Agenda item

Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Strategic Group Update


The Committee considered a report of the Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change, which provided an update on the ongoing work of the Anti-Social Behaviour Strategic Group (for copy of report, see file of Minutes).


The Head of Community Protection Services was in attendance to present the report and deliver a presentation which provided Members with the performance update on the Anti-Social Behaviour Strategic Group (for copy of presentation, see file of Minutes).


Councillor Charlton referred to the increase in stray animals and asked how they were dealing with this as it was a large cost to the Council.


The Head of Community Protection Services responded that the Council wardens deal with any stray animals. They were encouraging reporting so there would be an increase in some areas due to this. She understood that the Neighbourhood Protection Manager would be attending a future meeting to discuss environmental issues and she would ask him to provide more detail on stray animals and trends.


Councillor Atkinson referred to the reporting of anti-social behaviour and stated that some residents were reluctant to report issues. If they did, that might lead to figures being higher than what are shown and asked if this was something that they found.


The Head of Community Protection Services responded that they did know there were more problems than was reported formally. She indicated that there was an elevated level of tolerance in some areas for fear of repercussions or they did not know who how to report it. There was also the big issue of fear of reprisal but they do offer confidential reporting lines so people can report anonymously and indicated that this was one of the key areas that they needed to work on. She continued by referring to the Trail blazer funding that brought in £2m funding for hot spot policing. The drive for where this resource should be targeted came from intelligence, so they needed to know they were putting resources into the right place.


Councillor McKenna referred to the statistics and asked about the category for off road bikes.


The Head of Community Protection Services responded that this was in the unknown category and would feed this back to colleagues to see if they could pick out this information.


Councillor Potts referred to the breakdown of reports by area and that Durham had 15% of reports, East had 24% of reports, North had 25% of reports and the South had 36% of reports and asked what the breakdown of staff was for those areas.


The Head of Community Protection Services indicated that she did not have the staffing breakdown and commented that it was a partnership. She continued that some work had been carried out around the volume of work from the local neighbourhood police teams and it may be useful to look at this across the partnership as well.


The Superintendent stated that resources were allocated where they needed to be within the financial restraints they had.


Councillor Potts referred to reporting and the 25,000 missed 101 calls in the first six months of this year. His residents had indicated that they did not report incidents anymore as no one came out and asked what improvements they were carrying out to improve the system.


The Head of Community Protection Services responded that this had been identified as an issue in the action plan. She stated that there was no wrong front door for people to contact. They are streamlining the reporting process as much as they can and encourage reporting in a number of different routes. She explained when the partnership receives a report it is passed onto the relevant service and they do not rely on 101 calls. She did feel there was an issue with apathy and were hearing that there was a different picture on the ground than what was reported. Some things were easier to tackle than others and a single back-office system was not going to happen overnight and they needed to look at what they could do in the short term to make it more effective. They needed to restore confidence and trust and they were starting to have conversations within the community without the need to report. Hopefully early intervention approach without the need for someone having to report and conversations with the community was key.


Councillor Nicholls indicated that he was concerned about dog fouling in his area and rubbish in general. He had seen an increase and commented when reported, particularly dog fouling was not cleaned up in a timely manner and asked if there was any reason for the increase.


The Head of Community Protection Services responded that it was evident in the performance report and was a high demand area. She would ask colleagues to do a future report to focus on environmental conditions and more clarity around what was going on.


In response to a further question from Councillor Nicholls, the Head of Community Protection Services indicated that the Council did have powers for the removal of rubbish but they had to establish if the rubbish was a hazard. She advised that they had a new team in Environmental Services who carry out yard clearances so this was dealt with quicker and advised Members that void properties were a target for rubbish and was the responsibility of the homeowner.


Councillor Andrews asked if they had inadequately resourced services and would it make a difference if they had the resources.


The Head of Community Protection Services responded with regard to anti-social behaviour you have to look at it from a partnership perspective and all partners do not have the resources that they need. The Trailblazing Pilot was not just about the police it was also about wardens etc. and indicated that they would never have enough resources but the key was partnership working. Reports were not always  received from the worst areas. She suggested areas where resources were needed had to report incidents. They needed to be proactive as well as reactive and be early with intervention.


Councillor Charlton asked if anti-social behaviour was worse in the winter than summer and if they could breakdown the data in particular in relation to dog fouling.


The Head of Community Protection Services responded that this was the case in particular with noise and fires that spike in the school holidays and advised that she could provide this breakdown on a quarterly basis.


Resolved: That the report and presentation be noted.

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