Police and council join forces to tackle neighbourhood nuisance

Police and council workers will be joining forces with the community to tackle street grime and low level crime that cause a nuisance for city residents.

They will be taking a new ‘don’t walk by’ approach on neighbourhood issues of greatest concern to residents such as dog fouling, littering, graffiti, flyposting, under-age drinking, parking issues and abandoned cars.

It means they will deal with the issue regardless of which organisation is traditionally responsible for the problem.

The Council’s Cabinet is due to agree a pilot scheme in the city’s St Peters and the Waterfront Ward which will see the police and council working together to tackle problems using feedback from the community, sharing information and agreeing joint priorities for the area.

The will also aim to work closely with other agencies such as fire service and social landlords.

The new approach will mean residents will have the opportunity to be more involved in tackling the issues and the pilot will involve relaunching Neighbourhood Watch.

The introduction of the pilot coincides with the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act which came into effect in October 2014. The Act encourages councils, police and registered social landlords to establish systems to coordinate these new powers and tackle anti-social behaviour in local communities. The first Closure Order was granted under these powers at a property in Kenn Close following continued issues with anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives, Housing and Community Safety, said: “This is all about working with the local community to resolve the issues that bother local people. Services will work together with residents to tackle the issues that they have highlighted – from anti-social behaviour to dog fouling, littering, graffiti, flyposting, to confiscating booze and cigarettes from young people. It forms part of our ambition for a safer Plymouth where everyone feels safe in their own home and community.

“The key principle is ‘don’t walk by’ – if there is an issue that is clearly of concern to local residents, regardless of which agency is involved, action is taken there and then or steps are taken to ensure it is followed up afterwards.

“This is a new way of working and involves a culture change for all the staff involved so they look beyond traditional organisational responsibilities.

“This is a cooperative approach in action – both organisations have staff who are out and about on the city’s streets, we need to ensure they are doing all they can to make our environment more pleasant.”

Andy Boulting, Chief Superintendent for Plymouth for Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Services already work very well together in Plymouth but both this pilot and the new Act give us added impetus to ensure our staff intervene.

“The pilot enables us to put into practice some of the principles behind collaborative enforcement, which has already worked very well in Nottingham, while we also work to implement the new powers we have been given under the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.

“Initially the scheme will be led by Devon and Cornwall Police and Plymouth City Council but can also be extended to other agencies such as registered social landlords, the fire service, private sector, voluntary sector, and local community.”

The initial pilot will be 12 months, with reviews at 6 and 9 months on its effectiveness.