Anti-social behaviour - a problem for us all to tackle
As we hit the peak of the summer season, it is no surprise that talk of anti-social behaviour is rearing its ugly head.
Last week Wiltshire Police released figures that showed that anti-social behaviour was up 40 per cent in the month of June 2020, compared to January of this year.
That is a staggering increase and only puts increased pressure on our force during a time when demand is already at its highest.
Anti-social behaviour (ASB) causes misery and disruption to the community and is not just restricted to one section of our community, people of all ages are responsible whether it be vandalism, car racing or harassment.
ASB is not a police problem, it is a community problem, and we all must work together and in partnership in the first instance to prevent it and then address it when required. Especially at this time during a pandemic, it is more important than ever for us to be taking responsibility for our actions, and ensuring that we are not flouting the guidelines put in place by the Government and acting in an irresponsible way.
However, I am pleased to see that the easing of lockdown has not seen an increase in anti-social behaviour across Wiltshire, with levels in line with incidents recorded in the same period last year, which highlights that, as a whole, we are taking this risk of Covid-19 seriously.
Already during the Summer Demand campaign we have seen some fantastic examples of work from our Community Policing Teams and work with our partners that is helping us to get to the root of the problem.
As PCC, I commission some great projects that help to support our community, most recently I have done this through my COVID-19 Response Fund but I also commission longer term projects that educate and support people, including young people, which is such an important role in tackling anti-social behaviour.
During the lockdown, one of the organisations I supported was Young Melksham, funding printing costs to enable them to distribute cards to support young people providing details of teen talk which is a confidential phone line to support young people during lockdown - a fantastic initiative.
We can take a wider approach to this issue and that can come down to things as simple as planning applications which should assess the anti-social impact of a development in the process of the decision making, something which is often overlooked.
We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour of any kind and the police and local authorities have my full backing when it comes to addressing this issue.
I urge you as the public to play your part by understanding when and who to call concerning anti-social behaviour in your communities which is currently being highlighted in the Summer Demand campaign and together we will make Wiltshire a safer place.