Uttlesford: ‘Tell us about anti-social behaviour so we can deal with it’
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In Uttlesford, calls to anti-social behaviour are relatively low, says PC Glenn Braden, of Uttlesford Community Policing Team.
He and fellow team members work with other agencies, such as Uttlesford District Council, to solve identified problems. And issues which are not a criminal matter, such as loud music, littering, dog-fouling and parking on double-yellow lines will be referred on to the appropriate agency to deal with.
Glenn says: “We work on reports of drug use and persistent anti-social behaviour and will first look to see whether any offences have been committed. Otherwise, if it’s an education thing, we’ll work with people to try to resolve the issue.
“If it’s happening there and then, we’ll tend to go out to deal with it. We have ways of dealing with things such as cannabis use by way of a community protection warning. The police and the district council can issue these and, if they are breached then, potentially, the person can be punished.
“To do that, we need to gather evidence – it’s about proving it or about witnessing it ourselves.
If we receive reports that, say, an area is being used by drug dealers, we’ll mount an operation to target that area and we’ll link up with specialist police teams, such as the Dog Section, to do so.
“Basically, it’s the community telling us what the issues are, so, if you tell us and it’s something we deal with, we’ll create a record of reports and the action we take and the work we do with other specialist police teams and partner agencies.
“But we need you to tell us about the issues you see and hear about. You can report online at www.essex.police.uk or ring 101. And, of course, if you see a crime taking place there and then, you can dial 999.”
Glenn and his colleagues work closely with local schools. Each member of Uttlesford Community Policing Team has been allocated a secondary school each while every primary school has links with one of our police community support officers (PCSOs).
He says: “Before the pandemic and, again when we are allowed, we’ll go into schools and give talks to the students at various levels about criminal damage, anti-social behaviour and theft with ‘stranger danger’ for the younger ones. Then we work with the council to deliver Crucial Crew, which helps to educate Year 6 pupils about online safety, road safety, fire safety, bullying and the dangers of drugs.
“And if we identify a specific issue within a school or within a year group, we can go round all the schools to talk to them about that issue. So, if there’s a problem with anti-social behaviour, we’ll talk about our powers of stop and search and what anti-social behaviour is.”
Glenn says anti-social behaviour can be about perception. If someone sees a group of young people, they may think they are carrying knives or that they are going to mug them or do drugs.
“Actually, the majority of people in Uttlesford are nice. It’s a nice area and a lovely area to grow up in.
But the small amount of issues we do have in the district get highlighted, especially through social media, and can be built up into bigger issues.
“Recently on social media I saw a post about a defibrillator which had been ‘smashed up’ by youngsters. But, in fact, the box had been broken accidentally by a football and the defibrillator was actually safe and still available to use.
“So sometimes we see young people being blamed when they haven’t done anything wrong and the vast majority where we grow up and where we live are OK.
“They are just trying to get through life themselves so, for us, as police officers in the local community, it’s trying to work with them and educate them about people’s perceptions.
“For example, if they are sitting there either with hoods up or music blaring from their phone, we tell them how sometimes that can be seen as intimidating or anti-social.
“But for them, it might not even register with them that that’s the problem.”
Why report anti-social behaviour?
You can report incidents of anti-social behaviour on our website via Live Chat – open from 7am-11pm every day – or by completing an online report. You can also ring 101.
If you’ve been a victim of anti-social behaviour, or any crime, and are feeling mentally impacted by it, contact Victim Support on 0808 1689 111.
Anti-social behaviour is not just nuisance behaviour, it can severely impact on victims and make their lives a misery.
With summer holidays now starting and the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, more people will be out and about and enjoying our towns, countryside and coastal areas.
This also brings the risk of increased anti-social behaviour. While some of this will be down to people deliberately causing problems, there may be others who are unaware their behaviour is seen as intimidating or disruptive.
We are focused on dealing with anti-social behaviour, supporting victims and dealing with those responsible.
We can deal with it in a number of ways – such as dispersal orders or closure orders for properties – and we work closely with local councils and other partner agencies to find additional solutions.
Find out more about our Watch schemes in Essex.