Call for action over anti-social behaviour

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A WEST Sussex MP is calling for concerted action against anti-social behaviour that can blight communities.

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert, who is the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, was speaking at a conference at Slaugham Manor for anti-social behaviour practitioners organised by Sussex Police.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Wilkinson opened the conference and attendees – including housing associations, borough and district councils and the police – met to discuss how they can best work together to identify victims of anti-social behaviour.

Sussex Police has been chosen as one of eight forces to take part in a national anti-social behaviour pilot this year. This will focus on the way its call-handling deals with reports of anti-social behaviour.

The Government has announced that the pilots will be based on five key principles:

- creating an effective call handling system where each individual has a log of complaints created from the first call;

- introducing risk assessment tools to quickly identify the most vulnerable victims;

- installing off the shelf IT systems to share information on cases between agencies;

- removing the need for meetings by agreeing a protocol across all local agencies setting out how they manage cases; and

- engaging with the community to set out clearly the issues which are causing the most harm to individuals and neighbourhoods.

As well as a discussion of these principles the conference heard about the impact anti-social behaviour has had on the lives of two victims.

Chief Inspector Julia Pope said: “This is the first time across Sussex that anti-social behaviour practitioners have met to discuss working together across the agencies in supporting anti-social behaviour victims.

“The victims praised Sussex Police for the way we supported them but we want to look at ways of how we can improve how the multi-agencies work together to help victims of anti-social behaviour.”

Mr Herbert commented: “Anti-social behaviour ruins lives, damages our communities and, at its worst, can have tragic consequences.

“The call handling trials launched earlier this year will make a real difference to the way police forces and their partners protect repeat and vulnerable victims, and I am delighted that Sussex Police, my local force, is one of those participating.”