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Paper 104: The Role of the Community Safety Officer within Wales: Challenges and Opportunities

Adam Edwards, Gordon Hughes, Jasmin Tregidga

'This research report was funded by the Welsh Association of Community Safety Officers in 2007.  The report summarises the key findings for policy makers and practitioners as well as researchers and students of the first all-Wales evaluation of the diverse and changing roles of community safety managers and officers across all twenty two local authorities in Wales. The research methods deployed included a questionnaire survey, textual analysis of key policy documents, in-depth interviews with local lead officers, elected members, and key Home Office and Welsh Assembly Government civil servants. The work of these new experts in supposed 'joined-up' , multi-agency community governance is investigated in the context of the changing political and policy context of the Home Office reform programme around crime and disorder reduction and community safety partnerships across England and Wales as well as the particular agenda on community safety associated with the partially devolved powers of the Welsh Assembly Government. The report focuses particularly on the voices and narratives of the increasingly important but often frustrated front-line managers and workers in the local governance of safety and ordering.

The report is organised as follows: following an executive summary in Part 1, Part 2 addresses the broad policy context of the Home Office Reform Programme and the Welsh Assembly Government's own agenda on safer communities. Part 3 then examines  the roles performed by lead community safety officers in Wales. Part 4 then goes on to explore the differing capacities for community safety work across the localities of Wales. Part 5 then examines the responses to the Home office Reform programme across the major stakeholders interviewed. Finally Part 6 addresses the options for change arising out of these findings. In particular it is suggested in this concluding section that these options for change may be conceived in terms of two basic themes, namely: (1) the varying economies of scale confronting officers and managers in fulfilling their duties; and (2) the tension between the strategic and operational split in this problem-solving work. In conclusion the case is made for significant financial investment in the posts of senior community safety managers and their emergent teams given the increasingly axial importance of community safety as a key feature of the new local governance and these actors' potentially pivotal place as a new breed of
multi-agency-oriented, public servants.

Please note that academic papers based on this research project will be appearing shortly '

Paper 104: The Role of the Community Safety Officer within Wales: Challenges and Opportunities, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, (2008), ISBN 978-1-904815-69-3