By Calvin at 11:52 GMT, 5 years ago
‘In Focus - Anti-social Behaviour’, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ second national awareness campaign, was launched on Monday this week ahead of Halloween on October 31 and Guy Fawkes’ Night on November 5.
I’ve reproduced the rather long press release in full, because it contains some interesting points.
ACPO is working with forces across England and Wales in focusing on tackling ASB which, while a year-round issue, is especially prevalent as the nights draw in at the end of October.
While anti-social behaviour is actually decreasing, public perception of ASB remains high, something DCC Edens says is because “people don’t really know what it is.”
According to figures from the British Crime Survey 2012, while there has been a 30 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour since 2007, 46,031 of people living in England and Wales who were surveyed believe it has increased in their area.
“This clearly means that a conversation needs to be had about what people actually consider to be anti-social behaviour,” said DCC Edens.
“Unfortunately, there is no precise definition of anti-social behaviour,” he said. “It’s a broad remit which covers a range of unacceptable behaviour such as street drinking, environmental damage, fly-posting and begging.
“But it’s important we don’t become intolerant to normal child-like behaviour: there’s a marked difference between a group of children gathering in the street and gangs roaming neighbourhoods bringing with them intimidation and fear.
“It’s important we are clearer on what ASB is so the public have confidence to pick up the phone and call us when they’re suffering.
“This time of year also demands a certain degree of tolerance. Not everyone likes trick or treating and not everyone feels it has a place in communities in the UK. But it’s now part of our culture and we should expect children to be in high spirits at that time.
“That being said, it’s important that parents, schools and we, the police do our bit to teach young people to recognise that not everyone considers trick or treating fun and for some, having unsolicited callers at their door after dark can be frightening. It’s a balance of tolerance and respect.
“Everyone has the right to go about their daily life without the threat of being a victim of anti-social behaviour. One person’s fun should never be another’s misery.”
Tackling anti-social behaviour is year-long priority for forces – but its prominence increases in the days and weeks around Halloween and bonfire night.
Vulnerable people can be left feeling scared and worried around this time of year because of uninvited trick or treating, or firework misuse. And young people need to be aware that not everyone wants to take part in their fun.
Over the next week, ‘In Focus – Anti-social Behaviour’ will see forces increasing their patrols, identifying vulnerable and ASB hotspots, providing advice and finding solutions to issues that communities are facing.
Police officers will be joined by members of the Special Constabulary and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and will [be] tweeting during their Halloween and bonfire night patrols.
Police will be engaging with young people, visiting schools to talk about the impact of anti-social behaviour as well as staying safe and behaving responsibly over Halloween and Bonfire night, and working with local partners to organise activities for young people over the period.
The Fire Service will be joining police on patrols in many parts of the country and will be conducting test purchasing operations to ensure retailers aren’t selling fireworks to those who are underage.
It will also be an opportunity to encourage the public to have an open, honest discussion with police about what they consider anti-social behaviour to be.
DCC Edens will be taking to Twitter this Wednesday, October 30 to talk to the public about their experiences and answer questions about policing and anti-social behaviour.
“While the campaign will highlight the work undertaken by forces to keep people feeling safe and secure in their communities; it’s an opportunity to have a frank, open and honest debate about the nature of anti-social behaviour.
“With police having to do [more] with [less], decisions need to be made about priorities – and such discussions will be invaluable in shaping those decisions.”
Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Victim Support said: “ASB can be traumatic, exhausting to live with, and isolates victims within their own communities, so they must be able to access support - irrespective of the perceived degree of harm caused.
“Unfortunately they can often face a confusing range of agencies, including police, housing providers, local authorities, and healthcare providers before they get the help they need. This can often be time consuming and frustrating especially if the victim is vulnerable.
“Victim Support can offer practical and emotional support to anyone affected by ASB regardless of whether or not the incident is considered a criminal offence. We have many local projects to encourage joined-up working and provide targeted support to those who need it. We urge victims not to suffer in silence, and instead contact us in confidence, on 0845 30 30 900.”
Sir Graham Bright, Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of unacceptable activities from nuisance neighbours and vandalism, to intimidation. It is a blight on many of our communities and can make victims’ lives a misery. Often they will be afraid to leave their homes and it wears victims down to the point where sometimes they feel they can’t go on and have nowhere to turn. By increasing community cohesion and building trust amongst local communities we can diminish the tendency for people to get involved in anti-social behaviour.
“Police and Crime Commissioners have been closely following the progress of the anti-social behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. We want the police to be given effective powers to tackle anti-social behaviour that provide better protection for victims. In particular, we welcome measures to tackle irresponsible dog ownership but more must be done to tackle dangerous breeds.
“One of the key debates is how we divert young people away from committing anti-social behaviour. A small minority of children and young people commit anti-social behaviour so enforcement responses need to be proportionate and effective.
“It is also important to have a multi-agency approach to tackling anti-social behaviour as the police are only one part of the solution. By working with local authorities, housing associations and other agencies we can effectively combat anti-social behaviour and empower victims and communities.”
TRICK OR TREAT!
Don’t forget that if you don’t want trick or treaters knocking on your door you can probably download an A4 notice from your local police website. If they haven’t prepared one you could use the one available from Warwickshire and West Mercia Police from this link: http://www.westmercia.police.uk/assets/_files/documents/oct_13/wmp__1381495887_A5_flyer_Halloween2013.pdf
Failing that you can always make one yourself saying something like: ‘Trick or Treat – No Thanks!’