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Concerns raised that residents aren’t seeing improvements in anti-social behaviour despite 11% reduction in reports recorded in Newark and Sherwood

An 11.8% reduction in reports of anti-social behaviour has been recorded by police — but there are concerns that this drop isn’t felt by residents.

A community safety partnership report shared at Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Policy and Performance Improvement Committee meeting on June 24 explored crime data from Nottinghamshire Police.

It found a 1.1% increase in reported crime in the district in the 2023-24 financial year, compared to the previous year — but a reduction in reports of anti-social behaviour in the same time.

An 11.8% reduction in anti-social behaviour reports in the district has been recorded, with particular successes including diverting a group of youths in Newark town centre.
An 11.8% reduction in anti-social behaviour reports in the district has been recorded, with particular successes including diverting a group of youths in Newark town centre.

Part of this decrease was said to be a result of successes in diverting a particular group of youths involved in town-centre anti-social behaviour, which may have accounted for a significant number of reports.

The council’s report also highlighted three property closure orders, four injunctions — three of which were on young people — for people engaging in anti-social behaviour in Newark, a criminal behaviour order for a person committing anti-social behaviour and persistent shop theft in Ollerton, nine community protection warnings for adults, 16 first stage and two second stage warning letters issued to young people causing nuisance, 13 young people entered into acceptable behaviour contracts, and three enforcement warnings (pre-court enforcement) issued to young people in this period.

Jack Kellas said: “When we look at these numbers this would show that in Newark and Sherwood there’s been an 11.8% reduction in anti-social behaviour — but most people probably wouldn’t feel or say that.”

He questioned the accuracy of the figures — and suggested it could be a sign people are reporting incidents less often.

Jenny Walker, business manager for public protection suggested that perception was very individual, and that while the council did push reporting it didn’t want it to become “white noise”.

She added: “In some of the areas we have specifically targeted we have seen that drop, we have seen a lot of improvement and there has been a lot of action taken.

“However, that being said, at the same time we still are pushing that message about reporting and making sure that does happen. We want to see more reports — so you may see some percentage changes.”

She also acknowledged the challenge of getting through to 101 on the phone, but added that there was an issue with people only posting incidents to Facebook, which is “not reporting, even though it might get picked up in different ways”.

Mr Kellas added he had concerns that the figures showing crime reports increasing means anti-social behaviour “probably hasn’t dropped at that significant rate”.

“It seems odd that crime goes up and anti-social behaviour goes down,” he added.

Inspector Charlotte Ellam, District Commander for Newark and Sherwood, noted that the crime figures related to a “broad subject matter” with the vast majority of the reports not linked to anti-social behaviour.

“In terms of perception [of anti-social behaviour] we have definitely suffered as a town and as a district,” she added.

“It’s actually a really broad term, so when we say we have seen reductions it may be that we have targeted a specific issue that falls within the boundary of anti-social behaviour and we may have made some really good successes with that.

“Certainly in the town centre, where for a time we were really seeing significant issues with a particular core group of young people, we’ve got some really strong routes through which we can now get in to those people and divert them and make a real change.

“Now that group might account for a really significant number of reports over a short period of time and that will affect our figures.”

Inspector Ellam pointed to issues with homelessness and street drinking as examples of things people were now seeing in the town centre, and suggested it was another area that the police and council could look at developing a strategy to tackle.

“When people say are there issues with anti-social behaviour, I think its such a broad spectrum of what that might amount to,” she added.

“Just looking at the hard figures, anti-social behaviour is down by this much, it would be reasonable for someone to say ‘well actually maybe I don’t see that’, but it is for us to be really fluid in our understanding of what’s going on in the town, encouraging reporting, and making sure that we are adapting and targeting those different issues which fall into that anti-social behaviour effectively.”

Going forward, plans to continue tackling the issue in the 2024-25 financial year include the completion of ‘safer streets five’ in Balderton — encompassing installation of lighting and CCTV, creation of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, a programme of diversionary activities and education sessions at schools.

The community safety team will also continue to push forward on all enforcement cases — currently two criminal behaviour orders, one closure order and two interim injunctions are pending.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below…

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