Community safety is about helping communities to be and feel safe. It is important that you feel safe where you live, work or spend your leisure time. There are ways that you can get involved to help improve the safety of your own community.
Policing and Community Safety Partnerships
Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs) are statutory bodies, set up to help make communities safer. They also make sure that the voices of local people are heard on policing and community safety issues.
- aim to support communities develop solutions that help tackle crime, fear of crime and anti-social behaviour
- monitor police performance
- help gain the co-operation of the public with the police in preventing crime and enhancing local community safety
There is a PCSP in each council area in Northern Ireland. Belfast has one PCSP and four District PCSPs covering North, South, East and West Belfast.
Each PCSP has a policing committee to deal with police monitoring and engagement with local communities.
PCSPs may also set up delivery groups to address particular community safety issues that arise in their areas.
What PCSPs do
PCSPs aim to make the community safer by focusing on the policing and community safety issues that matter most in each local area.
In making communities safer, PCSPs:
- talk to and engage with the local community on issues of concern about policing and community safety
- identify and prioritise the particular issues of concern and prepare plans for how these can be tackled
- monitor the performance of the police and work to gain the co-operation of the public with the police in preventing crime
- reduce crime and enhance community safety in their district, directly through their own actions, through the work of their delivery groups, or through support for the work of others
Each PCSP has between eight and 10 political members, depending on the size of the council area. This reflects the political make-up of each council and is representative of the local community.
Each PCSP also has seven to nine independent members of the community who are appointed by the Northern Ireland Policing Board. The political members and the independent members form the policing committee.
PCSPs also have representatives of designated organisations, which have been listed in an Order made by the Department of Justice. The organisations are:
- Police Service of Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland Housing Executive
- Probation Board for Northern Ireland
- Youth Justice Agency
- Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
- Education and Library Boards Health and Social Care Trusts
These organisations must be represented on all PCSPs, while others may also be selected locally by a PCSP.
The Chair of each partnership is a local councillor, and the Vice Chair is an independent member.
Neighbourhood Policing Teams are made up of police officers and partner organisations dedicated to individual neighbourhoods. Their job is to listen to your local concerns and work together with the community to find sustainable solutions.
How to get involved in community safety
There are several ways you can make a difference, including:
- make yourself aware of your local PCSP, its members and its Partnership Plan, download the plan from your local council website or can contact your PCSP directly
- Policing and Community Safety Partnerships website
- contact your PCSP members on local policing and community safety issues of concern to you
- follow your local PCSP on Twitter and Facebook
- go to public PCSP meetings; details will be advertised in the local media and on the internet
- engage in consultation exercises and events your PCSP may be organising
- volunteer to assist in projects being delivered in your area to address policing and community safety issues
- join your local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, if there isn't one in your area, you might consider starting one - your local police station or Policing and Community Safety Partnership manager should be able to put you in touch with a scheme near you
- Neighbourhood watch
There is also a diverse range of local groups working in the community that encourage residents to get involved. For example, Partners and Communities Together (PACT) and local Neighbourhood Policing team panels. Talk to your local team to find out what's happening in your area and how you can get involved.