A NEW tool to stamp out antisocial behaviour in Barnsley’s worst-hit areas has received the backing from a police boss who vowed to continue to target perpetrators - after more than 30,000 related incidents were reported in the town last year.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings visited Wombwell Park to see the impact of ‘Safer Streets’ funding on tackling crime.
A mobile CCTV van has been part-funded by a grant from Dr Billings’ office, awarded from the government’s Safer Streets funding pot, and it will be making its way around the town’s most affected wards.
Safer Streets allocates money across the country to tackle neighbourhood crime and antisocial behaviour.
Dr Billings said: “Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our communities is a top priority.
“The deployment of this CCTV van is a proactive step in addressing concerns related to crime and antisocial behaviour across Barnsley.
“I am pleased to hear of the positive impact it has had in a short period.
“I offer my thanks to the analysts at South Yorkshire Police, who were instrumental in working to provide the data as part of my office’s application for the Safer Streets funding and also to my commissioning team for their work in securing the successful bid.”
As well as monitoring the immediate area, technology in the CCTV van allows neighbourhood wardens to access cameras in other parts of the town to help build a fuller picture.
Hundreds of police patrols have also been carried out over the last three months - after officers vowed to reassure residents over spiralling cases of antisocial behaviour.
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, but was closely followed by Darton East, which includes Mapplewell.
Cudworth, Darfield, Hoyland Milton and Rockingham are the areas that have seen the greatest reduction in reports, with Hoyland Milton seeing the biggest 67 per cent reduction over the past two months.
Dr Billings said he sympathised with residents and said Barnsley-based officers have been and will continue to prioritise antisocial behaviour.
“We have seen increased concerns around certain types of antisocial behaviour in recent years,” he 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.
“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.”