Prevention through education. We believe that by educating the community and preventing crime from taking place, we can ensure that Southampton is a safe space for the community. We firmly believe that victims are never to blame for the occurrence of an offence. All victims including vulnerable groups such as abuse victims and young people as well as minorities such as LGBT victims require individualised support. Neighbourhood policing is key to a safe community as are third sector support services. Being ‘tough’ is simply not enough.
Our vision is of a community that is kept safe not only by increases in policing, but a wider range of holistic policies that target the sources of crime. Increasing levels of poverty and cuts to public services, including the police force itself, as well as youth services and Sure Start centres, have created the conditions in which crime rates are likely to increase. In these circumstances, simply 'being tough on crime' is unlikely to have any significant impact.
The number one priority is to keep communities safe and prevent crime from taking place in the first place. Our policies on improving housing and revitalising the local economy will contribute to reducing crime rates, but we also have a number of policies that specifically aim to create a safer community in Southampton.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that young people are any more likely to engage in criminal activity or antisocial behaviour than any other section of society. Young people are vulnerable and are often forgotten about as the victims of crime. Our aim is to both protect the freedom and improve the safety of young people across the city by liaising with colleges and universities, discouraging the use of dispersal orders or anti-social behaviour orders and protecting services for young people such as youth centres.
Policing in Southampton should be proportional, and aim to deliver justice for both offenders and victims. We need to strike a balance between policing being visible, but not intrusive. We recognise that stop and search powers have their place in policing, but that they must not be used excessively.