Showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon, Op Galaxy and the Hull North Neighbourhood Policing Team have been tackling issues of anti-social behaviour and related criminality head on, making over 100 arrests in the last two months. But the challenge faced is greater than just being able to ‘arrest out of it’, as Chief Superintendent Darren Downs, who is also the Hull and East Yorkshire divisional commander, reflects on below.
He said: “Clearly antisocial behaviour is a challenge for us. There are lots of areas of the city experiencing antisocial behaviour and it’s something we do a tremendous amount of work in trying to reduce and trying to reassure our communities.
“At the start of October, Op Galaxy and the Neighbourhood team intensified their proactive action targeting those at the centre of anti-social behaviour and crime reports in North Hull.
“We’ve upped officer numbers in the area, executed drugs warrants, stopped and searched a number of vehicles and individuals, and have taken a number of high harm offenders off the streets.
“The action has been specifically looking to target organised crime groups and those at the centre of anti-social behaviour, including those frequently breaching the Covid-19 regulations. Most importantly, we’ve been disrupting those causing the community the most harm.
“The team have been regularly updating the public about this work on our local social media pages and My Community Alert. It’s been pleasing to see so much positive feedback come in on the back of this and it’s important to us that the community know what we’re up to.
“Crime levels for the ward are now at the lowest for this time of year since before 2017, with crime over the past three weeks down 27% compared with before the intensification period. Offences such as burglary, criminal damage, vehicle theft, shop theft, drugs and anti-social behaviour have all seen significant sustained decreases.
“In the first eight weeks of this action, we’ve arrested over 100 people, executed ten drugs warrants, conducted over 100 stop and searches (individuals and vehicles), issued 43 fixed penalty notices for Covid breaches and seized four vehicles.
“Of those arrests, 38 have been charged and we’re already seeing some of those receiving fines or custodial sentences after being processed through the courts.”
Chief Supt Downs continued: “We don’t intend to take our foot off the gas in terms of enforcement and clearly some great progress has been made in the area.
“That being said, we all recognise that this is not an issue we can arrest ourselves out of; it’s far too complicated.
“Partnership working is key to tackling an issue as complex as anti-social behaviour. It’s why we come together regularly with the likes of the local council, house associations, education and health professionals and social services to look at what we are all doing individually, and more importantly, what we are and can be doing collectively to tackle the issue.
“We regularly discuss the opportunities already available to our young people such as the funded mentoring scheme for 14-year-olds and upward, aimed at positive diversion. We also look at further possibilities for early intervention, engagement opportunities, mentoring, youth clubs or apprenticeship and training schemes.
“It does take time for initiatives like this to be set up, especially with the current challenges created by the ongoing pandemic, but every agency is dedicated to creating a legacy for our young people and making their community a place to be proud of.
“Following the success of the POD, we’ve also got a new multi-agency hub opening soon which will be based in one of the shop units off Ellerburn Avenue. This will provide a more permanent presence in the area for residents to chat to us and other agencies about the issues that matter to them.
“I know that our ongoing Humber Talking initiative has proven extremely well taken up in North Hull too. The community has been very forthcoming with highlighting the problems they face and giving us information regarding anti-social and criminal behaviour taking place.
“Much of that information has been what has informed our engagement and enforcement action, as well as helped us to pass concerns that may not be policing specific issues to the relevant agencies.”
Summarising his thoughts, Chief Supt Darren Downs said: “Despite success and improvements we’ve seen in the area, we have got to do a lot more together because there are more than enough opportunities in this city for all our young people to be involved in and make a real difference in their lives and everybody else’s lives.
“It’s a really difficult time for kids, not being at school, lockdown periods, not seeing friends. It’s a different environment and it’s way more complicated than just blaming the children.
“Together, we’ve got to come together to solve some of these issues once and for all and give our young people something else to look to.
“We as a Force are extremely committed to creating long term solutions to the problems faced and making our communities feel safer and stronger than ever.
“North Hull have some of the most vibrant communities within the area we cover and we really don’t want that positive energy and community spirit to subside. I’m confident in us all pulling together and putting the work in, we can make a difference.”
If you have concerns about antisocial behaviour or crime, speak to your local officers, contact them via their website or social media (@humberbeat) or call the non-emergency 101 line.
Alternatively, some issues – for example noise and littering – are dealt with by your local council and can be reported directly to them. For more information, see their website.