Community Crime Commission meeting – 9 September 2021 Anti-social behaviour

To begin the meeting commissioners discussed their recommendations from the previous meeting, women’s safety, which they have all been providing written commentary on during the interim. There is discussion around how to make the achievable, measurable and how they can be tailored to specific audiences. The far reaching aspect of recommendations was discussed, in particular how the school recommendations could be applicable across the country not just Redbridge. The need to involve and speak about and to community groups and religious groups was reinforced and flagged.

Commissioner, Amy Tully, provided an account of her visit to the Frenford Youth Council and noted all the points the young people raised and changes they would like to see, especially within the context of safety for women and girls.

The first presentation involved a senior council officer giving feedback from the community voice sessions, a panel of local residents who have been taking part in sessions designed to gather opinions and feedback on specific subjects which tie into the work of the crime commission, including civic pride and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). First-hand accounts and quotes from these residents was presented to the commissioners as well as survey results, which helped the commissioners get an overview of the wishes of residents.

Next was a presentation on parks and open spaces in Redbridge and the unique types of anti-social behaviour the parks team encounters. The commissioners were informed of how the park teams operate, including the various teams responsible for monitoring and maintaining the parks and open space as well as details on the volunteer groups who are crucial to the running of parks. Various issues that the teams see was reported on, including, an increase in litter, noticeable by the sharp spike in the number of bags of rubbish the council collects and takes away. Fly tipping in parks is listed as a key issue as well as drug paraphernalia, public drinking, vandalism of park toilets, benches and other items as well as prostitution. The council officer gave their opinion on what would make the role of the park teams easier and the difficulties of policing parks was discussed.

Following that, the commissioners are given a presentation from the Civic Pride team at Redbridge Council which includes the Redbridge Enforcement Team. A description of the types of anti-social behaviour the council responds to and the resources available to the council enforcement team was given. The importance of intelligence gathering was highlighted, including from residents, and CCTV. The working model of the teams was described, such as the shift patterns worked, and the amount of enforcement officers available. Council officers presented an update on the number of incidents they have responded to over recent years, including the number of noise responses and the fact this increased because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Council officers gave their opinion on the methods of working which work well to counter anti-social behaviour – including multi agency work such as with the Multi Agency Tasking Team already in use at Redbridge. The limits of the powers of council enforcement officers was discussed and the lengthy process of how the council can legally enforce against persistent offenders was explained. Current challenges were expressed, including those posed by Covid-19 and assaults against council staff.

The commission was given the opportunity to ask questions of all the council officers on what they have heard, with commissioners asking specific questions about enforcement operations – including, a personal anecdote praising the work of staff and volunteers who clean rubbish from the park on a daily basis.

Following a break, the commission heard from a senior police chief of the East Area Borough Command Unit, who presented on data and figures about the amount of ASB call outs and incidents the police responded to in Redbridge. The police explained how ASB incidents are recorded and responded to, including any issues that exist within the reporting system. A description of how calls are handled and actioned was explained as well as an explanation of how data is shared between Redbridge Council and the police in order to identify repeat offenders. The officer explained the powers they have and what can be done in cases of ASB and included an opinion on how more powers would make their job easier. Details of future operations to target ASB were dealt with and shared with the officer providing their recommendations for improvements to the board.

Next an officer from Metropolitan Police Central Command provided details of a new ASB intervention scheme that has been piloted elsewhere. This ASB warning system flags individuals and families who need positive support to avoid progressing into criminality. It gives the officers an ability to tackle ASB without needing to prove the elements of another, more serious, crime. The warning system can be accessed by all police command units and their localised partners, such as local authorities. Studies have found this scheme has resulted in a reduction of ASB in the area it was trialled. Other positive initiates that were in development were discussed including a safe space initiative.

Lastly, the commission was presented with a comparison study from Barking and Dagenham Council, explaining their approach to community safety as well as the similarities and differences between their operating model and Redbridge’s. There was a presentation on the types of crime which present an issue in Barking and Dagenham and explanation on how this can influence crime in neighbouring boroughs. Just as in Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham flag ASB as a priority for enforcement and detail how they have been working with the police to tackle the issue cooperatively.

To end the session, commissioners discussed their preliminary recommendations for ASB and took the opportunity to ask further questions of the police and council representatives.