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From a police perspective: The knock-on effects of anti-social behaviour

The recent issuing of a criminal behaviour order, to a homeless man sleeping rough in Goole has brought the issue firmly into focus. Inspector Jo York of Goole Neighbourhood Policing Team explains the impact of anti-social behaviour on the community.

“Anti-Social behaviour is often the first step to criminality. Whilst reported  levels are low in Goole and the surrounding area, what does take place has an impact on the lives of individuals and communities. This can take place in a number of forms including minor assaults, threats of violence against people and property, criminal damage, intimidation and harassment, rowdy behaviour and hate incidents.

“Humberside Police’s stance on anti-social behaviour is that it is unacceptable, and early intervention is key. Police and partner agencies have a system where individuals at risk of offending are identified at an early stage. This is the Operation Fairway process that East Riding Council operates with the police. From the first dealings with police, an ‘offender’ is sent out a letter from the council, warning them that if their behaviour continues, they will be monitored by other agencies and further action may be taken. Further ‘offending’ is likely to lead to an acceptable behaviour contract and places restrictions on that person. Breaches of this would indicate unwillingness to try and amend the behaviour, and may lead to further action in the form of prosecution, eviction proceedings, being banned from public transport or council provisions.

“Both perpetrators and victims are regularly reviewed, by police, council officers and housing officers, to ensure appropriate action is being taken. In very exceptional cases, when all other interventions and support have not worked, this may lead to a criminal behaviour order being issued.

“A recent example of this is a homeless man who was sleeping rough in the Goole area. Following numerous offers of support, assessments and multi-agency intervention to help him, he refused all help and continued to commit crime and anti-social behaviour, much of which was completely unacceptable and extremely distressing to the general public and individual victims. His behaviour included begging, being under the influence of drink, using foul and abusive language, contaminating food and leaving blood and faeces in public places. These incidents were taking place alongside criminal offences, which were being dealt with by normal prosecution.

“I have to stress that these were exceptional circumstances where all other interventions and help had failed, but calls to the police and council continued and the local community were extremely distressed and very angry.

The order, granted in November 2015 lasts for a year and places a number of prohibitions on the male including;
• Acting in an anti-social manner that causes harassment alarm or distress
• Committing any intimidating or threatening behaviour
• Approach persons for money
• Lodging in the street
• Drinking alcohol in public or being in possession of open alcohol containers.

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