An anti-social behaviour (ASB) hotspot patrol pilot, which began in July, has so far seen a 20% reduction in ASB in targeted areas of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
The pilot is funded through the government’s ASB Action Plan, with our office receiving £2 million funding over the next two years for an additional uniformed presence, as part of a new approach to working with local agencies.
Staffordshire is one of 16 pilot areas to receive ASB funding, with Staffordshire Police providing almost 200 additional patrols in Burton Urban, Fenton West and Mount Pleasant, Hanley and Etruria, Stafford Town and Newcastle Town.
The increased presence is designed to help deter ASB, step up enforcement action against offenders, make sure crimes are punished more quickly and drive deterrence efforts, helping to stop behaviour spiralling into more serious criminality.
Although the additional hotspot patrols have only been running since July, early indications are positive, with a combined 20% reduction in reported ASB in the hotspot areas across July, August and September, compared to the same period in 2022.
Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime Ben Adams said: “Anti-social behaviour has reduced in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in recent years, but there is still more to be done by Police and partners.
“This pilot, bringing additional patrols to hotspot ASB areas, is an opportunity to further reduce the impact of ASB on our communities. We’re already starting to see positive results, and I look forward to seeing the pilot continue to develop over the coming months.”
Chief Superintendent Elliott Sharrard-Williams said: “We recognise the impact anti-social behaviour can have on victims, which is why we are committed to working with partners to tackle it every day.
“In August, we updated our new neighbourhood strategy, which placed visible, accessible and responsive policing at the heart of our ambitions. This is key to modern policing: we need all our communities to have trust and confidence in what we do. When this is the case, communities engage more, support us more, and together help us tackle crime.
“We want to encourage victims of anti-social behaviour to reach out for support. They can speak to their local officer, report any issues through the Staffordshire Police website, call 101, or contact Crimestoppers.”
Case study 1 – In Stoke-on-Trent, additional patrols were carried out at the Festival Park retail park to address concerns around ASB. Local businesses expressed their gratitude, stating that they have experienced fewer issues since the patrols have been running.
Case study 2 – Newcastle-under-Lyme was identified for additional patrols after increased levels of ASB, including drug and alcohol use, were reported in the town centre. After identifying areas where drug paraphernalia was being discarded, follow-up work with partner agencies took place to clean up the area, alongside high-visibility Police patrols to provide reassurance to the local community and deter drug users. After dispersing groups of young people, a quantity of drugs, including monkey dust and cannabis, was seized alongside a number of knives.
Following the success of the pilot, a national roll-out of the hotspot Policing initiative is expected to begin in 2024.
The ASB hotspot patrol pilot is just one element of our and partners’ commitment to tackling ASB across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.