We have received a press release which provides an interesting, and comforting, insight into the joint approach adopted by Sutton Police, Sutton Council and other agencies to deal with anti-social behaviour in the borough. Although not specifically relating to Worcester Park it is useful to understand how this problem is being dealt with in the Sutton Council part of our area.
This month (August) marks the first anniversary of a police and Sutton Council led group which was set up to deal with Sutton’s most serious and complex cases of anti-social behaviour (ASB).
This high risk, multi-agency ASB group, is run by the Safer Sutton Partnership Service (SSPS) – a joint team of police and Sutton Council staff who manage the borough’s community safety services.
The group brings together Police, Council, Social Landlords, Health and other agencies to look at the most difficult and complex cases. They are supported by the borough’s dedicated Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, run by the Police and Council together with Sutton Housing Partnership.
These steps were put in place to make sure public bodies gave a rounded and joint response to residents’ concerns about ASB in the borough.
Twenty complex cases have come to the group, which meets fortnightly, and uses a mix of supportive and enforcement measures to change perpetrators’ behaviour and reduce the harm and impact they have on the wider community. Solutions are tailor-made to each case but can include supportive measures such as:
– understanding and support for the many issues faced by both victims and perpetrators. These issues include mental health, drug and alcohol use and housing instability
This works alongside…
– enforcement such as Anti-Social Behaviour Contracts and Orders, harassment warnings, arrest, court proceedings and even eviction.
Here are three of the cases dealt with by the group:
A resident in her 50s, who waged a campaign of noise day and night against the male resident in the flat below. This included her banging on the floor with her wardrobe doors, which she had removed from their hinges for this purpose. Her victim, aged in his 30s, was forced to live his life in almost silence afraid to turn up the TV or play music for fear of retaliation. At times, he suffered sleep deprivation, which caused him to be off work. She was issued with a harassment warning and then arrested and charged to court for breach of the order.
The multi-agency group worked with mental health professionals to ensure she understood the court proceedings against her and to ensure her anti-psychosis medication was taken under supervision as well as working with a homeless charity to understand her housing history. Although she moved out of her privately rented flat a month before her appearance in court, she was sentenced to a Restraining Order not to contact the male resident for 12 months. During this unavoidable period of court action, the multi-agency group ensured the victim was supported and provided with regular updates on the legal action.
A 27-year-old man placed a significant burden on emergency service teams by making a huge number of repeat 999 calls to Met Police and London Ambulance Services – effectively restricting legitimate callers access to life-saving services. His calls escalated when he realised he could get more than one vehicle to his address if he claimed he had a particularly serious problem. He avoided attempts to ban his mobile number by buying a new sim card or using the local payphone. The man suffered with a fixation for blue flashing lights which could be attributed to his spectrum of autism.
The multi-agency group, on the advice of mental health professionals, decided to issue an Anti-Social Behaviour Contract, which is a voluntary agreement between all parties involved including the perpetrator. Since then, the Met Police and London Ambulance have not received any calls from him. He had also made nuisance calls to his landlord – Sutton Housing Partnership. But these too have stopped.
A 15-year-old male youth was getting in trouble with police for increasingly serious offences. With his parents often out of the country, the youth was being looked after by relatives or by foster parents after Social Services became involved. He was often reported missing to police and he had a poor attendance at school. He was arrested, charged and brought before the juvenile court for criminal damage at his foster parents’ address, which resulted in an assault on a police officer. At the same time he was convicted of a common assault on a man, aged 50s.
On the back of this conviction, the multi-agency group succeeded in obtaining an Anti-Social Behaviour Order against the youth for two years to stop him from being in a public place with three or more people unless accompanied by a family member aged over 18 – unless he was taking part in a sporting activity arranged and supervised by a person over 18.
In each of the above cases, neighbours or other residents have not had cause to report these individuals to the police again.
Sgt Graham Rice, who runs Sutton’s Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, said: “These cases are examples of our well-rounded approach to understand why people are doing what they are doing, but also to maintain a determination that their anti-social behaviour has to stop.
“In my opinion, the only reason why we have achieved long-lasting outcomes to these cases is that we have involved organisations with a wide range of expertise and used their skills and knowledge in the right way at the right time. The result is that the nuisance has stopped for the benefit not just of their victims but for all residents whose lives have been touched by these individuals.”
Total Policing is the Met’s commitment to be on the streets and in your communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.