Sussex Police is supporting Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Awareness Week.
In this week of action, the force aims to increase people’s understanding of what ASB is, its impact on people’s lives and how it can lead to more serious crime.
“Working as a team with the community providing and sharing information and partners identifying and addressing issues, we can successfully tackle local issues,” said Chief Inspector Kris Ottery, the force’s lead on ASB.
“We are committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and reducing the harm that it causes in our communities. We work closely with local authorities, other agencies and the community to seek opportunities for early intervention, support victims, and make appropriate use of the powers available to us where the behaviour persists.”
ASB comes in many forms and can be confusing sometimes for victims to know what incident is ASB and what agency is responsible for tackling which incident. Police can work with partners to use powers such as community protection warnings and notices, criminal behaviour orders, civil injunctions, closure orders and dispersal powers.
Across the county work is being done to tackle ASB. At The Level in Brighton, information from the community has been vital in building a picture of what is going on with partners working hard to make it a pleasant and enjoyable place. So far in July there has been an 84 per cent decrease in reported ASB compared with the same month last year. Increased patrols and a mobile unit has seen a significant fall in the number of street drinkers and ASB in New Road.
Regular patrols in hotspot areas across Sussex have led to positive action. Operation Blitz is an ongoing initiative in East Sussex to deter and deal with anti-social behaviour, with officers being specifically tasked to respond to such incidents. On Friday and Saturday evenings, identified as the most likely times for trouble to occur, a dedicated phone number allows people to report ASB concerns directly to these teams. Newhaven will see a pilot scheme over the summer holidays focusing on young people causing ASB in the town.
Recent partnership working resulted in securing a closure order for a problematic address in St Leonards where ASB and drug related activity had been reported and now the property has been closed for three months.
Criminal behaviour orders have led to a woman this month being banned from residing in Arun and Chichester for five years, a decrease in car break-ins when a prolific criminal was banned from Adur and Worthing, and has curbed issues created by a 15-year-old in Mid Sussex. Dispersal orders have successfully moved on young people in Horsham town centre.
In Crawley street community intensification days led to alcohol being removed from the street community, who were given advice about aggressive begging and moved on. The police have been working with the borough council and the Give Back Crawley initiative, encouraging people to give money to businesses who will help the street community rather than giving it to those begging.
Prevention teams, including increased numbers of PCSOs, are carrying out vital work every day. During this awareness week we will be highlighting the work they do every day with partners to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) that has a real impact on the lives of individuals and communities.
As part of the week of action we will be targeting hot spot areas around Sussex with joint patrols with community wardens, and pop up ASB question and answer sessions in town centres with local authorities, housing associations and Neighbourhood Watch.
More than 200 children aged 10-17 have now been referred into REBOOT, an early intervention scheme launched by Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne to tackle anti-social behaviour and curb serious violence across Sussex.
PCC Katy Bourne comments: “Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a societal problem which requires a robust partnership approach and positive policing. I want local residents to be reassured that Sussex Police is taking ASB seriously and acknowledging the negative and cumulative effect that it has on our communities.
“I’m aware from speaking extensively to the public that ASB causes immense distress and suffering to its victims and they do not regard it as ‘low-level crime’. I’m pleased to hear of targeted policing operations in hotspot areas and I encourage the public to keep reporting to the Police so they can feed that learning and intelligence into their activity.
“My REBOOT scheme is already beginning to divert hundreds of young people across Sussex away from this sort of behaviour. We are working hard with partners to identify those engaging in ASB and putting them through a proven 5-stage process.
“After meetings with a PCSO (stage 1), the vast majority are not creating further problems for the community. This approach is clearly working because it empowers the young person to make better decisions and educates them on the consequence of their actions.”
During the week, social media messages will be shared to help to ensure that victims know which agency to report each type of ASB and what can be done to deal with it so that local issues can be resolved.
To find out about ASB, read more here.
You can also find out more about ASB and the support available here.
Communities can work together to prevent crime. By joining an existing Neighbourhood Watch scheme or becoming a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator your community can be stronger together. To find out more about Neighbourhood Watch, visit their website.
If you have experienced three incidents of ASB in the last six months and not received a satisfactory response, you can activate the Community Trigger through Sussex Police or your local authority. For more information visit here.
Author: Jenni Nuttall