From designing out crime to getting parents involved in the fight against antisocial behaviour, when it comes to tackling issues in the Park Ward, this dedicated team are full of fresh ideas.
PC Jamie Steel, PSCO Dominic Doust (pictured below left) and PC Connor Tritton head up the neighbourhood team for the area which incorporates a number of community facilities including the cemetery, Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, numerous schools and parks including Ainslie Street, Barratt’s Rec and People’s Park.
With such a large area to cover, they can’t be everywhere at once, but by joining forces with officers and staff in the wider force, residents and other organisations, such as North East Lincolnshire Council, Neighbourhood Watch and Young People’s Support Services (YPSS) the team is able to concentrate their time and resources where they are most needed.
Whether that’s increased patrols at key times, carrying out drugs warrants or helping to find long-term solutions to the community’s concerns, their proactive approach is proving its worth.
PCSO Doust said: “We have had issues with antisocial behaviour around People’s Park but we have done a lot of work to address that – and we have lots more ideas in the pipeline.
“We know that antisocial behaviour can have a real impact on people’s lives and that’s why we devote so much of our time to dealing with it and trying to find long-term solutions rather than quick fixes.
“We’re lucky in the Park Ward to have such a fantastic resource as People’s Park on our doorstep. To me it’s the nicest park in the town and it draws people in from all over North East Lincolnshire.
“We want to make sure that it remains somewhere that people of all ages can come and enjoy and that includes young people.”
Here for everyone
PC Steel added: “We do get calls from people to say there are large groups of young people congregating in the park.
“We regularly go along to ensure there are no issues but, the vast majority of the time, these kids are not committing any criminal behaviour. They just want to meet up with their friends and have fun.
“We don’t want to be a barrier to them doing that but we also want to make sure that this doesn’t prevent anyone else using the park, so we speak to them and encourage them to think about how their actions could impact on other park users and people living nearby.
“Where appropriate, we will move them on and where there are issues and we see evidence of criminal damage, drinking, actively intimidating or threatening others or climbing on buildings, we will take further action.
“There are steps we can take, including things like dispersal orders and Criminal Behaviour Orders, which give us the power to put them before the courts.
“This can be really effective. We had one boy whose name seemed to be coming up in every crime report that came in until we stepped in and worked with him.
“As part of the work we did with him, we made him subject to an Antisocial Behaviour Contract and we have not had any problems with him for over a year.”
Getting parents involved has also proved a great tool in combating antisocial behaviour.
PCSO Doust said: “In the past we have moved on large groups who have been causing problems in the park but parents didn’t know about it.
“Now we have letters that we give to parents so that they are aware of what is going on and that they have a responsibility to prevent issues from growing.
“We also have reports of motorbikes being ridden through the park. It’s used as a cut through from this side of town to the East Marsh but they very rarely spend any time in the park itself.
“Like all teams across the force we’re working hard to stamp out motorbike crime as part of Operation Yellowfin.
“Our patrols are on the look out for bikes we suspect have been stolen and for people who are riding dangerously or illegally.
“We take action wherever we can, seizing stolen bikes, identifying those who are riding them and making arrests.
“But to make the biggest impact we need to know where they’re being stored and that’s where you can help us.
“If you know someone in your area is riding these bikes and where thy keep them, let us know. It’s this kind of information that can help us to make a real difference.”
The team also work closely with the council’s Young and Safe officers to put positive activities in place for young people and prevent issues from developing in the first place.
However, not all the issues are caused by young people. For example, they often get the blame for empty bottles and cans on the park but they’re frequently left behind by adults drinking in the park at night.
PC Steel said: “For us it doesn’t matter how old you are – our role is to ensure that everyone can enjoy coming here and often the solution can be surprisingly simple.
“Over the summer, a third of the calls we had were about people climbing onto the roof of the pavilion in the park.
“We arranged for our crime reduction officer Tracy Rokahr to come and do an assessment of the area to see if there were any steps that could be taken to help reduce issues.
“She did a full survey and came up with a number of practical measures that could be put in place, such as moving the bins away from the roof and adding anti-climb paint.
“It may sound like a really simple thing but it can make a real difference.
The team has also pushed for a Neighbourhood Watch Group to be established in the area, who they keep updated with all the latest news and plans.
PC Steel said: “We regularly speak with the group and discuss ways forward with them.
“We can help reassure them about any concerns they might have and let them know what we’re doing but it’s also about them passing on information to us and sharing any ideas they might have for dealing with issues.
“We’re also in the process of getting out to speak to as many people in the Park Ward as possible as part of our Humber Talking initiative – starting with the areas where we don’t have as much regular contact with the people who live and work there.
“We want to know what’s good, what’s not so good and what you would like us to prioritise to make sure we and the other agencies in this area are tackling the issues that matter to you most.
“We also know don’t have all the answers, so we’re more than happy to hear about your ideas to tackle any problems and will do what we can to help.”
Get in touch
One of the biggest barriers facing the team is that often issues go unreported.
PC Tritton (pictured) said: “My appeal is that if there are issues in your area, please get in touch.
“We decide where and when we need to focus our resources and the issues we prioritise on the basis of the information you provide.
“It also gives us the evidence we need to target those involved in drug-related crime by carrying out warrants, seizing drugs and weapons and making arrests.
“We know that if we’re in an area then it’s unlikely that people will be committing crime there but we can’t be everywhere at once, so we need you to let us know what happens near you when we’re out patrolling other areas.”
If you have any concerns or information you want to share with the team, speak to them when they’re out and about or call the non-emergency 101 line. If you’d rather remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, always call 999.