Fall In Anti-Social Behaviour

25 September 2010, 07:00

After claims this week police aren't treating anti-social behaviour seriously enough - it's actually gone down by more than 10% in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Sir Denis O'Connor, the chief inspector of constabulary, said that while police often do not see tackling anti-social behaviour as ``real policing'', for the public it was no different from other crimes.

However, Chief Constable of Suffolk Police told Heart: "It's the sort of thing that affects people's everyday quality of life. Whilst we live in a very safe county, anti-social behaviour is the single biggest issue. We've been working really hard to work with the public so that we're sure that we are addressing the issues that really matter to them."

He also told us that 10% was a good figure: "In a county where crime and anti-social behaviour in relative terms is low, to drive a 10% reduction is a very good start. But we are certainly not complacent and we will continue to work tirelessly with communities to make sure we do all we can to make sure it stays low and to push it even lower still."

All forces in England and Wales were inspected by HMIC earlier this year, with inspectors looking at the processes that forces use to tackle and respond to ASB.

Part of the inspection included a survey with local people, asking questions about people's perception of ASB and their experience in reporting ASB to their local police force.

Suffolk's survey showed that:

· 74% of people surveyed were satisfied with the way police
handled their call overall (national average: 65%).
· 88% were satisfied that the police listened to what they had to
say (national average: 82%).
· 61% were satisfied with information provided to them after the
call (national average: 56%).
· 58% felt that their call made a difference to the problem
(national average: 53%).

In its concluding remarks on the survey results, the report says:

"It can be seen that the force is doing well in the areas considered in the survey. The survey also showed significantly fewer of the ASB victims in Suffolk felt that ASB was a big problem in their area than the national average. In addition, the proportion of ASB victims who felt that ASB affected their daily routine was far lower than in most forces. This is a good result for the force."

Latest figures show that ASB has fallen across Suffolk by 11.7%. There have been 18,851 incidents of ASB reported to police between April 1 and September 20, compared to 21,337 for the same period last year.

The report also found that Safer Neighbourhood Team officers were working well with colleagues from partner agencies to prioritise and tackle ASB issues together.

However, the report suggested that more focus was needed on the service provided to repeat or vulnerable victims of ASB.

This is already being implemented through the creation of joint ASB partnership teams across the county, which will focus their energy on dealing with incidents which have vulnerable or repeat victims.

In Norfolk:

The police say with adopting anti-social behaviour as a force priority, the Constabulary has out-performed the national average in all four areas of inspection:

73% were satisfied overall with the way the police handled their call - national average is 65%

94% were satisfied the police listened to what they had to say - national average is 82%

60% were satisfied with information provision following call - national average is 56%

62% Feel the call made a difference to the problem - national average is 53%

Norfolk Police and local authority partners have introduced a joint anti-social behaviour (ASB) strategy that encourages the sharing of knowledge and intelligence about ASB.

In practice, it enables the partners to identify repeat offenders, vulnerable people and problem locations, and work to a common framework that allows the joint management of cases with agreed actions.

The strategy is around prevention of ASB, sharing knowledge, supporting victims, listening to communities, supporting offenders to help them change their behaviour and telling the community what is happening.

Overall there's been a reduction of 7961 incidents in the past year - that's 63,256 reduced to 55,295, giving a total fall of around 13%.

Julian Blazeby, Assistant Chief Constable (Local Policing Services) said:

"In this county anti-social behaviour is treated as seriously as crime as we recognise the impact on victims and communities and their quality of life. And like crime, tackling anti-social behaviour in a way that satisfies the public is a priority for the Constabulary. We'll continue to work in close partnership with local authorities to support victims and communities as we believe our joint approach is the reason why the independent survey results were so positive. They reflect our early interventions and swift action."

Stephen Bett, chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, said:

"A big well done to the Constabulary. We are very pleased that people are appreciating the efforts that the Constabulary is making in tackling the modern day scourge of society - the partnership working is clearly bearing fruit."