Crime-fighting bodies hope for Budget boost
Community workers want to know more about government funding of crime-fighting programmes, an activist said yesterday.
Desmond Crockwell, chief editor of anti-violence magazine Visionz, said people involved in intervention programmes would like to know if the Government would back community-based groups involved in crime fighting.
Mr Crockwell asked: “Are they thinking of offering other organisations funding?”
He was speaking after Curtis Dickinson, Minister of Finance, said the Ministry of National Security would focus its efforts on the gang violence reduction team and immigration reform in the new financial year.
Mr Crockwell said the plans outlined in the Budget Statement did not indicate if the Government would provide funding to other organisations that help in crime-fighting efforts.
He added: “I am speaking on behalf of community workers who are fighting for resource.
Mr Crockwell said: “I am not saying they will not, we would just like to know because nothing was said.”
Mr Crockwell said the Consolidated Assets Fund was in the past used to provide financial assistance to community-based organisations.
But he questioned whether the fund was still being used for that purpose.
He said community-based workers did not need large amounts of cash to get their work done, but that help from the Government would be appreciated.
Mr Crockwell added: “It takes everybody to fight crime.”
Mr Dickinson said earlier as he delivered his first Budget that the gang violence reduction team was expected to expand with the launch of the Redemption Farm programme this year.
He explained that the farm offered “a 12- to 16-week therapeutic, incentivised programme for at-risk individuals and aims to restore justice and discourage criminality through case management, educational and post-training services”.
He said the ministry would also continue to address and prevent antisocial behaviour through the Gang Resistance Education and Training programme, designed to prevent school-aged children from joining gangs. Mr Dickinson added that the team would also provide restorative justice sessions focused on intervention and mediation for prison inmates and others requiring assistance.
Mr Crockwell also called on the Government to reveal more about the gang violence reduction team.
He said: “As a government- funded programme, the community should be aware of the team so we don’t have programmes that duplicate this team.”
Mr Crockwell also questioned if the Government had new crime-fighting plans.
He added: “It is basically doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I don’t know if there is a correlation between Great and the reduction in crime.”
Mr Crockwell hoped the Government would provide answers during the Budget debates during the next few weeks.
The Ministry of National Security budget for the next financial year will be $134.9 million, an increase of $3.8 million over this year.
The allocation is also expected to advance the next phase of immigration reform, which tackled a backlog of work permit applications in the first phase.
Mr Dickinson said the second phase would improve efficiency, reduce costs and boost customer satisfaction with the department.