Joint pledge to tackle Durham anti-social behaviour

Bernicia has signed a pledge to continue working with the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, Durham County Council and other housing associations to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Their commitment is in response to a plan developed by Durham PCC Joy Allen following feedback from more than 1,200 County Durham residents last year.

Among the plan’s priorities are improvements to how residents can report crime, better crime prevention advice in communities and enhanced measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, including support for victims.

Other actions laid out in the plan include addressing key themes such as speeding and off-road vehicles, using established partnerships for local problem solving and freeing up communication lines so that agencies and residents can feed in ‘soft intelligence’ to the police.

Joy Allen said: “I’m delighted to sign this pledge and will continue to build on the office’s strong working relationship with the county council and our local housing associations.

“Keeping our communities safe is at the heart of what we do and our new plan will improve communication and collaboration between the police, the county council, our registered housing providers and residents.”

The pledge states that: “Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, Durham County Council and Housing Associations working in the county will continue to work together to put those affected by anti-social behaviour first. We will promote awareness, make reporting easier and set out who we are, what we do and the service those affected by anti-social behaviour can expect. As partners we will share intelligence, promote joint working and maximise the impact we can have collectively on community safety within County Durham.”

The other signatories were Alan Boddy, Chief Executive of Livin; Bill Fullen, Chief Executive of Believe Housing; Jo Ray, Executive Director of Customer Services at Karbon Homes; John Johnston, Chief Executive of Bernicia and Adam Clarke, Executive Director of Customers at North Star Housing.

John Johnston, Bernicia Chief Executive, said: “It’s vitally important that tenants’ voices are heard and their feedback acted upon to successfully tackle anti-social behaviour.

“Building upon the links we have by committing to this pledge will help us improve the quality of people’s lives and create the communities they want to live in.”

Alan Boddy, Chief Executive at Livin said: “At Livin we are continuously working to ensure our local communities and neighbourhoods are thriving, safe places that people feel settled in, are proud of and want to live in.

“It is vital that we continue to work alongside our tenants, the Police, Durham PCC and Durham County Council to stamp out issues and take swift action against anti-social behaviour that we know has a detrimental effect on peoples’ lives.

“We are delighted to affirm this commitment with housing associations from across the area and are looking forward to sharing our local intelligence to collectively find solutions to tackle anti-social behaviour.”

Bill Fullen, Chief Executive at Believe Housing, said: “Everyone should feel safe and comfortable in their home and community, which is why believe housing works with organisations across the region to help protect and enhance the neighbourhoods we serve and to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“We were keen to solidify those partnerships, by signing the pledge, which will ensure we all work together to get the best outcomes for those places and people affected by this blight on society.”

Jo Ray, Executive Director of Customer Service at Karbon Homes, said: “Shaping strong, sustainable places and helping communities thrive is about more than just putting roofs over people’s heads. It’s about making sure they feel safe and happy where they live and have access to the support they need should a problem arise.

“We hope that signing this pledge and joining forces with fellow housing associations in the region, Durham Police, and Durham County Council, will show just how serious our commitment to tackling and resolving issues of anti-social behaviour in our neighbourhoods is. By working together we can make an even greater difference.”

Adam Clark, Executive Direct of Customers at North Star Housing, said: “We want our customers to thrive at home and in their community. Feeling safe is fundamental to this.

“Through the homes which we provide, housing associations are a crucial part of the fabric of communities. Anti-social behaviour can ruin great places and peoples lives, so this requires a robust response. Through this pledge, we’re committed to working together with communities to ensure this region is a place where people feel safe and can continue to thrive.”

The pledge signing follows a meeting last October which looked at joint working and how to take the PCC’s plan forward. At the meeting the Commissioner invited registered providers of social housing to meet with her in local communities to discuss localised issues and demonstrate police initiatives being implemented to deal with anti-social behaviour.

She also noted an opportunity to extend collaborative working to Darlington Borough Council as part of a potential separate meeting involving Teesside’s registered providers.

(John Johnston is pictured with Joy Allen)