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PCC tackles ASB in North Wales


05 April 2023
AD at desk

Preventing anti-social behaviour (ASB) in communities across North Wales is a key priority for North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Andy Dunbobbin. The issue forms a key part of his Police and Crime Plan for the region, which includes commitments to supporting victims and communities and to delivering safer neighbourhoods. Since being elected in 2021, the PCC has introduced several new and innovate measures to combat ASB and foster a safer North Wales for everyone.

The announcement by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP of a renewed focus on tackling ASB is an opportunity to shine a light on the good work already being done in North Wales to combat this issue, the reasons that lie behind it, and how we can prevent it happening in future. This issue has also been brought into further focus by recent action from North Wales Police in the granting of dispersal orders and discussion in social media and the press around incidents of ASB in communities in the region.

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. Examples of ASB can include vandalism, vehicle nuisance, street drinking and inappropriate behaviour by neighbours.

The PCC has made visits to areas affected by cases of ASB to learn first-hand how initiatives have been introduced to combat crime and look at what future measures can be put in place across North Wales, from Pwllheli, to Dolgellau, Prestatyn, Colwyn Bay, Ruthin and Wrexham. He has 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 Police and Community Trust, which helps to support local initiatives, such as sporting and social activities to keep young people occupied and out of trouble.

ASB in rural communities is a key concern for the PCC and the commissioning of a community engagement vehicle in rural communities – paid for in part by the Commissioner – has introduced new ways for the community to highlight concerns around ASB in areas outside of the main urban centres in a welcoming, friendly and private environment. The vehicle enables residents to report crime if they do not have access to a police station, or live away in a community without one nearby. The Commissioner has also recently met with local NFU and FUW leaders to discuss their concerns around nuisance behaviours affecting the farming communities.

In 2022, towns in North Wales benefitted from funding from the Home Office Safer Streets project, with a share of a £1.5m 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. Ongoing advertising campaigns in these communities are also sharing reassuring messaging and advice to residents, informing them the work being put into keeping their communities safe.

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 unstable lives. The announcement by the UK of a focus on restorative justice in ASB is already reflected in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan, with an emphasis on its expanded use and the opportunity for the victim to see justice being done, but also for the perpetrator to understand the harm they cause.

On a local level, the PCC has also met with community council representatives and community groups to discuss and help prevent ASB. Of late, the Commissioner has met Amlwch Town Council representatives to discuss ASB in industrial areas in the town, as well as local leaders in Prestatyn, Buckley, and the Conwy Valley. On a national level, the PCC also has an active presence in One Voice Wales – the national representative body for town and community councils – as well as the Safer Communities Board meetings. In addition, the Commissioner works closely with the other Police and Crime Commissioners, Chief Officers and leaders of the three other Welsh forces as part of the Policing in Wales forum, with the Welsh Government.

The PCC is also a staunch supporter of the ASB Awareness Campaign, pledging his support every year to the campaign encouraging communities to take a stand against ASB and highlight the actions that can be taken by those experiencing it.

North Wales Police & Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “Residents in North Wales have the right to feel secure in their communities and it is my aim to ensure that anti-social crime can be prevented as much as possible and that people who commit ASB are dealt with appropriately.

“My Police and Crime Plan details what I am doing to reduce ASB and I have worked closely with North Wales Police to help ensure that local community policing teams have a visible presence. We are fortunate to have many other projects in North Wales which have dealt with the root cause of ASB in their areas, many of which have been funded through my Your Community, Your Choice initiative.

“I take pride in the steps I have taken to this point in preventing ASB but I understand how many people who have experienced or witnessed ASB do not come forward and report it to the relevant authorities and I want this to change. It is important we are sighted of crime in your areas to ensure that we can take the appropriate action. I’d urge anyone who has a crime to report or any suspicions to report it to the police or CrimeStoppers.”

Find advice on what ASB is and how you can report it here:

Click here to read the Police & Crime Commissioner's policing priorities for North Wales: