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Partnership initiative sees crime and anti-social behaviour reduce in Witherwack

19 Jan 2018 10:00 AM

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A partnership initiative on an estate in Sunderland saw crime and anti-social behaviour reduce dramatically in the last six months of 2017.

At the start of the year Sunderland North Neighbouhood Policing Team launched a local multi-agency problem solving (LMAPs) operation in partnership with Sunderland City Council and Gentoo on the Witherwack Estate.

And, halfway through the year the operation started to reap results with a 82 per cent reduction in anti-social behaviour incidents and a 28 per cent reduction in crime between June and December compared to the first half of the year between January to June.

The activity saw nine people arrested for racially aggravated criminal damage and public order offences with five charged or cautioned. One remains under investigation.

Police also worked closely with Sunderland City Council and Gentoo Housing through the successful Sunderland North Safer Estates initiative which saw 12 Acceptable Behaviour Agreements (ABA) and 1 Community Protection Notice (CPN) issued.

Four restraining orders were granted by the court against individuals preventing them from making contact with a family they had been harassing.

Tenancy action has also been taken with three families evicted for on-going issues from premises in Wiltshire Road, Kemble square and Woodford Close. A family in Wiltshire Road have also been subject to a postponed possession order with three members subject to an exclusion zone, one subject to a 6 month curfew and all family members prevented from causing harassment, alarm and distress to anyone not of the same household.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said:  “Results like this demonstrate that when concerns are raised, police, local authority and other partners will come together to take action and do all they can to reduce the impact on the local neighbourhood. We know that it’s often not only enforcement action that’s required but a more holistic approach that makes a long-term difference, and that is just what is happening on the Witherwack Estate.”

Sunderland North Neighbourhood Inspector Don Wade: said: “This has been a year-long initiative that has seen a commitment by all of the agencies involved to really tidy up and tackle the issues that were being experienced on the Witherwack Estate.

“Working together in this partnership has seen some really fantastic results and results on the estate have really started to see a difference due to the work that has been done.

“Tackling the local issues that are important to our communities is a priority for me and my team and we will not stop in our efforts to make the area even safer.”

Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership and Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Harry Trueman said: “There are increasing number of legal and enforcement  options available to us and our community safety partners to take the strongest possible action against anybody, and I repeat anybody,  who disrupts life in any of our communities.

“We will not only target those individuals, groups and even families responsible for anti-social behaviour,  but also the areas where they gather.

As well as enforcement action environmental actions were also taken through the Local Multi-Agency Problem Solving group.

These included:-

-        The demolition of the disused football changing rooms at Marley Pots field adjacent to Witherwack.

-        Improvements street lighting on the estate in the coming months.

-        The use of Community Payback  to carry out estate clean ups in an area behind Willowfields Primary School , Witherwack which has been used for fly-tipping.

-        Allocation of resources by Sunderland City Council to restrict access to the fields adjacent to the estate  which are used by off-road motorbike riders causing motorbike disorder.

-        Work is on-going to permanently close a footpath which leads to the fields.

-        Youth engagement work will begin again on the estate through the Raising Aspirations Grant given to a local volunteer group to engage young people and divert them from crime and anti-social behaviour.

View the full news release