The three Es - how police plan to crack down on antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool
Police officers stressed ‘engagement, education and enforcement’ is key as they pledge to help crackdown on antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool.
Cleveland Police staff, who form part of the Hartlepool Community Safety Team, said working together was key and they are constantly trying to engage with those most at need.
It came as officers provided an update to Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee as part of their investigation into antisocial behaviour in the town.
Inspector Matt Reeves stressed the importance of targeting those on the periphery of antisocial behaviour before they fall into the lifestyle.
He said: “It’s very much a team approach focused on the individuals, particularly those who are vulnerable in the community.
“The primary strategies and ethos around the team are around engagement and education with people.
“By working with those on the periphery and seeking to separate them from the core without using any form of enforcement proves to be best practice and that is very much at the heart of what the community safety team does.”
Police also stressed education was ongoing, with school liaison officers and police officers going into schools to talk about the issues.
Chief Inspector Nigel Burnell said this forms only part of their work, adding restorative justice can also be used to help, alongside enforcement action.
He said: “The enforcement is only half of it, the way to get success with anti-social behaviour is get that momentum, engage with people, educate ones we can.
“The ones that we can’t, that’s where enforcement comes in, and we’re not slow to do that, we’re quite rapid. If you’re not listening and not getting the message we keep going until you do.
“If we can get this right then the person can turn their life around and they don’t have to go through the criminal justice system.
“If you are able to grab them and do some sort of victim restoration then you start to get the impact and help them understand.”
Councillors also supported the alternative method to help those linked to antisocial behaviour, when appropriate.
Coun Lesley Hamilton said: “”For me one of the best forms of intervention and turning young people around is the implementation of restorative justice. It’s a very contentious issue, but if it’s done properly it can prove to be very successful.”
In recent cases where police have taken enforcement action, they said successful actions involved dispersal orders used in Seaton, and closure orders in areas such as Manor House and Burn Valley.
Rachel Parker, community safety team leader, added in gaining closure orders they had been engaging with landlords about the work the team is doing.
She said: “Word is spreading very quickly across the private rented sector around the work the team is doing.
“The officers are very, very proactive, as soon as we get that community intelligence we look to expand it.
“Closing down properties hits landlords in the pocket and they don’t want properties closed down, so we are seeing some proactive work with landlords.”