20th January 2021

Ground-breaking crime reduction project

A multi-agency approach between Avon and Somerset Police and partners to reduce crime and increase reporting in Somerset will be rolled out further after a major funding boost.

It comes following an announcement by the Home Office that Avon and Somerset will receive a slice of its £50million Police Innovation Fund for pioneering projects.

The latest funding round saw three successful bids for the constabulary in total, including £751,500 for the roll out of the multi-agency Halcon Project across Taunton Deane Borough.

The Halcon Project, launched five years ago, is a multi-agency partnership that tackles crime and antisocial behaviour and deals with housing issues, unemployment and other social problems in the Halcon estate.

The scheme uses a holistic approach to address the underlying causes of crime and bespoke support packages are created to meet the needs of individuals by way of prevention.

As part of the project, Halcon One Team was established more than 12 months ago and includes representatives from various partner agencies. The team meets regularly to discuss issues affecting the area and together they devise plans to tackle those problems.

This funding boost will allow for the roll out of two further teams in the Taunton Deane Borough; Priorswood and Wellington. It is hoped these areas will see the same benefit as that of the Halcon estate, which since the project was launched has seen a 43 per cent reduction in recorded crime and this trend continues.

Somerset Superintendent Ian Wylie said: “I am delighted that the Halcon One Team has been awarded this funding. The team of multi-agency partners has been truly innovative in their approach and the effectiveness of public sector agencies working together in one team is demonstrated by the significant drop in crime levels in the area and the demand for further services provided by our partners.

“The additional funding provides an excellent opportunity to build on this success and enable us, together with our partners, to further deliver better all-round services to the public at a lower cost to the tax payer.”

The Halcon Project was set up following feedback from the community that they felt disengaged with the police and other agencies and because of ongoing issues on the Halcon estate.

The project used a mapping process to identify local issues which impacted on the whole community and a five-year plan was designed to increase partnership working, give the community a voice, raise confidence in reporting to police and reduce youth crime.

Initial work for the project included increased high visibility patrols in the area, extra beat surgeries and helping to set up a boxing gym on the estate. The partners now help support a number of sports and other community activities.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I am particularly pleased to see the roll-out of the ‘Halcon One’ project across Taunton. I have seen first-hand the impressive difference the current scheme is making to local residents. Further embedding the joint working between the police, the council and many local partners is going to cut crime and improve lives.

“There has been a lot of hard work by a number of partners over the past few years on this project and it is excellent to see that good work extended. I am delighted that the Home Office has recognised the benefit of this ground-breaking approach and supported the bid.”

Councillor Jane Warmington, Executive councillor for Community Leadership at Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “This is fantastic news and a real vote of confidence in what the Halcon One Team has achieved over the last fifteen months.

“Staff who were already working in the area, from different agencies, are now meeting regularly, sharing information and working better together as one team.  This is starting to make a real difference to the lives of the people who live in the Halcon area.  This award will help all involved bring this new approach to other areas and develop this more efficient and effective way of working further.”

The Home Office Police Innovation Fund is awarded to projects aimed at transforming policing through innovation and collaboration.

The latest funding round saw three successful bids for the constabulary in total. For more information on these projects visit: http://www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk/News-and-Events/News-Archive/2014/July/Avon-and-Somerset-benefits-from-latest-Home-Office-Innovation-Fund.aspx

For more information on the Home Office Police Innovation Fund visit:https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-office-rewards-police-innovation-with-50-million