MIKE HILL: Police have right approach to tackling anti-social behaviour

Recent anti-social behaviour in the Seaton and Marina areas, alongside the fact that two young people have been stabbed in one week, is horrific and deeply concerning.

Both the British Transport Police and Cleveland Constabulary have worked tirelessly to tackle the problem head on and nip it in the bud, but it is very clear they can only do so much with the resources they have to hand. More police have been promised for Hartlepool and a re-focus on neighbourhood policing by the Chief Constable, Richard Lewis, is welcome news. However, it is very clear to me that the for the last couple of years now we have seen almost a decade of Government attacks on police budgets manifest into increased crime numbers and insecure communities. Better investment is long overdue and it’s good to see the Government now reacting to a situation of its own . I certainly will continue to push for our Custody Suite to be reopened because it makes sense, but it’s going to take a long time to get public confidence back and laying the blame at the door of local police just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Remember it was Tory cuts that led to the loss of our Magistrates Court, the closure of our police cells, the failed carve up of our Probation Service and the loss of 500 frontline police officers since 2010; a legacy which none of us should ever forget.

It was Ron Hogg, the fantastic and energetic former Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham Constabulary, who tried to get the focus right, despite his Force getting a financial battering from the Treasury. Ron always saw policing from the perspective of the victim; so much so that he incorporated the word into his title. As Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner he made it plain that every crime, of whatever degree, affects the lives of each and every victim and is important to them. Understanding that and incorporating it into approaches to community policing is important to retaining public confidence at grass roots level. Having spoken to our own PCC, Barry Coppinger, and the Chief Constable I am pleased that the direction of travel on neighbourhood policing will very much incorporate that approach, which takes me back to the anti-social behaviour mentioned earlier.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I have spoken to some of the young people caught up in the incidents around the Marina last week. These were the workers at the fast food outlets targeted by the large number of young people out to cause trouble. One of the places was single crewed and others on minimal staffing and simply could not cope with what confronted them. According to the shop workers union USDAW, retail crime is on the rise and staff are increasingly becoming subject to abuse and threats of violence. Nobody of any age should have to tolerate such abuse in the workplace and for those young workers I spoke to the trauma of the events of last week will undoubtedly leave an indelible scar on their consciousness.