South Yorks hit by anti-social behaviour

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SOUTH Yorkshire has more repeated victims of anti-social behaviour than anywhere else in the country, according to a new report.

The study, published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies, analysed the different experiences of victims of anti-social behaviour in research to help police ‘tailor’ their responses.

It found that in roughly a third of the forces surveyed, one in 10 vulnerable victims called police 10 or more times in a year.

The research, which used data from a survey of 10,000 victims of anti-social behaviour, also found that one in 10 ‘vulnerable and repeat victims’ of anti-social behaviour said they would not contact police about issues in the future.

The report identified police forces with the highest percentage of repeat vulnerable victims - it found the highest was South Yorkshire Police, where 23 per cent of repeat and vulnerable victims contacted police 10 or more times in the previous year, followed by Merseyside Police with 22 per cent, then South Wales with 20 per cent.

The lowest were at City of London and Cleveland, both with four per cent, according to the research.

Professor Martin Innes, who was involved with the research, said: “This research shows that ‘the ASB problem’ is different across different police forces.

“Based upon the largest survey of ASB victims conducted in this country, this study makes a really significant contribution to the evidence-base about ASB and its harms, and what works for victims.

“For the first time, we have been able to understand in which areas most repeat and vulnerable victims of ASB live.”

He said although the approach by police dealing with anti-social behaviour had improved, it was those who were most vulnerable who had gained least from improvements, adding: “The people who gain least are the people in the most difficult circumstances.”

The research is hoped to help police tailor their response to the problem of anti-social behaviour - especially with cuts to policing budgets.

“By better understanding what factors contribute to vulnerability we are able to identify what police and other agencies can do to better manage ASB,” Prof Innes added.

“We found that victims want to feel listened to, taken seriously, and to know what police action was taken as a result of their call.

“However, because some victims are more vulnerable and at risk than others, they do not all share the same ‘starting place’.

“As such police should consider that in some area and for some victims they need to do more, or start doing things differently.

“This does not have to be resource-intensive. It could be offering greater reassurance, taking more time to communicate or communicating more frequently.

“Ultimately, at a time when police funding is being cut, this research shows how, by better understanding the needs of victims, police can ‘work smarter’ to improve victim satisfaction and public reporting of this type of crime.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “South Yorkshire Police is committed to further improving the service that it offers to victims of ASB.

“In the last 12 months South Yorkshire Police has seen 22 per cent reduction in reports of ASB compared to the same period last year, this equates to over 24,000 fewer reports of ASB.

“We will consider the details of this report and use its findings to continue to reduce the levels and impact of ASB, whilst increasing the protection of vulnerable victims.”