Police and partners make progress in tackling ASB in Houghton

15 Dec 2017 08:15 AM

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Police and partners zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour in Houghton Town Centre is having an impact on the town with no reports of anti-social behaviour since last Friday (Dec 8).

On Friday, police chaired a Partners and Communities Together (PACT) meeting for local residents to air their concerns and hear about the work police and partners are doing. The meeting was well attended by local residents who were vocal but very supportive of the measures that are being put in place – and even offered some ideas of their own to help resolve the issue.

Since the meeting an officer has been drafted into the local authority CCTV office to ensure police can identify and react to any incidents as they happen. Plain clothes officers are riding on buses to prevent disorder. 

Ten people have been identified as being involved in causing a nuisance on local buses who were served with dispersal notices and have been visited by police about their on-going behaviour. A further 68 youths have been identified as being involved in anti-social behaviour, these youths have been spoken to in the presence of their parents and have attended anti-social behaviour presentations.

Additional patrols have been carried out by high visibility uniformed officers, as well as covert plain clothes officers, in an effort to catch those involved in the disorder while it happens.

Police have been in to local schools and delivered an anti-social behaviour presentation which has been well received and a youth panel has been held with eight youths identified as ring leaders. The ring leaders have been served with an Acceptable Behaviour Agreement (ABA) in the presence of their parents. Our partners Gentoo, youth services and Sunderland City Council were also present at the meeting along with police.

Dispersal orders – which give police the power to move people causing anti-social behaviour out of an area – have also been issued and police’s three tiered approach to anti-social behaviour, known as Operation Gryphon, has been enforced.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “Let me be absolutely clear – we will not tolerate Anti-Social Behaviour in any format.  The police have taken a pro-active stance in tackling this problem in Houghton and will continue to work with partners. 

If anyone is experiencing ASB – they need to report it.  Once the police know, they will do everything they can to address the issues raised”

Last month Superintendent Steve Heatley carried out joint patrols with Sunderland City Council and local councillors in the town to speak to local residents.

He said: “The Police and Crime Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan makes clear that we will tackle ASB head one.  I’m really pleased with the progress we’ve made with resolving the anti-social behaviour issues in Houghton. It has been important for me that we work with local residents and I am appreciative of their support, however, I’m not complacent and know that we still have work to do.

“As the school holidays approach I know that people may be concerned there will be another increase in the number of incidents and I would like to reassure residents that our work to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area will continue right into the New Year.

“Additional patrols will be carried out by both uniformed and plain clothes officer, throughout the school holidays and Christmas and New Year period, and I really would urge anyone who witnesses any disorder to either speak to an officer on patrol or contact 101 so that we can deal with it.

“At the meeting on Friday I told residents I would keep them updated on the progress we are making and I will chair a meeting next week to do this.”

Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership  and Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Harry Trueman added: “If we all continue to work together to identify issues and then decide the best ways to address them, we can all help to  further reduce anti-social behaviour in our communities.

“On this occasion a combination of education, enforcement and public engagement has brought us all together to find solutions to re-occurring problems with youth  disorder. What we have done is identify those responsible, make them and their families aware of the effect their behaviour was having on others, and then take action to prevent it from happening again.

“This must be a continuing and sustainable process if we are to succeed, so I hope everyone will keep working together to support it.”            

 On Friday, Sunderland’s Chief Inspector Mark Hall will be on patrol in Houghton to speak to local residents and business owners about the work that is being done and listen to their main concerns so that further action can be taken.

Further details about the meeting will be made available in due course.



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