New antisocial behaviour policy approved for South Tyneside

A new policy to tackle antisocial behaviour across South Tyneside has been approved by council chiefs.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 6:27 pm

South Tyneside Council bosses say the draft Antisocial Behaviour Policy strengthens the authority’s existing document, improving the way the council works with partners to tackle antisocial behaviour and setting out the actions it will take when incidents are reported.

Key changes include a clear definition of antisocial behaviour, information on how to report incidents, standards for response times and updates and the role of key partners, as well as details of support for victims.

A report on the revised and updated policy was recommended for approval at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet on Wednesday, January 5.

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A new antisocial behaviour policy has been approved for South Tyneside.

According to the report, the draft document takes into account the latest legislation and has been informed by feedback from ‘extensive consultation’ carried out in 2021.

It has also been developed in line with good practice guidance by Resolve, described in cabinet papers as “a recognised centre of excellence in relation to antisocial behaviour and community safety.”

Following discussion, cabinet approved the draft policy with several senior councillors saying it would help the council respond to antisocial behaviour issues.

Councillor Jim Foreman, cabinet member for housing and transport, said he looked forward to working with officers to make sure the policy “works properly.”

“At the end of the day, one of the big things that councillors and members of the public struggle with is a definition of antisocial behaviour,” he said.

“Now that we have a true definition, we have a way forward with dealing with the definition that we have been given.

“It means that members of the public will have a greater opportunity to keep an eye on where we are with the antisocial behaviour complaints that come in.”

South Tyneside Homes’ Community Safety and Tenancy Enforcement Team currently deals with incidents of antisocial behaviour on behalf of South Tyneside Council, regardless of the tenure of victims or perpetrators.

The policy for 2022 takes the definition of antisocial behaviour from the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which includes “conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person.”

This can be conduct capable of causing “nuisance or annoyance” to a person in relation to that person’s occupation or “housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person.”

Examples of antisocial behaviour include, but are not limited to, extreme noise, intimidation and harassment and drug and alcohol abuse “resulting in unacceptable and unreasonable actions and activities.”

Examples of environmental antisocial behaviour can also include graffiti, waste dumping, dog fouling, street drinking, and “inconsiderate or inappropriate use of vehicles” such as off-road motorbikes.

According to the updated Antisocial Behaviour Policy, the council will acknowledge complaints of antisocial behaviour in urgent cases, which include threats and actual violence, and make contact within one working day.

For ‘standard incidents,’ which include complaints about neighbour disputes, noise nuisance and other aspects of antisocial behaviour, contact will be made within three working days.

The policy also includes details of pre-tenancy checks for landlords and support for perpetrators of antisocial behaviour to help them modify their behaviour.

Other updates include a list of “what is not antisocial behaviour” including “name calling and social media disputes unless it is deemed to be harassment”, parking disputes, one-off parties and BBQs and “giving dirty looks or stares.”

Councillor Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, welcomed the report on the draft Antisocial Behaviour Policy.

“It has been a piece of work which has taken time, but rightly so, to garner views and come up with a policy which enables us to understand exactly what the challenges are but actually, as a council, how we’re going to measure it and where we direct resources,” she added.

Tackling antisocial behaviour is a key priority in South Tyneside’s Community Safety Partnership Plan 2021-2024.

The review of South Tyneside Council’s Antisocial Behaviour Policy also comes as the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner reinforces her commitment to dealing with antisocial behaviour with the establishment of a ‘regional taskforce.’

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