POLICE chiefs in South Yorkshire are urging people whose lives are ‘blighted’ by anti-social behaviour to report problems to the force.
After an inspection which revealed the police computer system fails to identify repeat victims, bosses have stressed that tackling anti-social behaviour remains a ‘priority’.
While IT experts are looking at systems used by other forces, where repeat victims are less likely to slip through the net, members of the public are being urged to have confidence in the force.
Chief Inspector Colin McFarlane, responsible for driving down anti-social behaviour, said the number of offences reported over the last two months – 13,500 – is down 6,000 compared to the same period the year before.
He said: “We know anti-social behaviour blights lives and that’s why it is a force priority. The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report highlights a lot of things we are doing well – it says that two thirds of people are satisfied with the way we deal with their reports of anti-social behaviour.”
Chf Insp McFarlane said he is confident the reduction in the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour reported to the force was a ‘genuine’ reflection of life on the street of South Yorkshire, rather than down to ‘under reporting’.
He said anti-social behaviour can be nuisance behaviour affecting entire communities or it can be an issue affecting one individual.
“Anti-social behaviour always has a personal element to it – what one person might perceive it as another might not. If anybody is suffering from anti-social behaviour they have to share it with somebody – whether it’s the police or one of our partners – it’s important not to suffer in silence.”
He said the key to eliminating anti-social behaviour in communities was identifying where it is happening and working with other agencies to tackle the problem.
“Things we are doing include working with partners such as the fire and rescue service, youth services and third sector organisations to profile problem areas and repeat victims,” added Chf Insp McFarlane.
“We are looking at the reasons for anti-social behaviour. We have a shared action plan of what we are going to do.
“We do need a better IT system and that is a bit of work that we’ve started. Each organisation has a system which can allow staff to share information but we need a system that allows us to share across the partnership.”
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