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Reality of ASB at least double, forces warned

Forces have begun campaigns to encourage reporting of anti-social behaviour. Research reveals only half of incidents are reported.

Anti-social behaviour is under-reported and is at the least double the official figures, new research has claimed.

Research by community safety group Resolve, found among those who have either witnessed or been victim to ASB in the last three years, 56% did not report it to anyone.

The charity also found 20% of people said ASB has caused them to either move or consider moving home, and almost a quarter of people (23%) said it made them feel unsafe where they live.

More than one in 10 adults (13%) said they have been a victim of ASB in the last three years. And 45% of people say ASB is a problem where they live with 35% saying levels of ASB in the local area have increased in the last three years.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Rebecca Bryant OBE, said: “Addressing the challenges that anti-social behaviour poses is a national priority.

"People deserve to feel safe where they live. ASB can devastate the lives of victims and it is vitally important that it is reported to the correct people.”

A critical part of the awareness work by forces is explaining what the legal limits are; most anti-social behaviour that does not involve criminal damage is a civil matter.

Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “Not all ASB is dealt with by the police; however ASB that is linked to criminal activity should definitely be reported to the force.

“As well as investigating the crime, the constabulary’s Safer Neighbourhood Teams also work to resolve underlying issues that may be contributing to the problem. They work with partners including local councils, housing providers, land owners and more.”

The national lead on ASB said it was a critical issue to ensure neighbourhoods aren’t blighted.

Andy Prophet, Assistant Chief Constable at Essex Police and National Policing Lead for tackling Anti-Social Behaviour, said: “Anti-Social Behaviour is not low-level. It can wreck lives and damages communities.

“Policing will continue to work in close partnership with other local agencies to listen to victims, understand their problem and take sensible, joined up action to address the underlying causes.

“In particular we will focus our attention on those who repeatedly behave in an anti-social manner, targeting others and causing fear in our communities,” he said.

But with COVID restrictions being eased and school holidays now under way, frontline officers are predicting a rise in offending, especially as the weather improves.

The Police and Crime Commissioner lead on neighbourhood policing called for more youth services as a long-term solution.

Local Policing Lead Jeff Cuthbert, the PCC for Gwent, said: “By offering young people the opportunity to take part in sporting and creative activities we are reinforcing positive behaviours, and helping to set the groundwork that will allow vulnerable young people to have a happy and healthy future.”

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