Anti-social behaviour ‘rampant’ as police don’t bother to send officers

“I am outraged. Police have the powers and there are remedies that can be applied. That’s two million offences where officers are not attending. Why?”

Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her severely disabled daughter Francecca, 18, in 2007 after years of torment by youths at their home in Barwell, Leicestershire. Four police officers faced misconduct proceedings for failing to help the family.

The FOI request covered only 34 forces, so underestimates the scale of the problem and also only covers reported incidents. Crime survey data shows 37 per cent of adults – 19 million people – say they have experienced or witnessed anti-social behaviour.

Police did not respond to 55.2 per cent of all anti-social behaviour incidents recorded between 2019 and 2021. Only 14 of the 34 forces had an officer attend half or more of the incidents they recorded.

Surrey had the worst record with just 27.7 per cent of anti-social behaviour incidents attended by an officer, followed by Humberside (28.5 per cent), Bedfordshire (30 per cent), Hertfordshire (30.4 per cent), Cambridgeshire (32.3 per cent) and Avon & Somerset Police (32.7 per cent).

Ed Davey, the LibDem leader, said: “Too many people feel unsafe just walking down their own streets, because the Conservatives have let anti-social behaviour run rampant. For years this Government has failed to give police forces the officers or resources to tackle this scourge properly.”

‘Not a low-level crime’

Dame Vera Baird, the victims’ commissioner, said: “Anti-social behaviour is not low-level crime. It can make victims’ lives a living nightmare, causing stress, misery and despair.

“It can also often be the precursor to serious violence, such as knife crime and gang activity, so it is important that it is taken seriously by the agencies responding to it.”

A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman said: “ In a period of unprecedented demand police must often prioritise their resources towards the cases of greatest risk and harm in the first instance.

“Each case will be individually assessed when a report comes to the control room. In some cases there may not be enough evidence, intelligence or reports of vulnerability for police to act on immediately.”

Meanwhile, official figures show victims are waiting 50 per cent longer than last year for their case to come to court so they can get justice.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) data show victims are on average having to wait 233 days from their case being referred to crown court to the jury giving a verdict, up from 157 days in the previous year.

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