Call to use 'trigger' to tackle antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool - after it was revealed the new power had never been used

Calls have been made to make better use of a ‘trigger’ to help tackle antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool after it was revealed it has not been activated in the five years since its introduction.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 8th November 2019, 1:11 pm
File posed picture
File posed picture

The Community Trigger was introduced by national legislation in 2014 and gives a legal right to victims of anti-social behaviour to request a review of how their complaints were handled.

If they meet a threshold of three reports over a six month period in Hartlepool they can activate the trigger through the lead agency, which is the multi-agency Community Safety Team, featuring the police, council and more.

Since 2014 in Hartlepool there has been one request to activate the trigger, with no activations taking place.

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Councillors raised concerns residents and authorities are not aware of the process, adding it can be a key resource to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Coun James Black said the importance of the Community Trigger was brought up at the recent LGA Conference on tackling anti-social behaviour.

He said: “I think it’s a reality that this council isn’t aware of the Community Trigger.

“The first time I ever heard of it was the anti-social behaviour conference. We were amazed at the fact we hadn’t heard of this but yet it is such a huge thing.

“I think it’s a reality no-one knows about it, it’s not publicised, it’s not offered, if someone rings up and meets the criteria it should be offered to them.”

Coun Marjorie James called for a training process to be carried out for councillors so they can inform residents on the issue.

She said: “I’m absolutely amazed at the hurdles that we’ve put in front of people when there should be a process and a system.

“You have 33 voices on Hartlepool Borough Council and you are failing to use them. 33 community champions that are elected representatives and you are failing to give them the tools to do the job.

“We have got to have a serious training programme so those 33 voices, 36 after May, can go forward with a proper message.

“It has to go to members and we will make a determination as to what is best for Hartlepool.”

Statistics showed in 2017/18 45% of areas in England and Wales also had no activations of the Community Trigger.

Nicholas Stone, neighbourhood safety team leader on the Community Safety Team, added he was unsure why there had not been any instances of the legislation in Hartlepool.

He said the process was publicised when it went live in 2014 and information can be seen on the Hartlepool Borough Council website.

Mr Stone said: “The criteria was decided by the Safer Hartlepool Partnership when a report went in 2014 to the executive, which is chaired by the leader of the council.

“In terms of training we are more than happy to provide additional training.

“In terms of the trigger itself, the purpose of the trigger is to get agencies to work together in cooperation, to share information, to problem solve.

“That definition is exactly the purpose of the new integrated model of the Community Safety Team in Hartlepool.”

However Coun Lee Cartwright also raised another key process of the community trigger is to scrutinise the processes carried out by organisations.