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“It’s not just ASB” – New police service standard to address ‘hidden crimes’ in anti-social behaviour

This week marks Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) week – a week of raising awareness of anti-social behaviour and the vital role that the wider public can have in helping us tackle it.

Here in Avon and Somerset, we are launching a new ASB Service Standard to ensure we are delivering a service that supports victims of anti-social behaviour and deals robustly with perpetrators.

Anti-social behaviour can have a devastating effect on our communities and individuals within them. Many people who report anti-social behaviour don’t realise they have also been a victim of a crime.  

As part of the new service standard, we will be tackling anti-social behaviour in a way that:

  • Reduces its impact on victims and communities
  • Develops learning and resolution for perpetrators
  • Reduces harm
  • Manages repeat perpetrators through appropriate justice resolutions

Force Lead for Anti-Social Behaviour, Chief Inspector Robert Cheeseman, said:

“Many people who contact us to report ASB do not realise that they are also a victim of crime. Whether it is harassment, criminal damage, or something else, some offenders of ASB are committing a criminal act as well as causing distress to the victims involved.

“Our new force standard means we’ll aim to speak to all victims of ASB and check for hidden crimes. This will mean we can safeguard them, offer the right support and most importantly prosecute offenders. We want victims in Avon and Somerset to have the confidence to report anti-social behaviour and know that it will be taken seriously.”

Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford, said: “The work Avon and Somerset Police is doing around ASB will have a huge – and positive – impact on those who report it. We know that ASB can have a long-lasting impact on the lives of victims and communities and this activity will help to reduce crime associated with ASB and make our communities feel safer.”

Whilst safeguarding the victims is the priority, working with the offenders to prevent reoffending and any further harm on the individual or communities involved is also a vital part of the work that Avon and Somerset are involved in.

There are many ways of trying to resolve anti-social behaviour outside of the criminal justice system, one recent example involved a young person who was displaying persistent and aggressive anti-social behaviour, often dragging other young people into acts of ASB and at times, criminality. The young person in question was only 13 years old at the time.

The individual was causing significant harassment, alarm, and distress within their residential building. Avon and Somerset Police worked with the local ASB team, Youth Offending Services, Housing Association, and the local council to place a civil injunction on the young person and were able to move the family to a different address. The civil injunction set out a robust set of conditions including mentoring and educational programmes with partners to address their childhood traumas and redress their perceptions of acceptable behaviour, as well as providing their family with support.

This joined up approach led to the young person’s offending significantly decreasing and gave members of the local community their lives back free from harassment, and a marked improvement in police and community relationships.

No one should have to suffer anti-social behaviour. If you have an ongoing problem you can report it to us here: Report anti-social behaviour | Avon and Somerset Police