UPDATE: Knutsford Neighbourhood Policing Team October 2009
During October the subject of Anti Social Behaviour has been very topical both in the national press but also a lot closer to home. Tackling anti social behaviour is not just a matter for the police but one for all partner agencies and services to tackle together.
You may be surprised at just what a broad spectrum the term “anti social behaviour” covers and what type of incidents are actually included in the Home Office category. They range from what a lay person would consider to be ASB such as fights, drunken behaviour etc through to dog bites, abandoned vehicles but also stray dogs, horses and more recently peacocks! Often the ‘true’ level of ASB ie those type of incidents that make people feel unsafe are thus a lot lower than the reported statistics may suggest.
So how do we tackle ASB?
The Neighbourhood Policing Team will focus our attention and thus our activity in response to calls made from the public or partner agencies and will prioritise the areas where the greatest volume of calls and crimes relate to, it goes without saying. Sorting out “neighbours from hell” may involve a lengthy operation in partnership with a housing association, a council’s environmental health department but will often draw in social services and the schools. A ruling in the civil courts as opposed to the criminal courts may be the realistic way to settle lower level dispute between neighbours.
Every incident of ASB is reviewed by your local ward officer and this allows us as a team to prioritise and thus respond in a dynamic and timely fashion to these Hot Spot areas. In this way we are more able to nip things in the bud before they get out of hand and draw in support from partners at the outset.
A large proportion of our work is carried out behind the scenes following the initial identification of those carrying out such behaviour. Where incidents involve juveniles letters are sent home, home visits are carried out and the school is contacted to ascertain what if any issues they are having in the school environment. On occasions there are underlying problems at home, drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence or mental health problems. There is never one fits all approach, each individual is dealt with in on an individual
Basis and often police involvement with that individual will cease and a support agency will take over and address their issues. As an area however we must not lose sight of the fact that our current ASBOs in Knutsford only relate to adult offenders and not to teenagers. The vast majority of teenagers in Knutsford never come to the notice of the authorities but the handful that do keep us adequately employed! We receive tremendous support from all our junior schools and high school when addressing criminality or vulnerability when dealing with their pupils.
A visit to the recently launched Home Office website www. maps.police.uk will provide you with levels of ASB as well as crime at a post code level. Where you see comments alongside these are my attempts to contextualise the statistics that you see and I do this on a monthly basis.
I am equally more than happy to discuss any areas of concern with regards to ASB as well as crime and am simply a phone call or email away as are my staff.