A presentation on work being carried out to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) was given by Andy Opie, the council's Director of Safety.
He explained that the term "ASB" covered a wide range of behaviours and added that rowdy inconsiderate behaviour and neighbourhood nuisance were two of the most prominent forms of ASB. He was pleased to report that reports of ASB had gone down by 25% in the last 12 months and that effective partnership work had been a critical root of this success.
SNB members were advised that the first step in resolving ASB was usually to request that the individual concerned complete diary sheets regarding the nuisance concerned to provide officers with good evidence.
Equipped with this information, officers then use a wide variety of "tools" to tackle the behaviour, ranging from Acceptable Behaviour Contracts with low level ASB to Criminal Behaviour Orders or custodial sentences. The Director of Safety explained that Criminal Behaviour Orders replaced Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) about two years ago.
SNB members were given an overview of action taken to tackle "cruising" on Imperial Way. They heard that an injunction had been obtained after the death of a young man and that various traffic calming measures had been put in place, leading to a cessation of this behaviour.
Other action taken across the borough as a result of serious ASB has included the following:
- 5 Premises Closure Orders to prevent persistent and ongoing ASB, including an order on commercial premises where drugs were being sold from
- 4 injunctions with exclusion zones
- 4 evictions from council homes and 3 suspended possession orders
The Director of Safety explained that Community Protection Notices had constituted an important tool in the council's work to tackle ASB such as street drinking, untidy front gardens, etc. Perpetrators nearly always take the appropriate action in response and only rarely does the council have to follow up these notices with a formal notice.
The Director of Safety outlined action taken to tackle moped-related ASB. These vehicles have been used this year to commit a number of burglaries or to ride in an antisocial way. In a number of cases, the mopeds have been burnt after an offence has been committed.
A multi-agency group has been formed to find effective solutions to address moped related crime. It is developing prevention and diversion work which will include working on a moped crime prevention scheme, and has identified the main perpetrators.
However, the Director of Safety admitted that these offences were difficult to tackle and encouraged the community to report any intelligence to help officers to take action and bring these behaviours to an end. It was reported at the meeting that individuals were also committing a nuisance on push bikes.
The director of safety was questioned regarding the 25 % decrease in reports of ASB. In answer to a question, SNB members were advised that all reports to the "101" telephone numbers were included in crime statistics. The Director of Safety was asked why this reduction had come about and explained that it was probably due to increasingly effective partnership work, use of intelligence and improving strategies. As a result, there has also been a reduction in the multiple reporting of ASB events.
It was suggested that businesses should use electric mopeds to deliver take-away food to customers as these are cheaper and far less noisy, making them less suitable for noise nuisance.
SNB members were given an overview of action being taken to tackle fly-tipping. He explained that 1500-1800 fly tips per month were confirmed by contractors and that hot spots for flytipping were concentrated around Selhurst, South Norwood, Thornton Heath and Norbury. About 85% are successfully cleared within 48 hours. The Director of Safety explained that speed was of the essence as "rubbish breeds rubbish".
The Director of Safety explained that a large number of visits were carried out to local businesses to ensure that they have a trade waste contract and used the right type of containers for their waste. In addition, Time Banded Waste Collections (TBWCs) have been introduced on Thornton Heath High Street. London Road and Portland Road to keep rubbish out of the way except during these time bands. As a result, the amount of rubbish dumped outside shopfronts has been cut by over 70 tonnes. It is planned to roll out this service to 25 more locations, starting with the areas suffering from most littering and flytipping. The Director of Safety conceded that this practice was resource-intensive but that it had led to significant improvements.
More Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been issued than ever before for fly tipping and other environment offences being issued than ever before and £400 penalties were introduced last year for particularly serious incidences. In addition, the council has had success with a significant number of prosecutions, two of which led to jail sentences. A particularly effective form of action has been the confiscation of vehicles involved in fly-tipping followed in many cases by the crushing of the vehicle, when the driver has not come forward with the paperwork to prove ownership and recover their vehicle. This is a swifter process than prosecution and as a result, a number of perpetrators are no longer able to flytip.
The Director of Safety highlighted the borough's Street Champion scheme, where local residents can get involved in keeping their neighbourhood tidy and bringing about improvements such as planting schemes.
The Director of Safety was challenged to explain why Croydon had not provided statistics on flytipping to DEFRA. He explained that this was due to the fact that ¼ of reports were described as "other", which had led DEFRA to decide not to publish the data. He gave assurances that this matter was being dealt with and that improved data would be provided to DEFRA.
The Director of Safety was questioned regarding dumping on private land. He explained that this was usually dealt with by issuing a "Community Protection Order" on the grounds that such waste was "detrimental to local amenity". He added that addressing rubbish in back gardens was more challenging but that this could be tackled if the council received persistent complaints, if this brought about a fire risk or attracted vermin.
It was remarked that evidence of dumping that could help identify the perpetrator might disappear if the contractor removed the litter before the litter was investigated. The Director of Safety explained that the council's dedicated enforcement team worked very well with the contractors Veolia. He added that the new 2018 contract will require the contractor to obtain this evidence and report it to the council.
The Director of Safety was thanked for his presentation.