Posted: Thursday 16th June 2016
Column for the Leicester Mercury - June 2016:
With the election now behind us, my office is already getting down to work on the core issues that burden our local communities. One school of thought I’ve been particularly keen to address as your new Police and Crime Commissioner is the perception that low level crime is a minor problem.
I’ve already held many meetings with local councillors and the City Mayor to discuss the local issues in terms of policing and community safety. I know that all too often people living in Leicester suffer the distress and intimidation of anti-social behaviour and while an isolated incident might not in itself constitute a serious crime in terms of the law, its impact on an individual and their family can be devastating. Antisocial behaviour is a problem which affects all backgrounds and cultures - people have the right to enjoy where they live free from fear and harassment.
This has been highlighted recently by the problems encountered by residents living in Countesthorpe. A spate of anti-social behaviour incidents is affecting the quality of life of local residents and I’m determined that the tiny minority who commit these acts are stopped in their tracks and prevented from causing any more harm.
This isn’t just a police problem and clearly we need to work together with other organisations to deliver long-term solutions. I’ve already tasked the PCC’s Youth Commission to focus on Countesthorpe and am in discussion with local authorities across the force area to see what measures will be most effective. What is crucial is the need to address the lack of activity for young people across the whole area, as a means of prevention.
I’m very aware that anti-social behaviour is not exclusive to Countesthorpe. Perhaps it is partly a reflection of the underfunding of youth services and diversionary activities that provide a positive focus for young people’s attention. This is something that will be very challenging to overcome considering our finite budgets but there are clear advantages in putting our heads – and our resources – together.
In the meantime, it’s important to reiterate to everybody that you have a right to feel safe and enjoy your community. Please don’t suffer in silence; contact your local councillor, the local police or me if you’re worried about anti-social behaviour. This role enables me to drive change for the better and I’m determined to do it.
Lord Willy Bach
Police and Crime Commissioner