OPINION: partnership is working

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One of the favourite phrases of the moment is partnership working. It is much-loved among professionals who hope that by sharing the burden of a challenging problem, more can be achieved.

The idea is that if we work together, we make more progress because we share information and ideas. We understand the problems of other interested parties and can learn from their experience.

The danger is, these initiatives become talking shops, where there’s much talk but no action.

So we are pleased to see a fine example of this theory bearing fruit here in Sheffield.

The case in point is police finding cannabis plants after reports from people of a suspicious smell.

Those good citizens called in after being given ‘scratch and sniff cards’ to teach residents what cannabis smells like.

The hope was that people who had been unaware of the smell would recognise it and alert police to cannabis factories.

It worked a treat as tip-offs to Crimestoppers on the back of the cards boomed.

The public clearly trust the anonymous reporting system offered by Crimestoppers because the cards led to a 34 per cent increase in calls.

These calls helped police identify 1,600 cannabis farms and seize £89,000 worth of cannabis plants.

Officers also made 15 arrests as a result of the information passed on.

Impressive figures indeed from an initiative which was meant to empower the public as more than 200,000 scratch and sniff cards were handed out.

We cannot underestimate the negative impact on communities of organised drug dealing so initiatives like this to reduce such criminality can only be a good thing.

We are also pleased to see Crimestoppers says its commitment to fighting crime has never been stronger.

If it continues to explore new and innovative ways to educate, empower and encourage the UK public to fight crime, we will all benefit.