By Frances Mason

If the incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) investigated in Harlow for July 2018 were 350* and in Aug 2018 were 285* there are early indications that the presence of Councillor Tony Edwards and other Labour members with their petitionin the Town Centre may have had an effect.  Essex Police adjusted their priorities by increasing visibility to reduce crime and ASB in the Town Centre.

Victims of ASB suffer distress and can be left feeling powerless, particularly vulnerable children and adults.  Shop keepers lose trade and victims lose their sense of security; the process to address ASB can take time when diaries have to be kept of incidents in order to build a case to obtain a Civil Order.

This type of low-level behaviour can be a ‘gateway’ to more serious offending particularly if the incidents have not been properly addressed, giving the impression the perpetrator has got away with the behaviour which gives them permission to continue. An acceptance of this type of behaviour can also mean other crimes go unreported i.e. Public Order, Drunk and Disorderly, Drugs and Violence.

The Community Safety Partnership incorporates Harlow District Council who have both Community Safety Rangers and Community Officers to protect public areas, residents and where possible, resolve problems. This also includes issues around the environment such as noise, litter, fly tipping etc, incidents can be reported on Harlow District Council’s website.

Overall, we are at the early stages to fully answer whether enough is being done to address ASB.  Harlow Police have suffered from cuts in recent years, Police Officer recruitment and retention are pivotal to making our Town safe. The last month statistics demonstrate we are heading in the right direction and need to continue to do so.

*As reported by Chief Inspector Matt Cornish, Essex Police

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