POLICE bosses have vowed to stamp out antisocial behaviour impacting Barnsley communities and not treat it as a ‘low-level’ crime due to residents’ rising complaints.
Worst-hit areas will receive high-visibility patrols in a bid to reassure members of the community and rid crime from Barnsley’s streets following years of issues with yobs.
Antisocial behaviour - which spans from threats to criminal damage - has been highlighted by Barnsley-based officers this week as part of an awareness campaign.
ASB Awareness Week - which runs until Sunday - has been organised by Resolve, the UK’s leading community safety organisation after a YouGov poll found one in ten people have moved homes due to the impact.
Hotspots put forward to the police will see an ‘immediate’ increase in police presence alongside other uniformed authority figures, such as council wardens.
Leaders say the increased presence will help deter antisocial behaviour, step up enforcement action against offenders, make sure crimes are punished more quickly and drive deterrence efforts, helping to stop antisocial behaviour spiralling into more serious criminality.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “We have seen increased concerns around certain types of antisocial behaviour in recent years.
“That is why one of the three priorities local is combating antisocial behaviour.
“Whenever I go to community meetings people invariably want to talk about it as much as, if not more than, crime.
“But antisocial behaviour is not a low-level crime, it devastates communities and has a profound impact on victims.
“I encourage people to report incidents to the antisocial behaviour team at the council, or to the police, if they feel they are in immediate danger.”
Figures obtained by the Chronicle show a total of 30,297 incidents were reported in the town last year.
Barnsley’s North East ward - which includes Brierley, Cudworth, Grimethorpe and Shafton - saw around a third of those incidents, with a total of 10,077 reports.
“It has a relentless nature, it gets people down, and the sheer amount of resource needed to deal effectively with it is alarming,” Dr Billings added.
“As a minimum more patrolling by police will be done in hotspots, especially in the evenings - I also want to see the police telling communities and victims of antisocial behaviour what they are doing to reassure them.”
Chief Inspector John Mallows, the force lead for antisocial behaviour, admitted communities had been significantly impacted by yobs responsible.
“We are excited to support this national campaign again this year - we want our communities to feel they are in a better position at the end of this week to understand how they should get help from the police or local councils, should they need it,” he said.
“A better-informed community is a safer one, as they can help each other to combat issues and correctly report them to the organisations they need to know.
“If you have any issues concerning you in your area, please see our website for details on who your local officers are and how to either contact them directly or join them at various community events.
“By speaking to us and telling us what is going on in your area it puts us in the best position to clamp down on issues.”