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Inspector Ben Lawrence leads the City Central neighbourhood policing team
Inspector Ben Lawrence leads the City Central neighbourhood policing team

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Cops to deploy extra tactics to combat anti social behaviour

A neighbourhood team is to deploy additional tactics to ensure reports of antisocial behaviour continue on a downward trend.

Hyson Green and Arboretum saw a 35.9% reduction in ASB reports in 2021-22 – well above the Government target of 20%.

Neighbourhood Inspector Ben Lawrence said the decrease was testament of the hard work his officers and external partners have put into tackling the issue – but that there was more to do.

“We’ve made quite good progress around antisocial behaviour,” he said. “However we still do have a problem, particularly with street drinkers and drug users.

“My message to the local community is simple: we’re doing a lot about it and there’s more to come.

“We have a lot of discussions with the council on how to tackle antisocial behaviour. Can we remove a shoulder-high wall that drug users can hide behind? Can we implement CCTV so we can provide evidence to the courts when seeking to obtain Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs)?

“We’re going to be using CBOs a lot more, because if you breach that you go to prison.”

A criminal behaviour order is an order to the offender issued by a judge, at the request of the police or prosecution, under Part 2 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Such orders prohibit the offender from doing anything described in the order and breaches can result in a custodial sentence.

Inspector Lawrence revealed his team would be seeking to obtain more CBOs over the coming year to further combat antisocial behaviour – one of the team’s three core priorities alongside burglary and serious crime.

“It’s quite tricky to get a CBO,” he said. “Applications can be rejected by the courts quite quickly. Therefore we’ve got some CBO training for the team coming up so they’re clear on what needs to be done to obtain them.

“It’s a model that’s worked well elsewhere, including the city centre, so we’re going to be using CBOs a lot more going forward.”

It is often difficult to resolve the complex issues that can often lead to antisocial behaviour. But Nottinghamshire Police works closely with external partners such a Nottingham City Council implement long-term strategies that can make a lasting difference.

Inspector Lawrence said: “There are issues around deprivation and we can’t police those issues away. That’s why we’re working with partners such as the city council to do things like redesign Peppers Park to deter anti-social behaviour.

“That project involves redesigning the lighting, removing hedges and removing walls so people can’t hide behind them.

“Similarly in The Arboretum, we’re pruning trees and hedges to better increase lighting and visibility because we know that’s a bit of a robbery hotspot.

“We just had a robbery week of action that involved a lot of high-visibility patrols in and around The Arboretum and Forest Rec area.

“We’ve also been working closely with Asda around keeping street drinkers and drug users away from customers and some temporary fencing went up recently until a better fencing solution is found.

“A lot’s been happening and we’ll be maintaining that effort throughout 2023.”

Officers are often asked by residents to arrest those engaging in antisocial behaviour near their homes. Inspector Lawrence explained why that was not always an effective tactic.

“A lot of people say, ‘why can’t you go down and arrest everyone?’ All that’ll happen is they’ll go into custody but eventually be back out on the streets and they’ll do it again.

“That’s because most of our ASB comes from your hard-core street drinkers and drug users who require longer term support to get out of that situation. You can’t arrest your way out of some problems.

“Don’t get me wrong, if people break the law and are being a nuisance, they will get arrested. But long-term wise, we have to put long-term solutions in place. That might involve working out what makes a park attractive them, such as poor lighting or a wall they can hide behind, and then removing those elements. But that means money and to get that a funding bid has to go in.

“There’s no overnight fix but I can assure the public we are doing all we can to tackle these issues.”

Given the amount of work that is going on behind the scenes to tackle antisocial behaviour, Inspector Lawrence admitted he had been left frustrated by some recent headlines portraying the neighbourhood in a negative light.

“It’s not helpful for my team, or for the local community,” he said. “When local residents read those headlines they ask us ‘what are you doing about it’. Well actually, we’re doing quite a lot. You don’t always see it because some of it is quite slow and laborious and has to be done in the background.

“We’re still putting the visible patrols out there to pay attention to specific areas such as around Asda. We were there twice the other day. On the second occasion we put a dispersal order in, which is effectively a warning or a yellow card. At that point, they have to leave and if they come back we can arrest them.

“Things like that are just one facet of our multifaceted approach to tackling anti-social behaviour.”

Nottinghamshire Police is focusing on the work carried out by police in the community this week as part of neighbourhood policing week of action, which runs from 23-29 January 2023.

Find out more about the week here: Shining a light on Neighbourhood Policing as national Week of Action launched | Nottinghamshire Police




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