in shaping our responses to crime and violence and help us to make noticeable progress towards a safer Reading.

“Everybody has a role to play in the community to help in creating a safer environment in our town by reporting anti-social behaviour and crimes to our ASB Team or the Police.

“Your contribution to helping make Reading safer can start right now, by spending five minutes completing our consultations online. Your feedback matters and your input will be gratefully appreciated.”

All stakeholders and partners of the Community Safety Partnership will be encouraging people to take part in the consultation through their own networks of contacts, and the Council will ensure key community associations have a voice too. All feedback will be reviewed with recurring themes being reflected in developing future strategies.
The consultations are live now, running until 5 September, and can be accessed here:

A summary of results will be published on the Council’s consultation and engagement hub from 9 November.

Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash