A FISH shop owner whose firm was targeted by yobs has hailed the effects of neighbourhood policing – five years after it was first trialled in the town.
R King & Sons fishmongers, in Thornton Street, Hartlepool, fell victim to anti-social behaviour last year with windows being smashed and customers harassed.
But the gang of youths responsible was dealt with quickly by community police officers, including PC Mark Doherty who still pops into the shop to make sure everything is quiet.
The success story comes five years after neighbourhood policing was trialled in Hartlepool before being rolled out across Cleveland Police.
Force chiefs say it is one of the main reasons why crime across the districts has fallen to a 20-year low.
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Sean White, who re-emphasised that cuts would not affect frontline policing, said: “The public want police on the streets who can meet demand and are accountable. Neighbourhood policing offers that and we are committed to continuing its success.
“The fish shop is a good example where a local officer has solved the problem of a local business.”
PC Doherty said acceptable behaviour agreements (ABAs) were made with a number of children who were told they could end up in court if they continued behaving badly.
He added: “Community policing enables me to do the job well, to be out on the streets talking to people.
“It’s pro-active, we stop crime happening just as much as catching people and hopefully people like Mr King feel safer and happier.”
Shop owner Dave King, 49, said: “We went to a meeting last year because we have had problems with kids breaking windows and swinging on the shutters.
“Mark promised he would sort it out and he did in just a month. He stills comes in once a week to show his face and said to ring him if we have any problems, but we haven’t this summer.”