Angelique Foster, Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, has welcomed the impact of a new crackdown on anti-social behaviour which is already driving down incidents across the county.
As part of the Commissioner’s Derbyshire Action Against Anti-Social Behaviour Plan, new hotspot policing patrols got underway in key areas of Derbyshire and Derby City on July 31st.
The patrols have been funded by a £4.4m grant secured by the Commissioner to deliver strong and urgent action to make public spaces safer, a key priority in her Police and Crime Plan.
In August – the first full month of the scheme – 282 extra ‘double crewed’ patrols were carried out by police and partners across all ASB hotspot locations. This figure climbed to 577 patrols in September.
Early analysis indicates that ASB incidents have already fallen in 13 hotspots. Drugs have also been seized, individuals arrested, stop searches carried out and community intelligence gathered while officers have made full use of dispersal powers to deal with nuisance behaviour.
During one patrol in Derby, officers intervened at the scene of large-scale disorder in which an individual had been stabbed. Officers rapidly secured the area, seized weapons and arrested five suspects.
In another patrol in Chesterfield, officers observed a suspicious van near to a petrol station forecourt. They searched the driver and vehicle and recovered Class A drugs, scales, cash and a motorbike. The incident led police to conduct numerous other enquiries which resulted in arrests for a suspected burglary.
Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “The increase in enforcement patrols have clearly had a positive impact. Officers have removed dangerous weapons from our streets, prevented the escalation of serious incidents, gathered intelligence to help detect crime and made arrests.
“I know residents appreciate the additional reassurance and peace of mind these patrols have brought, and the swift response taken by officers to deal with local problems. ASB erodes quality of life and increases the fear of crime and we must take strong action to protect them.
“This ongoing crackdown should serve as a warning to offenders that their behaviour will not be tolerated in our county. I have made it clear since I was elected that this is unacceptable. I fully support the force to use every tool in the book to ensure perpetrators are made to face the full consequences of their actions.”
Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “By targeting these extra patrols we have been able to offer extra support to the communities that we know are particularly affected by anti-social behaviour. Thank you to the members of the public who have taken time to support our approach by reporting incidents to us or the appropriate partner agency. We will always encourage reports as these can help us to build a bigger picture, understand where to focus resources, and offer support.
“We’ve seen a great response from officers to get involved with the Commissioner’s Action Against Anti-Social Behaviour Plan. By being proactive in spotting any issues whilst they’re out and about, they’ve prevented further crime and tackled those committing offences. There’s also been a positive reception from those in the community who have spoken to our officers and appreciated the difference made by these patrols.
“We will continue to review and adapt our approach to ensure we are meeting the challenges presented by anti-social behaviour, and work with partners to address the issues that we know have a profound effect on our communities.”
Since the scheme launched, ‘hotspot’ areas have received at least three extra patrols every week, primarily during times that statistics show the highest level of ASB incidents occur. Additional patrols take place on Friday and Saturday evenings in every district and borough of the county.
Partnership patrols involving police and street wardens, funded by the Commissioner, have already commenced in Chesterfield. All nine local authority areas are currently recruiting ASB wardens to join her scheme.
In addition, the force is training a further 30 safer neighbourhood officers in ‘hotspot’ policing methods.
Alongside the ‘hotspot’ enforcement pilot, Derbyshire is also rolling out the Home Office’s Immediate Justice Scheme to ensure offenders receive swift punishment for their behaviour.
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