Blog: Antisocial Behaviour Awareness Week

20th July 2022

Antisocial Behaviour Awareness Week is an important time for us to shine a spotlight on ASB and highlight the impact that it has on individual victims and our communities.

It is also an opportune time for reflection, allowing us to look at how we can improve our practices, work together better and to consider what our primary concerns are now and what emergent trends we can see coming in the future.

Left unaddressed, ASB is corrosive to communities; it can undermine feelings of safety and wellbeing and create entrenched issues that can be incredibly difficult to resolve with success.

We also know that ASB is often a pre-cursor or indicator for other offences which can result in significant harm, such as serious violence and organised crime.

That is why I have made a firm commitment to reduce anti-social behaviour in my new Police and Crime Plan. I strongly believe that if we are to make real inroads in tackling ASB, we need to place it front and centre in our organisational strategies and performance objectives.

Across agencies in Wales, I believe we have a shared understanding of the importance of addressing ASB.

At a national level, I know Welsh Government are keen to ensure we have consistency and cohesion in our approach to ASB in Wales. The Wales Safer Communities Network is vital in helping us to achieve this and I commend the work it has been doing since it was established in January 2021.

The last two years have presented significant challenges for both our communities and services. During this time, we have seen a rise in ASB linked to the pandemic, the effects of which are still with us today.

Young people have been particularly affected by the fallout of Covid-19. Public health restrictions, though necessary, introduced significant disruptions through school closures that impacted both their learning and development.

For young people at risk of engaging in ASB and criminality, or those who were already actively involved in it, lockdowns limited the degree to which services could get involved in their lives and offer support.

Ultimately, prevention opportunities were missed and behaviours already of concern escalated and became further entrenched.

As with Covid, the current cost of living crisis is also going to have a widespread impact on society, and we should expect to see this manifest in increased ASB and threats to community safety.  

These seismic and incredibly challenging events are fertile ground for serious violence and organised crime, and young people already involved in ASB are particularly vulnerable to being drawn in.

Partnership working is always incredibly important to tackling ASB effectively, but it is essential when dealing with young people.

Police, local authorities and the third sector all have important roles to play in tackling ASB and protecting young people from becoming engaged in serious violence and organised crime.

While we must manage and reduce the impact of ASB on victims and our communities, we must also seek to address the underlying causes that can lead people to commit ASB, serious violence and organised crime.

Intervention and prevention are crucial if we are to achieve lasting results. I have followed this principle as Police and Crime Commissioner by investing in diversionary services that seek to pull young people away from ASB and other more serious offending. I can attest to the positive outcomes we have seen through the work of these services.

While we do face significant and sizeable challenges with ASB in Wales, I firmly believe that our approach to partnership working and shared commitment to tackling the issue places us in a strong position to protect and serve our communities for the future.