Harlow: ASB operations see offences fall by more than a third
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Operations to combat anti-social behaviour (ASB) in Harlow have led to a 35% drop in offences in the past year.
There were 1,114 reports of ASB in the year to the end of May 2023, compared to 1,724 in the previous 12 months.
In the same period five years ago, there were 3,593 offences reported. This year’s figures represent a fall of 69% from those levels.
The pedestrianised streets around Market Square, Broad Walk and the Water Gardens had seen people congregating to drink alcohol, nuisance behaviour from groups of youngsters and the illegal riding of e-scooters.
Residents, business owners and those visiting the town centre told officers the behaviour left them feeling uncomfortable and intimidated.
In response, Operation Shopper was formed. This has led to hundreds of hours of additional high-visibility patrols of the town centre. Officers have removed more than 200 alcoholic beverages from the hands of drinkers and seized 150 e-scooters.
Harlow town centre is covered by a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that prohibits the public consumption of alcohol in the town centre. The riding of privately owned e-scooters in public areas is illegal.
The Community Policing Team have also been working to solve ASB issues in residential areas of the town, particularly involving nuisance vehicles.
Reports of nuisance bikes, drug use, and general loud anti-social behaviour in the Oxleys led to a partial closure order being secured on a property and problem individuals leaving the area.
Harlow District Commander Chief Inspector Paul Austin said:
“Operation Shopper has improved our visibility in the town and the response from the public and local businesses has been excellent.
“People told us that e-scooter riding and street drinking were really affecting their quality of life. We’ve worked hard on enforcement and it’s clear from walking around the town that this has had a positive impact.
“We’ve given out community protection notices, community protection warnings, and we’ve made more than 20 arrests in and around Market Square alone for public order offences, violence and drunkenness.
“We’ve also been working with people at the council and charities to try to help the individuals who are misusing alcohol.
“ASB has a huge impact on people. It affects their ability to live and work and it’s something we’re dedicated to tackling and stamping out.
“We want the town to be a pleasant place for people to visit, and we want people to feel safe. If you are a victim of anti-social behaviour or witness it, please tell us and we can do something about it.”
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