Our Community Safety Team work hard to deliver a fast, hands-on service to people in our communities.
Tackling all forms of antisocial behaviour, they help to sort out issues like hate crime, domestic abuse and violence, making sure that our neighbourhoods are safe places to live.
We wanted to get an idea of what goes on during a normal day in order to help keep the peace in our neighbourhoods, and so we spoke to Tom Guerin and Bev Turner who work on the Community Safety Team.
Tom – I’m an intervention and enforcement officer working in the Community Safety Team, the main part of the job for me is to deal with cases of ASD and use early intervention tools to make sure as few cases as possible go to court. We work in a wide environment of things, and a lot of the work is reactive.
Today for example I came into the office and worked through some ongoing cases, which are quite time consuming, and then I attended a visit with our Support and Wellbeing team to one of our residents. Quite often with antisocial behaviour there are support requirements and we do work closely with the SW team. After that I did three separate visits with the GM Police to investigate cases relating to drug dealing and noise complaints.
Bev – There’s a wide spectrum of cases, but nine times out of ten the case will involve mental health issues or drug abuse. Intoxicated people will do things that they wouldn’t normally if they’re sober.
One of the issues we’ve been dealing with recently is called cuckooing. Some of our neighbourhoods seem to have a large population of houses that are being taken over by drug dealers who’ll take advantage of vulnerable tenants and use their houses as the base for crime. So, what we have to do is offer support to the tenant being abused and help to get the legal action going.
We also deal with issues such as drug dealing, organised crime, money laundering, domestic abuse and other criminal activities. Communities are sometimes too scared to report behaviour, and so we have to work very closely with the police on cases to get the evidence we needed to take action.
Tom - Well my case load is usually between twenty and forty a week. I’d say maybe 20% of those will end up going to a legal stage, with some ending in repossession of the property. These cases are rare, but they do happen.
We have what is called a “harm centred approach” to all the cases we work on. This means that we do our best look at the bigger picture and be understanding of what issues each individual person might be dealing with. But if they are having a negative impact on the other families in their area, we do sometimes have to go down the enforcement route and take action, even though the individual might have mental health problems themselves.
Bev – There are very complex cases where people are suffering from mental health issues, and it’s often hard to work on these. Obviously, you can’t leave the community around them to suffer as a consequence of their behaviour, so we have to consider action. These are often linked in with drug and alcohol issues.
We link in with our own Support and Wellbeing Team, and the mental health team in Manchester to make sure that people get the help they need.
Tom – The Caretaking Team also have a good relationship with the people living in the blocks and have an understanding of the residents. A lot of the ASB issues do come from the tower blocks and so having Caretakers who have that strong relationship with the residents is very valuable.
Tom – From a personal point of view it’s very satisfying to get a positive result for people involved, after putting so much hard work in. But also, for the community, being able to stop whatever the problem may have been, it’s satisfying on their behalf to know we’ve helped.
Bev – Cases can be continuous for months, and when a case is finally resolved it is hugely satisfying to see somebody with possibly mental health issues, or other things in their life, receive the help they need.
If you need to report an instance of unreasonable or persistent noise, or antisocial behaviour in your neighbourhood, please call our Community Safety Team on 0330 355 1000. All contacts will be dealt with in a confidential manner and your identity will never be revealed without your consent.