Epping Forest: Anti-social behaviour falls by 31% across the district
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Reported incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) decreased by 31.7% across the district of Epping Forest in the past 12 months.
This year saw a renewed focus on ASB with the launch of several operations to combat issues including suspected drug dealing, intimidating behaviour, noise, misuse of vehicles and fly tipping.
There were 471 fewer reports of ASB in the year to the end of November compared to the same period in 2021/2.
In March, a new team of 11 officers was introduced to patrol the centres of Epping, Loughton and Waltham Abbey.
The Town Centre Team have been providing a visible presence along the high streets and surrounding areas with an emphasis on deterring crime and ASB, and making sure everyone feels safe as they shop or socialise.
In July, it was announced that Debden Broadway was one of 11 ASBs hotspot to receive more than 2,000 hours of extra patrols by our officers and the council’s community safety team under Operation Dial.
This forms part of a £1.1million investment by Essex’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to tackle ASB through high visibility patrols, public engagement, targeted youth outreach, and early intervention.
Officers have also conducted regular high visibility patrols to target and disrupt ASB in parts of Ongar, North Weald and Buckhurst Hill.
Sergeant Rob Fitt of the Epping Community Safety Team works alongside Epping Forest District Council to act on concerns raised by local residents. He said targeted enforcement action to tackle ASB was succeeding.
“Anti-social behaviour seriously affects people’s lives and damage communities. My team have dealt with issues including noise, drug use, and use of nitrous oxide, which have left people feeling harassed and intimidated.
“We’ve been working closely with our partners at Epping Forest District Council to use all the resources and enforcement options available to us and we’ve done a series of community safety days in areas where ASB has been a problem such as Oakwood Hill, Ninefields and the Limes Estate.
“Blenheim Square in North Weald was one of our focus areas as at one point we were getting reports on ASB on almost a daily basis. We did a lot of targeted enforcement work and new safety cameras were installed.
“We issued Section 59 warnings for people using vehicles off-road, some individuals were given Community Protection Warnings (CPWs) and others were arrested for weapons offences. It has now been a considerable length of time since any ASB was reported there.
“In one area of Waltham Abbey, a car park surrounded by houses became a meeting place for people using nitrous oxide canisters. Residents were concerned and the place was full of litter. We did targeted enforcement, seized a stolen electric bike and issues community resolutions. The group haven’t come back.”
Sgt Fitt is clear about what people should do if they witness or are subject to anti-social behaviour.
He said: “If there is ASB taking place, you can report it via our website, by calling 101 or by contacting the council. If there’s a crime being committed, always call 999. The more the police and the council know about incidents, the more we can do to stop the perpetrators.”
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