Lately I have been asked a lot whether I think that Hull has a problem with antisocial behaviour and the short answer is no.
I know antisocial behaviour can and does really affect people’s lives and when this happens we have to stop it. We have to catch those responsible and deal with it. This is always a priority for us.
Inevitably, you are going to get exuberant teenager behaviour, groups of young people that can seem a bit threatening, but for the most part all they want to do is hang out together and have fun.
Those who do break the law – for example by damaging property, breaching court orders or stealing – are arrested, charged and brought before the courts.
The trick is for us to work out when it’s really serious and when it’s kids being kids – and that’s not an easy task.
The last thing we want to do is criminalise children when there’s another way of dealing with it that will ultimately be better for them and the rest of the community.
By the same token, we don’t want to trivialise the impact antisocial behaviour can have.
It’s really important to us that we get this right and so we were really pleased when HMIC graded us as good preventing and tackling antisocial behaviour in our latest inspection.
HMIC recognised our commitment to “making use of a range of powers and tactics” to address antisocial behaviour and this is equally applicable whether we’re talking about fly tipping and other environmental problems, neighbour disputes or young people being a nuisance.
The inspectors also highlighted that we had increased the number of officers and staff working in our communities by 55 in the last year.
Chief Inspector Michelle Garlick, Hull Community Policing Team.
If you would like to read more about what HMIC had to say about the way we deal with antisocial behaviour, you can read the report here
So where has this perception that there is an issue come from?
You’ve probably seen the reports in the media and on social media lately about antisocial behaviour in a number of areas of Hull. We have too and we don’t like to hear that people are feeling like this.
I hope that you can feel reassured that we have one of the lowest reported levels of antisocial behaviour in the country and that where there are issues, we are dealing with it.
As it stands, in North Hull we have seven active Criminal Behaviour Orders, two Antisocial Behaviour Orders and an Antisocial Behaviour Injunction. Others have restraining orders, Youth Referral Orders, Community Protection Notices or electronic curfews.
All these measures are designed to stop the people who are causing a problem from going to certain areas or behaving in a way that causes people concern or harm.
But it’s not all about punishment – and it’s not just a policing issue. We work with families and our partners to try and resolve whatever it is that’s causing the problem in the first place.
Some families are offered parenting courses, social and youth services can offer other forms of intervention and we work with the council and housing associations to look at moving problem families away from areas.
We also get involved with organising diversionary activities to encourage young people to build more positive relationships with our teams and the wider community.
Breaking down these barriers with young people and getting them to see that we’re not the enemy is really powerful – and those who do often become fantastic role models to others.
Finally, it’s important to remember that we all have a role to play.
My appeal to you would be to keep talking to us. We know not everything is reported to us, for a number of different reasons, but I assure you that the information you give us is vital.
It helps us to look at the bigger picture and ensure that we’re putting the right people, from the right organisation, where they need to be.
We will listen and we will act on it, but if we don’t know about it we can’t do anything. If you have any information or concerns, call us on 101 – or 999 if you think you’re in danger.
Speak to our officers when we’re out and about, fill in our online reporting form or, if you’d rather be anonymous, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
For all the latest news about what’s happening in your community to tackle antisocial behaviour, follow us on Twitter and Facebook #TogetherAgainstASB.