Older couple and granddaughter 'left living in fear' at hands of yobs in Hartlepool - this is how they got help

The plight of an older couple and their granddaughter left ‘living in fear’ at the hands of yobs in Hartlepool – and how they got help – has been highlighted in a debate on tackling antisocial behaviour.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 12:47 pm

The incident surrounded a lady in her 70s who lived in central Hartlepool with her husband, both with ‘significant health problems’, and their 13-year-old granddaughter who they care for.

Their home was targeted by youths with items thrown at house windows, having a ‘negative effect on the family’ and they began to isolate themselves, with the granddaughter having a ‘fear of leaving house’.

Mr Coppinger said working with the council, crime prevention equipment was provided to secure the property and to provide emotional support to the family, however incidents escalated to up to four calls a day.

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Cleveland County Police Commissioner Barry Coppinger.
Cleveland County Police Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

He said multi-agency meetings were then instigated with partners from police and the local authority and a plan prepared to protect the family and take ‘robust enforcement action’.

The committee was told to date the family are feeling ‘far more confident’ and incidents have ceased, with police continuing investigations into offenders.

Mr Coppinger raised the case when giving an update to Hartlepool Borough Council’s Audit and Governance Committee on activities carried out the help tackle antisocial behaviour in the area.

He praised the integrated team approach to tackling antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool – adding it is ‘key to addressing the issues’.

He said the town was ‘the best in the area’ for its integrated neighbourhood model, centred around its Community Safety Team and the work between police, council, fire service and other agencies.

Mr Coppinger said: “One of the things Hartlepool in my opinion is probably the best of the four authorities in Cleveland at, is around the integrated neighbourhood team.

“That’s brought together a whole range of different partners under one roof meeting on a daily basis to analyse anti-social behaviour, and the council is a really valuable partner in that.

“When we all work together we can make a real impact.

“Partnership really is key to addressing issues around antisocial behaviour in general.”

He also provided an anonymous case study to the committee of how the team helped a family in Hartlepool dealing with anti-social behaviour.

Coun Ged Hall, chair of the audit and governance committee said: “I think in Hartlepool we’re ahead of the game in terms of neighbourhood teams.”

Mr Coppinger also noted several other ways in which people in Hartlepool are supported in dealing with anti-social behaviour.

The Victim Care and Advice Service, co-commissioned between Cleveland and Durham, has supported 59 vulnerable victims of anti-social behaviour from Hartlepool between April and December 2019.

This includes a range of services from counselling and emotional support to helping people work through the criminal justice process.

Funding was also secured for a targeted youth outreach programme, delivered by the Belle Vue group, which during 2019/20 has engaged with 529 young people looking at issues around anti-social behaviour and other crimes.

Councillors also stressed the importance of making sure people ringing up seeking contact over anti-social behaviour are answered straight away.

They added residents can report incidents to the community safety team 01429 523100 to report anti-social behaviour.