Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Reclaim streets, says Newlove widow

Baroness Newlove has called for members of the public to "reclaim their streets" in her first report as the Government's communities champion.

The widow of murdered father-of-three Garry Newlove said she wanted to "make sure that something positive" came out of the tragedy of her husband's death in 2007.

Working as an ambassador against anti-social behaviour, Lady Newlove has toured the UK in the past six months speaking to people about how best to tackle neighbourhood crime.

In what she admitted "is not a typical Government report", she has come up with practical recommendations including a scheme called Bling Back, which would see drug dealers' assets sold and ploughed back into local communities if they have provided police with information leading to their conviction.

She has called for council tax rebates, or vouchers to spend on local services, to be given to those who take an active role in making their neighbourhood safer.

The report is intended to bring about a change of culture so that crime is no longer seen as "someone else's problem".

Lady Newlove, who was appointed Champion for Active, Safer Communities in October 2010, said she wants people to take more responsibility for their area, and also suggested decisions on local spending could be made by the general public.

She said: "For too long now, too many people have either not known how to get involved, have not been listened to when they have tried to speak out, or simply felt that it wasn't worth it as nothing would ever change.

"This report sets out how we can change things by empowering local communities to reclaim their streets. Everyone has a role to play, communities must begin to take more responsibility and local agencies must begin to lessen their grip on the decision-making process and trust the people they serve to solve problems for themselves."

She stressed that "mindsets" need to change to get more people involved however, and added: "Is it any wonder that an 'us and them' culture has developed? The public are on the front line in suffering the effects of crime and anti-social behaviour but on the back line when it comes to decisions about how to deal with the problem."


From Belfast Telegraph