Hartlepool anti-social behaviour probe to hear from experts including widow of murder victim Garry Newlove
Expert evidence on anti-social behaviour will be heard by Hartlepool councillors on an influential committee.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s Audit and Governance Committee will consider evidence from various sources when it meets on Thursday, November 7, as their investigation into the issue gathers pace.
They will hear a presentation based on a report of Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Helen Newlove, whose husband Garry was murdered by youths on his doorstep in 2007.
In the report by Nottingham Trent University titled Anti-Social Behaviour: Living a Nightmare, Baroness Newlove says: “The feedback from victims is that all too often, they feel they are being persistently targeted by their perpetrators; and yet persistently ignored by those with the power to prevent and intervene.
“For many victims, their experience can be like living a nightmare.”
Baroness Newlove objects to anti-social behaviour being referred to by agencies as ‘low level’ crime and says a more accurate term is anti-social abuse.
The issue is said to be on the rise nationally with 37% of people having experienced or witnessed it.
However, figures for Hartlepool showed for April to June there was 518 fewer reported incidents compared to the same period in 2018 which was a reduction of 31%.
Her recommendations include Community Trigger legislation being more widely used and advertised.
It can be activated and a multi-agency case review held if a threshold is met, usually of three reports of separate incidents within six months.
Baroness Newlove added: “The failure of police, councils and housing associations to advertise the Community Trigger and provide a cohesive response is a dereliction of duty to residents.”
She also advocates the Victims’ Code of Practice being revised to afford those who suffer anti-social behaviour the same entitlements as other victims of crime.
The findings of the report will be presented to the committee by Dr James Hunter of Nottingham University.
It will also hear feedback from Councillors James Black and Lesley Hamilton who recently attended a Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour Local Government Association Conference.
Representatives from organisations including Thirteen, council housing officers and The Joseph Rowntree Trust will also give their input.