The North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner is backing ASB Awareness Week in north Wales.
The awareness week, a national campaign from Resolve that aims to raise awareness of ASB, offer advice on how and who to report it, and to understand people’s rights as victims of ASB, runs from July 3-9. The campaign is being backed by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Andy Dunbobbin, for whom preventing ASB in communities across North Wales is a key priority.
ASB is defined as behaviour where a person’s or group’s actions causes annoyance, suffering or trouble to a specific person or group or to the wider community, and examples can include vandalism, vehicle nuisance, street drinking and inappropriate behaviour by neighbours.
The issue forms a key part of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan for the region, which includes commitments to supporting victims and communities and to delivering safer neighbourhoods. Since being elected, the PCC has introduced several new and innovate measures to combat ASB and foster a safer North Wales for everyone.
Towns across North Wales have also benefitted from £1.5m of funding from the Home Office Safer Streets project, with shares going towards improving street lighting, the installation of CCTV cameras and ASB intervention projects in Holyhead, Wrexham and the Shotton and Queensferry areas in a bid to combat neighbourhood crime, reinforced by dedicated advertising campaigns.
Mr Dunbobbin recently visited areas affected by cases of ASB to learn first-hand from people affected and to look at what future measures can be put in place across north Wales, from Bangor to Barmouth and Rhyl to Wrexham. He has also joined local police officers and community initiatives across North Wales that aim to counter ASB and support young people and victims of crime, through the Your Community, Your Choice fund, which helps to support local initiatives, such as sporting and social activities to keep young people occupied and out of trouble.
Your Community, Your Choice is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2023 and, over the past 10 years, a total of over £500,000 has been awarded to more than 150 projects working to reduce crime in their areas and to support the priorities in the Police and Crime Plan. The Your Community, Your Choice fund supports grass-roots projects and is supported by the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and North Wales Police.
The funding for Your Community, Your Choice comes partly from money seized by the courts through the Proceeds of Crime Act, with the rest from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Many of the groups receiving funding help support diversionary schemes that help turn young people away from potentially causing ASB and providing them with activities to keep them occupied. Examples of organisations that have received funding this year include scouting and girl-guiding groups on Anglesey, a cycling club in Rhyl, a theatre group in Colwyn Bay, and an anti-bullying initiative in Flintshire.
Since the pandemic, there has been a notable rise in ASB among young people in schools and in the wider community, alongside a rise in young people noting that they are suffering from low mental health. An innovative project is the Wrexham area is seeking to address the root causes of youth ASB through partnership working with local schools and organisations.
Each identified school has been allocated two days per week of engagement where the youth team at Groundwork North Wales will provide support, opportunities and in-depth discussion around the topic of ASB in a school setting, as well as identifying current issues and problems highlighted in their communities. Groups also have the opportunity to learn new skills and qualifications through participating in the activities.
The PCC’s Innovate to Grow initiative was launched in April 2022 to target and invest in projects dealing with the root causes of crime across North Wales – especially ones that offer new and innovative ideas of preventing and tackling wrongdoing. Funding from the project has gone to a number of initiatives aiming to reduce ASB in north Wales.
ASB in rural communities is a further key concern for the PCC and the launch of North Wales Police’s We Don’t Buy Crime initiative is seeing farms across the region receive packs to help them stop crime and thefts and to protect their premises and equipment using the latest SmartWater technology, which is a traceable liquid applied to items of value to identify thieves and deter theft.
The PCC’s commissioning of services also helps support the work of Youth Offending Teams across North Wales, by funding roles and activities within the teams, who work with young people on the many issues that might be a factor in driving ASB such as substance misuse and an unstable home environment. The PCC also commissions the work of the Victim Help centre based in St. Asaph, which offers support and advice to those affected by ASB in their community.
The Commissioner’s recent appointment as Chair of the national Policing in Wales forum, which brings together the other Police and Crime Commissioners, Chief Officers and leaders of the three
other Welsh forces together with the Welsh Government will also help to co-ordinate the response to, and share intelligence, on combatting ASB across the country.
North Wales Police & Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “I am pleased to show my support for ASB Awareness Week 2023 and to share the message with the people of North Wales that I have their interests at heart. We all have the right to feel secure in our communities.
“I believe passionately both in dealing with the root causes of ASB, such as substance misuse and the lack of diversionary activities for young people, but also in offering support and delivering justice to those experiencing ASB.
“Delivering safer neighbourhoods, and supporting victims and communities are cornerstones of my Police and Crime Plan and it is my job to hold North Wales Police to account to ensure they are meeting these aims. I’d urge anyone who has a crime to report or any suspicions to report it to the police or CrimeStoppers, so we can work together to combat ASB wherever it happens.”
Find advice on what ASB is and how you can report it at www.northwales.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/asb/asb/antisocial-behaviour/