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Thursday, December 7, 2023

100,000 anti-social behaviour incidents unattended

More than 100,000 anti-social behaviour incidents were not attended by Northumbria Police officers in the past four years, it has been revealed.

The percentage of anti-social behaviour reports across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland that resulted in a police officer visiting the scene of the incident has dipped from 60% in 2019 to 45% in 2022, with more than 23,000 unattended last year.

The figures were uncovered by freedom of information requests from the Liberal Democrats, who have accused Labour’s Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness of “losing control”.

Ms McGuinness said the data showed the “reality of plummeting police budgets” and that resources were “stretched beyond belief”.

In 2019, Northumbria Police sent officers to 28,113 out of 46,762 anti-social behaviour incidents – compared to 18,765 out of 42,044 in 2022.

Cleveland Police attended 47% of incidents last year, while Durham’s figure was much higher at 71%.

Coun Colin Ferguson, leader of Newcastle’s Lib Dem opposition, said: “It’s clear the Labour Party have lost control of anti-social behaviour in Newcastle – and their response just isn’t good enough. Our communities deserve to feel safe walking down their own streets.

“People should be able to feel that if they fall victim to anti-social behaviour, it will be taken seriously and police will attend. Instead of more empty promises, it’s time for the PCC to finally commit to proper community policing – where offices are visible, trusted, and able to tackle neighbourhood crime.”

Across the 38 police forces in England and Wales who responded to the Lib Dem requests, an average of 63% of anti-social behaviour reports did not result in an officer physically attending.

In Northumbria, a total of 103,516 went unattended from 2019 to 2022.

Ms McGuinness, said: “What we have here is the reality of plummeting police budgets. We have lost 1,100 officers and £148m out of our budget since 2010 and of course this will negatively impact communities. To fight crime and prevent ASB you have to invest in frontline policing, it’s as simple as that.

“Our police resources are stretched beyond belief and we need the Government to hand back the 485 officers it owes since 2010 – that’s how we can deliver effective, efficient policing.

“The same goes for youth services, a report I published found 71% of youth organisations surveyed have seen their funding cut since 2011. Resources have never been so scarce. It’s time for some serious levelling up for young people in the North East. Kids need opportunities and positive role models – places to go and things to do. If we invest in young people, we are investing in the future and the whole criminal justice system and that reduces ASB, that improves lives for everyone.”

Ms McGuinness has recently pledged to divert an extra 130 police officers into neighbourhood policing teams, though the force is also planning to axe 136 Police Community Support Officer posts.

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police added that it was “committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and bringing effective justice against those found to have been involved”.

The force said: “That’s why, throughout the year, we run dedicated operations and initiatives to tackle pockets of disorder, identify perpetrators and ultimately keep our communities safe.

“We recognise the behaviour of a minority can have an adverse impact on the communities we serve – and we will continue to work hand-in-hand with the public and partners to tackle any issues.

“We would always encourage anybody who is affected by anti-social behaviour to report it directly to us as soon as possible so we can address any concerns and take appropriate action.

“Anyone with concerns can report to an officer on duty, using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page on our website or by calling 101. In an emergency, or where a crime is taking place, always dial 999.”

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