Chesterfield anti-social behaviour strategy focuses on prevention rather than punishment

Early intervention is the key factor of a draft strategy for anti-social behaviour that focuses on prevention rather than punishment.

By Christina Massey
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 11:06 am

Addressing Chesterfield Borough Council’s Cabinet, Head of Community Safety and Regulatory Services Shaun Morley, said the council would work alongside partners including housing services, police and fire service to address the root causes of anti-social behaviour in both youths and adults.

Presenting the draft Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy, he said one of its key principles was early intervention and prevention.

The former chief superintendent for South Yorkshire Police said: “I think one of the issues we’ve had before is that sometimes we try to address the symptoms of anti-social behaviour rather than trying to understand what the underlying problems are and directly tackling those issues.”

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Chesterfield Town Centre.

The draft strategy outlines the use of diversion and education as a way of addressing the problem among young people.

Mr Morley said: “Over the last five years nationally we’ve seen a reduction in youth services and diversionary activity and that’s certainly having an impact in terms of youth offending.

“There is a real need for us to create effective diversionary activity for young people to give them a sense of purpose, a sense of value.”

He added that the recently launched Boots on the Ground scheme in Chesterfield offers sport and entertainment activities that regularly attracted up to 80 youth people a night on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Mr Morley said: “These are young people that would otherwise be out in the town centre and Queen’s Park, creating anti-social behaviour.”

He said he hoped to collect data from the scheme to attract funding to enable it to expand to other problem areas, such as Staveley.

The strategy aims to include all the schools in the area, meaning that if a problem is highlighted with a young person, their school will become involved.

Mr Morley outlined that communication was key when it came to addressing the issue, and following a recent spate of problems in Green Farm Close, Chesterfield, officers had spoken to all the residents in the area to gauge the scope of the problem and how it could be addressed.

He added that the team intended to visit each resident again and tell them what action had been taken in a bid to build ‘trust and confidence’ in the community.

Mr Morley said where enforcement action was necessary it would be ‘proportionate’ and utilise tools such as public space protection orders, community protection notices and disclosure orders.

The draft strategy will now go to public consultation, following the conclusion of which it should be finalised no later than September this year.