Police warned figures don't always match 'true picture' after 31% recorded drop in antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool

Police have been warned figures don't always match the 'true picture' after a reported 31% drop in antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool – with officers pledging to work better with the community.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 11:45 am
Cleveland Police

Statistics presented to the Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee as part of its investigation into antisocial behaviour stated the number of incidents had decreased year on year since 2016.

According to the figures, antisocial behaviour incidents between April and June this year decreased by 31% compared to the same time last year, from 1,648 to 1,130.

But councillors said they would be ‘scolded’ if they returned such findings to residents and said there was a lack of confidence in reporting incidents, with people ‘giving up’.

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Coun Brenda Harrison said: “It goes along with the fact figures do not always explain the true picture. We’ve tried to get the message across that the reporting system is not working because people have given up.

“People who are involved are still causing antisocial behaviour and the people who are the victims of that are having an awful life in the place that they live.”

Coun James Black said: “If we took them numbers back to our wards and said to people there was a downward trend in Hartlepool of antisocial behaviour we would probably be scolded in regards to it.”

Matt Reeves, local neighbourhood inspector from Cleveland Police, said officers are working on engagement with residents, adding more police are being recruited and a PCSO again responsible for each ward.

He said: “It’s recognised there are some significant challenges in Hartlepool.

“It’s been really busy recently, there is a push on recruitment at the moment and there is a lot of people coming in and cohorts being set up and people running around making sure training provision is in place.

“In terms of engagement and people not wanting to report it’s not ideal. The force recognises it needs to do more in terms of engagement and see how we can link in better with the community.

“We’re still one of the highest levels of antisocial behaviour, which sits alongside long-term unemployment, people with nothing better to do for long periods of time so turn to drink, drugs and antisocial behaviour.”

The figures showed for 2018/19 the rate of antisocial behaviour per 1,000 of the population in Hartlepool was 61, compared to the national average of 24.

Coun Marjorie James said: “I regularly speak to residents who are just at the end of their wits and they have stopped reporting.”

Members of the Hartlepool Community Safety Team, made up of council officers, police, fire brigade officers and more, also said the introduction of the team is helping them crackdown on incidents and increase confidence.

Rachel Parker, community safety team leader, said: “Once we can get a couple of people who have that confidence to speak to us that does spread, and that confidence hopefully is growing.”

They also urged residents to report crimes, whether it be to the police, the safety team, or to their ward councillors.