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Residents unsure who to contact to deal with anti social behaviour

Dorset residents may sometimes contact the wrong agencies to deal with anti social behaviour, a survey into the issue has found.

The survey, run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Dorset over the summer, looked into local people’s experiences and perceptions of the problem, as well as their understanding of which organisation they should contact.

The results show some confusion in certain cases, with 50% of respondents saying they would contact the police if they had concerns about rowdy and noisy neighbours including loud music and late parties, while 45% said they would contact their local authority – the agency who are in fact responsible for this issue.

noisy neighbours holding late night party

Meanwhile, 45% said they would contact the council if they had concerns about begging, while 39% said they would contact the police – the correct agency in this case.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “While many anti social behaviour problems are the responsibility of the police, we know from national statistics that environmental issues such as noise and litter are a particular concern for Dorset residents.

“These of course are important issues which can have a terrible impact on people’s lives, but this survey shows residents are understandably confused by the mass of agencies dealing with anti social behaviour. There’s a huge challenge now for a wide range of organisations to work together and make sure we provide clear communication about who’s responsible for what.”

Almost 4,000 people responded to the survey, with around half providing comments – many referring to long standing frustrations concerning issues such as car parking, dog fouling, noise complaints and littering.

In-depth analysis is now being carried out into the survey results, and information about the findings will be made public once this work has taken place, while details will also be provided to Dorset Police as well as to other organisations with responsibility for tackling anti-social behaviour.

The OPCC is planning further activity to help communities tackle anti social behaviour, and understand the appropriate agencies to contact, with an announcement about this due to be made shortly.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “I’d like to thank the Dorset residents who took the time to share their views, and I want to reassure them that anti social behaviour is a major priority both for me and the Force, as I know it is for other agencies involved in this issue.

“The information they provided is being shared with the police and other organisations and will be used to plan future strategies to tackle the problem. However, in the much shorter term my own office will be carrying out some work aimed at helping people faced with these problems now, and I hope to be able to provide more details soon.”

Information about who to contact for a wide range of issues can be found on Dorset Police’s Ask NED, or non-emergency directory page.

Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “We are fully aware of the distress and upset that ASB causes to members of our communities and we are committed to working with our local authority partners to tackle the issue. We want to ensure that residents and visitors to Dorset feel safe and are able to enjoy their time here.

“The survey found that some residents are confused about the role each agency plays with regards to ASB and we will continue to raise awareness of who the public should contact with their concerns.

“There is not one simple solution to all anti-social behaviour problems. Each area across the county has its own individual plan that works closely with the respective local authority to reduce ASB. Examples include the ‘100 days of summer’ initiative Weymouth and the introduction of community safety accredited scheme officers at the bus station in Poole and in the town centre.”

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