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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Robocop says 'we've had enough'
Ray Mallon
Ray Mallon introduced zero tolerence policing to the UK
Controversial mayor Ray Mallon is creating the country's largest community police force in an attempt to cut crime on Teesside.

Mr Mallon - dubbed Robocop when he served as a detective - says his schemes will free Middlesbrough of "so-called beggars", cut crime in car parks and eliminate prostitution from the streets.

Declaring he wants to "replace fear with hope", Mr Mallon pledged to cut crime by 15% in the town over the next year.

To do that he will create almost 100 street wardens - the largest community protection force in the country.

As litter, graffiti, yobs and muggers blight Britain's streets, we in Middlesbrough say 'We have had enough

Middlesbrough mayor, Ray Mallon

To date the largest community policing scheme is in London, where 50 community officers pound the beat and answer calls from the public.

Middlesbrough has seen 14 street wardens operating on a trial basis.

Mr Mallon said: "Today in Middlesbrough we send out a message of hope to every town and city where decent people witness on a daily basis the decline of their local environment.

"As a tide of litter, graffiti, yobs and muggers blight Britain's streets and public buildings we in Middlesbrough say 'We have had enough'.

"For the first time in this country, the town hall is truly taking charge of affairs."

Mr Mallon said the local authority had to get involved as a result of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Local Government Act 2000 which state local authorities must work to cut crime and disorder.

'Clean streets'

Part of that aim will be achieved by using the police technique of mapping areas where crimes take place and devising a strategy to tackle them.

He added: "This process will be known as active intelligence mapping and will absorb information from over 80 different sources.

"At a touch of the button it tells me, the mayor, what is going on in the town."

Mr Mallon, credited with bringing US-style "zero tolerance" policing to Britain, said litter would also be a priority.

He said: "Clean streets send out the message that a community cares about its environment and by simply putting rubbish in a bin, the general public can take the first steps to saving our society.

"We aim to reduce the fear of crime so a trip to the shops can be completed without the heartbeat quickening as you turn a corner.

"In practical terms I expect that crime in this town will fall by 15% within a year of the launch.

"We will set ourselves other demanding targets.

"So-called beggars have become a scourge of towns and cities across Britain and in Middlesbrough their aggressive demands are now a deterrent to visitors and lone females.

Prostitution problems

"We intend to remove them from the street and if that makes us unpopular with the PC brigade then so be it."

He warned kerb-crawlers to stay away from the town which has become known as having one of the worst prostitution problems in the North East.

Mr Mallon added: "That then is our blueprint for a cleaner, safer, more attractive and prosperous society.

"It is our vision to replace fear with hope."

Middlesbrough MP Stuart Bell said: "I hope that not only will these initiatives be successful in Middlesbrough, but that they will be adopted by other councils up and down the land."

Mr Mallon resigned from Cleveland Police after he admitted breaching disciplinary rules.

In the mid-1990s Mr Mallon was made head of CID in Middlesbrough having cut crime in neighbouring Hartlepool by 35% in two-and-a-half years.

The BBC's Alan Powell
"Middlesbrough's new broom is sweeping away crime"

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