Trailblazing pilot delivers 7,000 extra patrols in anti-social behaviour ‘hotspot’ areas.

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March 4, 2024

More than 7,000 extra policing patrols have been carried out since an unprecedented crackdown on anti-social behaviour got underway across County Durham and Darlington, leading to a 20% reduction in recorded incidents.

Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen secured Home Office funding worth £2m in 2023/24 to pilot urgent action to tackle ASB. A further £2m is being provided for the project in 2024/25.

Working with partners including Durham Constabulary, Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and the Fire and Rescue Service, the PCC has invested funding in ‘hotspot’ enforcement patrols in areas with the worst ASB problems. She has also launched a new Immediate Justice scheme which sees ASB perpetrators forced to repair wrongdoing in the communities affected by their behaviour.

The pilot, which launched in July last year, has so far delivered more than 7,000 extra policing patrols – 3,140 between October and December 2023 alone – while securing more than 30 arrests, 58 stop and searches and several informal warnings, dispersal notices, fixed penalty notices and other civil responses. Additionally, a total of 20 individuals have been referred to Immediate Justice in the last quarter (October and December 2023) across Darlington Youth Justice, Durham Youth Justice and Adults.

This week, Home Office officials joined the Commissioner and partners in a walkabout in Durham City and Stanley to see the pioneering project in action.

Commissioner Allen said: “I welcome the Home Office’s interest in the roll out of this scheme here in the Durham force area. Like every county in the country, the residents of County Durham and Darlington want to see the police taking firm action against the people who cause grief and misery in their communities, and this is exactly what we are doing.

“ASB remains a top priority for local people. Since we launched the pilot, thousands of extra patrols have taken place across the length and breadth of the county and residents have welcomed the extra presence with opened arms. The tough, no-nonsense approach has not only helped to reassure residents and businesses, but has also proven effective in securing arrests, preventing crime and identifying individuals who need more support to divert them from a future within the criminal justice system.  

“This is an ongoing programme, and we are keen to learn lessons to improve our success further over the next 12 months. The results are monitored regularly, and a new survey has recently launched to understand the impact of this enforcement work on our communities. In addition, we also plan to hold focus groups so that residents can discuss at length the impact of scheme on their lives. Although this project is still in its infancy, we have laid strong foundations, and I am positive there will be more success to share in the future.”

Policing Minister, Chris Philp said: “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their neighbourhood. Anti-social behaviour is a genuine threat to people’s sense of safety and needs to be taken seriously.

“We have invested £66 million to allow every police force in England and Wales to deploy uniformed patrols in hotspot areas of anti-social behaviour and I’m delighted to see how effective this has been in County Durham and Darlington.”

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