Wiltshire

Wiltshire PCC: Tackling anti-social behaviour

  • 12 November 2012
  • From the section Wiltshire

Anti-social behaviour remains a concern for residents in Wiltshire even though it has been prioritised in the force's policing plan.

It has also been highlighted as a key issue by some of the police and crime commissioner candidates.

Wiltshire Police attributed a peak in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents during 2011-12 financial year due to a change in the way incidents were recorded.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Hedley said: "We recognised that last year and looked at the reasons because it was very concerning for us.

"What we did find was an imposed change [from the Home Office] in the method of recording anti-social behaviour.

"So the bureaucracy change meant a far wider span in the incidents that were reported to us and that caused a great deal of the increase in 2011-12."

One way the force reduced anti-social behaviour was to protect staffing levels for neighbourhood policing teams and working closely with councils and housing associations.

Since March 2012, 16,000 incidents have been recorded so far. The force has set a target of less than 28,000 incidents by next March.

While efforts are under way to tackle anti-social behaviour, what ideas do police candidates have to tackle the problem?

PAUL BATCHELOR - Liberal Democrat

"Anti-social behaviour affects every community, whether it's a small town or a large city around Wiltshire and Swindon, it has an impact. I feel that we can have a much better quality of life in Wiltshire if that was tackled head on.

"We've got the neighbourhood police teams who do a spectacular job and are well-respected within the community.

"It would be my imperative to support them and make sure they have all the facilities they need to carry on doing the good job that they do."

ANGUS MACPHERSON - Conservative

"Anti-social behaviour isn't just a policing matter, it's a community issue and it affects us all in many ways, but it must be addressed through community action and not just through policing action.

"The police come in when communities fail and at that stage you need robust action and the criminal justice system.

"But before that happens, we need to support projects right across the voluntary sector and the communities themselves to implement activities and projects that reduce anti-social behaviour."

CLARE MOODY - Labour

"I would protect the neighbourhood policing teams which people value very, very highly... and tackle anti-social behaviour where people are impacted by it.

"It can mean people stay indoors as they feel bullied in their home environment and it is vital that it is actually addressed as a priority.

"Can you imagine what an individual has gone through if they've phoned the police five times to get some intervention on anti-social behaviour? That cannot be right."

JOHN SHORT - UK Independence Party

"I would have a zero-tolerance policy and make sure that it is at the foremost when formulating the policing plan.

"We would need to make sure anti-social behaviour is cut down to the limit, if not eradicated. I would not wish to take away resources for anti-social behaviour because in the past it's been given a low profile.

"Policing in its general terms needs to go back to how it was 30 years ago when you had proper policemen on the beat and the community knew the policemen, they lived with the community they protected."

LIAM SILCOCKS - Independent

"The police have to work within the legal guidelines, but ultimately there is a responsibility with housing associations and landlords and also the courts.

"The courts are ultimately the ones who dish out the punishment and they need to start being tougher. At the moment the offenders get away with it.

"As police commissioners we can influence the courts and can collectively influence courts and government policy. We can also hold Chief Constables to account to make sure they are responding to instances of anti-social behaviour within a reasonable time limit. "

COLIN SKELTON - Independent

"I would aim to recruit 300 new police officers - with 150 going to neighbourhood policing teams because they are the best people to tackle anti-social behaviour.

"I also want to set up Situational Crime Reduction Teams that would work with other agencies to offer bespoke solutions.

"One example I know about is where a group of kids would hang around the end of a street which had a low wall where they would congregate and cause trouble. The team came in and got the wall built up to 4ft high and the kids disappeared."

The police and crime commissioner elections take place on 15 November.

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