Leeds antisocial behaviour approaches “needs reviewing and more funding”

By Zoe Merry and Elaine Kimeiywo

 

Antisocial behaviour in Leeds has gotten increasingly worse in the last 10 years, a report reveals.

Since the creation of a team designed to deal with behaviour like graffiti, vandalism and environmental harm, levels of support for locals against crime as only gone down.

Councillor Paul Wray said “The team was more efficient in the past… and we need to find a new approach”.

Leeds City Council have released statistics that call for the team to undergo further changes to make it more efficient and responsive.

‘Brief History’

In 2009 a package was announced to improve the responses of the antisocial behaviour team given a previous experience where reports criticised the inability of the local council and the police to respond appropriately.

In 2010 it was agreed the team would undergo a review in Leeds and the local agency to improve how it responds to and tackle antisocial behaviour. This was achieved through the QUEST methodology and under the guidance of a governance board representing senior leaders of partner agencies.

As a result, Leeds antisocial behaviour team (LASBT) was established to deliver an antisocial behaviour service through local based teams.

‘Need for review’

As a result of its unresponsiveness, and inefficiency of handling behaviour problems,  it was thought fit for the Team to undergo a review since the nature of problems have evolved since it was first established and there has been an increase demand for service and dealing with much more complex behavioural cases.

Complaints relating to noise nuisance in particular, around residential areas is making it difficult for the team to work on prevention, intervention and community empowerment in tackling these behavioural problems.

There has also been an increased interaction between victims and perpetrators who in these case require special attention which the LASBT is not able to offer due to the challenges it is currently facing.

Councillor Paul Wray said, ‘The team was more efficient in the past and currently needs more reviewing and funding to enable it tackle antisocial behaviour challenges.’

‘Harassed by youths’

As a result of the LASBT’s ineffectiveness, local people have been unable to protect themselves against  perpetrators, leaving them vulnerable.

Antisocial behaviour is often prevalent where there are wider risk factors such as living in a disadvantaged neighbourhood.

Leeds resident Hannah Wilkinson, 26, has been a victim of antisocial behaviour.

She said “I had a firework thrown at me whilst driving.

“My bin was set alight, my car was damaged.

“I was being harassed by these youths for such a period of time, and so little was done to respond to my complaints that we ended up moving.”

‘Crime statistics’

According to the West Yorkshire Police, crime levels have decreased since February 2018. However, antisocial behaviour is still at a high of 10.58%.

Areas with high cases of antisocial behaviour include: The City Center, Farnley Ring Road, Harehills area and Seacroft Area.

‘Solution’

In order to restore the effectiveness of the LASBT, it was suggested that more funding be put in place to enable the team go through the required changes and upgrades.

It was also suggested that staff should undergo training to ensure they are well aware of how to use all the tools made available to them.

Councillor Paul Wray said: “In the end, we need to find new ways in which we would be able to help households tackle antisocial behaviour around their areas.

“find a new approach which would be helpful in tackling complex antisocial behaviour and the creation of a multi-agency which would help the current team manage antisocial behaviour in Leeds.”

About the Author

student
This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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