"Partnership between criminal justice agencies and community is key to addressing anti-social behaviour," say Inspectors
The effectiveness of using a partnership approach between statutory agencies as well as community and voluntary sector groups to address anti-social behaviour has been highlighted in a new report by Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland.
The follow-up review published today (Monday 27 June 2016) also found reasonable progress had been made against the 11 inspection recommendations.
"In the four years since the original inspection was published, levels of anti-social behaviour have steadily reduced. While we welcome this development, Inspectors recognise that for some communities, anti-social behaviour remains a substantial challenge which often comes to public attention when a larger, critical incident occurs," said Brendan McGuigan, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.
"With fewer police officers on the streets and the need to target their work towards areas of concern, this follow-up review shows the effectiveness and importance of a partnership approach to dealing with anti-social behaviour, where local communities are involved along with statutory agencies in addressing local issues and problems," he said.
The Chief Inspector indicated the review had found partnerships between criminal justice and non-criminal justice agencies and departments with community safety responsibilities were operating effectively in support of the Department of Justice's Community Safety Strategy.
"It is pleasing to note that this strategic recommendation has been achieved and it is important that this on-going commitment is maintained in the future," he said.
Mr McGuigan said he also welcomed the work undertaken by Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs), Reducing Offending Partnerships and Youth Engagement Clinics to ensure early interventions occurred, particularly where young people were involved in persistent or low-level offending behaviour.
However, the Chief Inspector stressed that it was important that work by PCSPs, to evaluate schemes aimed at addressing anti-social behaviour, be taken forward now that the 11 new Council Districts were in place.
"Given the financial pressures that currently exist, it is important that resources and public money are focused on the initiatives that are having the most impact and delivering the greatest return," he said.
In conclusion, Mr McGuigan said he supported the reduction in the number of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) being applied for and issued in relation to young people and the introduction of an automatic review every six months where ASBOs were granted against young people under 18 years.