Hackney picked for new fight against community crime initiative

Article date: 2 December 2002

Hackney has been chosen as one of three areas in the UK for anew scheme to fight crime in the community, it was announcedtoday.

Norwich Union, the UK’s largest general insurer, hasteamed up with national charity Crime Concern and theborough’s Safer Communities Partnership to launch the NorwichUnion Neighbourhood Apprenticeship Scheme, which will focus ontraining and coaching local people in Hackney to work with fellowresidents to fight crime.

Apprentices are to be appointed in three areas - Hackney, theBlacon Estate in Chester, and the Northfield Estate in Birmingham -and they will work under the supervision and guidance ofexperienced Crime Concern managers already working with localorganisations on crime reduction and drug education programmes inthe neighbourhoods.

According to Home Office statistics on notifiable offences for2001/02, Hackney Borough crime is the sixth highest in London.

And recent research by Norwich Union shows that while there hasbeen a drop in community spirit across the UK, the figures areworse in areas of social housing.

People living in social housing are twice as likely to becomevictims of crime*, and Norwich Union’s 'CommunityCrime’ study reveals that residents in these areas also had amuch greater fear for their personal safety and their property. Thestudy of 1,000 households and more than 350 council tenantsnationwide reveals one in three of council tenants have been avictim of crime - and on average they’ve suffered at leasttwice.

The apprenticeship position in Hackney will be advertised inJanuary, with the successful applicant starting in April.

Jill Willis, market development manager for Norwich UnionInsurance, said: “As the UK's largest household insurancecompany we want to understand what’s really underneath thecrime figures, particularly in areas of social housing where thelevels of crime are twice the national average.

“Our research shows that fear of crime far outweighsactual reported figures, with more than two thirds of people livingon council estates worrying about their personal safety and that oftheir property.

"By funding apprenticeship schemes like the one in Hackney, wehope to achieve a better understanding of what works best at agrass roots level, in the hope that we can build on and developother schemes like this in the future."

Shaun Whelan, Crime Concern’s Neighbourhood SafetyDevelopment Manager, added: “Much crime in England and Walestakes place in key neighbourhoods, and crime statistics show that82 per cent of all recorded robberies are in 10 of the 43 policeforce areas – so it’s vital that efforts and resourcesfocus on those communities most affected.

“It is clear that action is needed to empower communitiesto help in the fight to reduce crime, and the Norwich UnionNeighbourhood Apprenticeship Scheme will contribute to targetingthe areas most in need.”

A Hackney council spokesperson added: "It is an improving crimereduction situation which will benefit further by theApprenticeship scheme."

Note: there will be a press interview opportunity on Monday, Dec2, 2002, from 11am at the Woodberry Down Cyber Café, 93 WoodberryGrove, London, N4 2SP.

Media contact:
Howard Bowden, Jane Wheeler or Matt Buchanan at QBO on 020 73790304, or Jenny Chapman (mobile – 07775 822 642) at NorwichUnion on 08703 66 68 64.

Notes to editors

* Crime Concern statistic

  • Norwich Union commissioned Connect Research to interview 366council tenants in London and the South East, West Midlands andScotland in June 2002. Sample included English speaking tenantsand non-English speaking Asian tenants.
  • Norwich Union also commissioned ICM Research Limited tointerview 1,000 households across the country about crime and homesecurity in June 2002.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. In generalinsurance it is more than 1.5 times the size of its nearestcompetitor, and has a 19 per cent share of the market.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on the Avivaplc website at www.aviva.com
  • A selection of images is available from the Norwich UnionNewscast site at www.newscast.co.uk
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68

For life and pension media enquiries call 08703 66 68 73
For all other media enquiries call 08703 66 68 68

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