Neighborhoods to set out acceptable levels of local services

The Home Office is to launch a scheme that is intended to allow communities to have a greater say in how their local areas are policed and improve communication with local service providers.

It is looking for 10 areas in England to pilot neighbourhood agreements that will require residents to sign a contract with their local police, councils and other agencies that set out acceptable levels of service.

The agreements are intended to give communities a clearer view of what services they are entitled to and enable them to help target the worst crime and antisocial behaviour issues in their areas.

The 10 "pathfinders" will be selected from joint applications submitted by local councils and police forces and then be assessed. If the pilot is successful, the pathfinder initiative could be rolled out across England and Wales in spring 2011, the Home Office said.

Policing and crime minister David Hanson said: "We want the public, wherever they live, to be confident their local police and council are tackling the crime and anti-social behaviour issues that matter in their area. That is why the only target we now set for police is to improve public confidence."

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