Yesterday, the cabinet member for safety and policing, Cllr David Longstaff arranged a visit for some Councillors to see some aspects of crime prevention in the borough.
We started by visiting a centre in Hendon that deals with those released from prison on parole and probation. I was impressed by the work they did, they have a re-offending rate of just 18%,well below the usual rate of 58%.
They focus on the various issues those who come out of prison face, and by dealing with them, help reduce reoffending. We know many former prisoners have employment, health, housing and educational issues, and I was pleased to see a dedicated team successfully help tacklemany of those problems.
But this is no softly softly approach. They are very strict about making sure people turn up, and deliver exactly the kind of personal interaction that is necessary to the service user. This is not the sort of thing the Daily Mail get upset about, quite the opposite in fact.
I have had casework in this kind of area, and I am now in a better position to deal with it and help residents after this visit. I want to thank Cllr Longstaff for arranging the visit.
After that, we visited the centre where the CCTVs in Barnet are monitored. Again, an impressive service, with excellent staff. Highly trained and professional, it's clear they have an impact, even if sometimes people don't see or appreciate it.
They are in need of some investment to reduce overheads and improve service though, and I am glad this is being taken seriously. I hope the police will also properly support their work as well, it was good to hear how well integrated they had become over time with the police. I think they are well respected and appreciated.