Meeting with National Police Chief Lead For Anti-Social Behaviour: 9 May
The National Police Chiefs’ Council brings together all police forces in the UK to assist the co-ordination of national operations. They enable independent chief constables and their forces to work together to improve policing for the public. The National Policing Lead for Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) is the Council’s representative for ASB-related matters. They are an active member of the police force and the post is held by the recently confirmed Chief Constable from Humberside Police.
Meeting Date: 9 May 2017
Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Freeman (DCCF) raised the draft Effective Police Guidance (EPG) document for police officers in the handling of anti-social behaviour (ASB) matters. He was keen to hear from the Victims’ Commissioner (VC) of her views, given that her previous comments on effective handling of ASB had prompted the work on the EPG in the first place.
The VC highlighted a small number of key observations, which included:
- the need for a victim focus; the EPG as currently drafted was too focused on sanctions and police actions
- references to ASB as ‘low-level’ crime would need to be reconsidered, as that wording trivialised what for many can be a devastating crime with a severe impact
- the need for more victim voices/contributions to be added
DCCF agreed with these comments and also suggested that he would work with his team to ensure the EPG better reflected Home Office and Crown Prosecution guidance on ASB, which did include a significant victim focus.
The VC also mentioned the possibility of HM Inspectorate for the Constabulary (HMIC), conducting an inspection into good practice in ASB. DCCF was supportive of any suggestions that would improve outcomes for victims of ASB. DCCF also acknowledged that there may be a perception that ASB has become less of a priority nationally when compared to other aspects of vulnerability such as domestic abuse. DCCF doesn’t not think that this is the case but recognises that ASB must be seen as a key part of the overall vulnerability assessment.
Both the VC and DDCF agreed that ASB was affecting large numbers of communities across the country, which were increasing losing confidence in the authorities given the de-prioritisation.
DCCF told the VC that in addition to producing the EPG, he had circulated questionnaires and surveys to all police forces across England and Wales to assess the implementation of measures introduced to tackle ASB under the Legal Aid, Punishment and Sentencing of Offenders Act 2014. The VC welcomed this work, and was keen to hear back from DCCF once he received all returns.