ESSEX POLICE HAS been ranked at the bottom of the league in tackling anti-social behaviour according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Essex police was named as the worst performer in tacking anti-social behaviour, followed by the Metropolitan police, Gwent and Wiltshire,
Around the country, more than a third of victims of anti-social behaviour find that reporting the problem to police makes no difference, according to HMIC.
The official review of how police forces in England and Wales deal with yobbish behaviour found the figure was even higher for vulnerable and repeat victims, at 45 per cent, and that one in 10 people from this group would not bother reporting it to police in future.
The watchdog has previously warned that forces must improve the way they deal with anti-social behaviour to avoid repeating the case of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her 18 year-old daughter Francecca after Leicester police failed to investigate the years of torment they endured.
According to the largest ever study of its kind, which interviewed 10,000 victims about their satisfaction with the police response, vulnerable victims such as the disabled, elderly and less wealthy, are less likely to be satisfied with the police, if they have been repeatedly targeted.
Only half of this group, who had called police at least 10 times over a year, said they were happy with the way police handled their case. Across all types of victims the figure was 63 per cent.
The report found that victims who had been told about police actions as a result of their complaint – regardless of what the police exactly did – were more likely to say they were satisfied.
Restorative justice schemes, such as those which makes offenders meet their victims and apologise, usually led to higher levels of satisfaction, the study found.
Lancashire was named the best-performing force in the report, followed by West Mercia.
The authors made a number of recommendations including improved training for call handlers to detect vulnerable victims so police responses can be tailored appropriately, and also stressed the importance of keeping people informed about the progress of their case.
A spokesperson for Essex Police said:
“Essex Police recognises anti-social behaviour (ASB) can be a major issue and we have continued to develop our response since the original HMIC inspection in January 2012.
This latest report, which is a snapshot based on data from four weeks in 2011, has identified some interesting findings in relation to the police response to ASB and the feelings of victim.
Most of this learning has already been incorporated into the way the Force treats victims and handles reports.
Chief Superintendent Sean O’Callaghan said: “We have undertaken a significant amount of work regarding how we respond to ASB since the publication of the HMIC report in 2012.
“We have been working closely with our partners to significantly improve our response to incidents, and HMIC staff were involved in the development of our new procedures.
“Our approach to dealing with ASB is now, very much, victim based and focussed on areas of vulnerability and repeat occurrences.
“We have recognised that there was work to be done and best practise, identified nationally, now sits at the heart of our revised procedures for dealing with anti-social behaviour.
“Dealing effectively with repeat and vulnerable victims of ASB is a high priority, due to the impact it has on people’s lives. We are committed to getting that right and the analysis in this latest report backs up the steps we have taken.
“But it is also important to remember that the police cannot solve anti-social behaviour issues on their own. Over the last two years we have worked very closely with local councils, housing providers and communities to improve the way we all deal with anti-social behaviour and this work will continue.”
Essex Police has already seen improvements on ASB with an 8.5 per cent reduction in reports between April 2012 and February 2013. The most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales also shows a rise in the number of people in Essex who are confident in how the police and local councils deal with ASB.