I noted with interest this article about how war on anti-social behaviour is being won in Nottinghamshire. The statistics are certainly impressive – a 36% drop in the likes of noise, graffiti, letting off fireworks and fly-tipping, translating to over 20,000 less victims over the past four years. The experience of residents seems to confirm these figures. A read through the article identifies a number of different factors that are mentioned as helping achieve this reduction. In no particular order they are:
- residents speaking out persistently to authorities about the issues
- neighbours talking together and working as a community
- partnership working between agencies
- more flexible legislation when the 2014 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act was introduced
- use of CCTV and high visibility patrols
- police choosing to focus time and resources on anti-social behaviour
This is a fairly comprehensive list and worth exploring.
- The article mentions the residents were “on the verge of launching vigilante action” in 2010. The residents were about to take things into their own hands and the police clearly had to act. With the Community Trigger now in operation, unresolved anti-social behaviour should not need to get to this kind of level. A multi-agency case review can be insisted upon by victims long before it gets to this stage.
- Not only did the residents push for results, they were also part of the solution – working together as a community to “nip things in the bud”. It is surely a 21st century problem that many neighbours do not even know each other anymore and that this can make tackling problem behaviour much more difficult. When we chat and live in community, we often become more tolerant and understanding – when we are all strangers there is a risk we can over-react. (See our ‘Let’s be Reasonable’ page for how to weigh up whether behaviour is anti-social and our ‘Empowering Communities’ page for ideas on how a community can work together to bring change.)
- There is no doubt that partnership working is absolutely key to dealing effectively with anti-social behaviour. Time and time again we hear of how things work well in a particular area because the agencies talk together, share information and problem-solve. There are areas where police officers, council officers and even a Victim Support ASB champion share office space – is it any surprise they are more primed to act quickly and effectively to reports of ASB than places where each agency is insular and separate?
- It is good to see the police stating that the new legislation has made it easier for them to deal with ASB since that was indeed the purpose of creating the new law! For more information about these streamlined powers see here: https://asbhelp.co.uk/what-the-law-says/
- Let’s not forget the importance of deterrents and high-quality evidence. CCTV and good lighting act as excellent deterrents for crime and anti-social behaviour, high-visibility patrols from the police even more so.
- Underlying this article is the obvious fact that the police has chosen to dedicate time and resources to tackle anti-social behaviour in Nottinghamshire. In spite of ongoing cuts to the police budget and so many other demands on their resources, they have chosen to show residents that they do care about how bad the ASB had got and that they do want to respond and improve things. They are to be congratulated on these results.
We all know there is no quick, neat, easy fix for anti-social behaviour. We also know that left unchecked a situation, and even a whole neighbourhood, can quickly deteriorate. Early intervention is always the best option. When things are bad, it will require a number of different solutions – other areas might do well to look at what has been achieved here and seek to replicate it.
In the article, Superintendent Richard Fretwell, deputy divisional policing commander for Nottinghamshire, says that by “sharing best practice from across the county and city” they have been able to understand how to use the new legislation to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour. Great to see BEST PRACTICE shared – we would love to see that done from region to region so that all victims can benefit from those who have tried and tested out the legislation and can speak with experience of what will be most effective to stop ASB.