Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend has launched a county-wide survey on the impact and understanding of anti-social behaviour in Surrey.
It comes as the county’s partnership looks to boost the service that residents receive from the different agencies that are involved when they report an issue.
Getting tough on anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a key part of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan, that includes making sure people are protected from harm and feel safe.
The survey is an important way of making sure residents’ views remain at the heart of the work of the Commissioner and partners – while capturing a fresh picture of the problems that communities in Surrey are facing in 2023.
It will provide valuable data that will be used to hone services and raise crucial awareness of the different routes for reporting ASB and the support that is available to those affected.
It only takes a few minutes to fill in the survey and you can have your say now here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/GQZJN3/
Anti-social behaviour takes many forms, ranging from rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour to anti-social driving and criminal damage. It is tackled by the county’s ASB and Community Harm Reduction Partnership Delivery Group that includes the Commissioner’s office, Surrey County Council, Surrey Police, housing providers and various support charities.
Persistent ASB can significantly increase the risk to an individual’s health and is often connected with the bigger picture of community safety. For example, repeat ASB might indicate that ‘hidden’ crimes including abuse or drug use are taking place, or that a vulnerable individual is being targeted or exploited.
But reducing anti-social behaviour is complex and requires coordinated support from partners in areas such as housing, care, and mental health as well as policing.
Charity ASB Help are supporting the launch of the survey and will be working with the Commissioner’s office and Surrey Police to analyse the feedback in the spring.
In order to amplify the voice of victims, they’ll also be holding a series of face-to-face focus groups with victims of ASB, followed by an online consultation with community representatives. Individuals completing the survey can sign up to take part in one of three sessions that are planned to take place at the start of summer.
Commissioner Lisa Townsend said it was a topic that is regularly raised by residents in Surrey, but that ASB could not be ‘solved’ by police alone:
She said: “Anti-social behaviour is often described as a ‘low level’ crime but I don’t agree – it can have a lasting and devastating impact on people’s lives.
“I regularly hear from residents affected by ASB and they often feel there is no escape. It is happening where they are and may repeat weekly or even daily.
“What might seem like a small issue reported to one organisation, such an ongoing neighbourhood dispute, could also belie a cycle of harm that is hard to spot from a single viewpoint.
“Making sure our communities feel safe is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan for Surrey and I’m proud that we have a strong partnership tackling ASB in Surrey. By working together, we can see the bigger picture to reduce ASB in the longer term. But we can only do that by making sure we listen to victims and actively identify how to strengthen support including mediation or the Community Trigger Process.
“There is more to do. Your views are really important for us to be able to raise more awareness of the ways you can report different problems and access help.”
Harvinder Saimbhi, CEO at charity ASB Help said: “We are really pleased to be supporting the launch of the ASB survey across Surrey. Holding face-to-face focus groups really gives partner agencies an opportunity to hear directly from individuals about their experiences and the impact of ASB within their communities. This initiative will ensure victims are at the heart of the response to effectively tackling ASB.”
The online survey will run until Friday, 31 March.
Anyone affected by ASB in Surrey can find out which agency to contact for different problems at https://www.healthysurrey.org.uk/community-safety/asb/who-deals-with-it
Parking issues and people gathering socially are not forms of ASB. ASB that should be reported to the police includes criminal damage, drug use and antisocial drinking, begging or antisocial use of vehicles.
Support is available if you are affected by persistent ASB in Surrey. Visit the Mediation Surrey website for more information about mediation and coaching to resolve community, neighbourhood or family disputes.
Visit our Community Trigger page to find out what to do if you have reported the same problem on multiple occasions in a six month period, but have not received a response that resolves the issue.
Contact Surrey Police on 101, via Surrey Police social media channels or at surrey.police.uk. Always dial 999 in an emergency.