Anti-social behaviour affected two-fifths of people in the West Midlands last year - a rise from 2017.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) found that 40% of people in the West Midlands police force area reported experiencing or witnessing some sort of anti-social behaviour in 2018.

This was an increase from the 35% who reported problems with anti-social behaviour in 2017.

It is also the highest proportion in at least the past four years, and compares to just 31% in 2013, based on the figures available from the Office for National Statistics.

While the number of people in the West Midlands experiencing anti-social behaviour is rising, their confidence in police and the local council to tackle the problem is falling.

The proportion of people who agreed that police and local council are dealing with the anti-social behaviour and crime issues that matter in the local area fell from 60% in 2017 to 54% in 2018.

At the same time, the percentage of people who disagree with the statement rose from 20% to 21%.

One in five people in the West Midland police force area said their area had a very or fairly big problem with anti-social behaviour.

The most common type of anti-social behaviour was rubbish lying around, with 41% of people saying this was a big problem, followed by people using or dealing drugs (36%), and people being drunk and rowdy (26%).

A quarter (24%) of people said vandalism, graffiti and criminal damage was a big problem, while 24% said teenagers hanging around were an issue, 13% said noisy neighbours were a big problem, and 8% said abandoned and burnt out cars were an issue.

The proportion of people across England and Wales who have experienced or witnessed anti-social behaviour has risen significantly in the past year, according to the latest figures from the CSEW.

In 2018, 37% said they experienced anti-social behaviour, up from 32% in 2017.

This was also the highest proportion since data collection started in 2012.

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At the same time, the proportion of people who think police and local councils are tackling the issue has dropped significantly.

The percentage of people who agree that they are has dropped from 60% in 2017 to 56% in 2018, while the proportion that disagree was up from 16% to 19%.

A report released by the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Baroness Newlove, on Monday (April 29) said victims of anti-social behaviour are being let down by police, local councils and housing providers, with many victims having to suffer in silence.

 

Baroness Newlove said at the launch: “Anti-social behaviour is often downplayed as a petty, ‘low-level’ crime.

“But put yourself in their shoes - to suffer from anti-social behaviour is an ordeal that causes misery, disturbs sleep, anxiety, work and relationships - leaving victims feeling unsafe and afraid in their own homes. It can feel like you are living a nightmare.

“I strongly believe if we crack down on anti-social behaviour, empower victims by informing them of their rights and give powers to police, councils and housing providers to investigate and take rigorous action, it can reduce anti-social behaviour and stop it spiralling into violence and worse.”

 

Police, local authorities and community agencies, such as social housing landlords, all have a responsibility to tackle anti-social behaviour by working together to help victims.

The report found victims being passed from one to another, leaving them feeling as if no one is listening.

The report also found many police forces, councils and Police and Crime Commissioners are not giving victims information about the statutory Community Trigger mechanism that can they can use to tackle repeated anti-social behaviour.

The Community Trigger means if victims meet a threshold (usually three separate incidents within a six-month period) they can seek to trigger a multi-agency review of their case that aims to resolve the anti-social behaviour.

Responding to the report, police and local government representatives said funding cuts were hitting their ability to tackle the problem.

A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Councils know people look to them to tackle the anti-social behaviour which can make a law-abiding resident’s life hell or blight an entire neighbourhood.

“It’s a role they take extremely seriously but one which is being made increasingly challenging as a result of losing 60p out of every £1 they had from government to spend on services in the past decade.”

 

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Anti-Social Behaviour, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, said the police were “only one part of the solution” and they were working with local authorities and other agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour.

He said: “Forces are under increasing strain as they deal with rising crime, demand that is more complex and a raised terror threat with fewer officers.

“Further long-term funding is needed and we are working with the Home Office and police and crime commissioners to make the case at the next spending review.”