Over the last two weeks, I have been busy setting up work streams to deliver all my manifesto pledges. One of my key promises, is to make sure our police take a zero-tolerance approach to all Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). But what do I mean by ASB?
Often, ASB is regarded as relatively ‘low profile’ incidents. Yet if you are a victim, the impact and pain can be considerable with a real impact on your quality of life.
Based on my discussions with residents about which crimes concern you most, mine is a deliberately wide definition. It includes neighbourhood crimes such as burglary, speeding, vandalism and theft offences alongside more traditional anti-social behaviour such as littering, fly-tipping, noisy neighbours, street drinking, illegal and unsafe parking, abandoned vehicles, etc.
ASB should be recognised as an early warning and we should engage with those at risk of escalating into further criminality. That is why taking a zero-tolerance approach can have many immediate and long term benefits. Of course I want to prevent offending, but I also want to concentrate on early intervention by the police and partners to prevent problems becoming embedded and engrained.
I was pleased to see that last week, we saw neighbourhood police, fire and rescue service, council and community trust officers taking comprehensive action in Oakley, Cheltenham, in response to regular reports of ASB, drinking, drug taking and arson. As well as taking action, they promoted Neighbourhood Watch as a good way to encourage and empower residents to play their part in keeping their community safe.
I strongly support Neighbourhood Watch and want to see it adopted throughout the County.
I would like to see engagement at the earliest possible opportunity and was pleased that our Constabulary is working hard to deliver my demanding election manifesto, and starting to make an impact on fighting ASB – and I will soon be turning my attention to some of the deep-seated causes of ASB.
The Police can’t do this alone. The work has to be in partnership with councils, charities and other stakeholders to understand how best to find the right solutions. Working together, taking a multi-agency approach to make the best use of limited resources, is the best way to solve ASB and achieve lasting change.