Increase in anti-social behaviour calls in East Renfrewshire during lockdown

Anti-social behaviour calls to Police Scotland more than doubled in East Renfrewshire during lockdown.

There were 1152 calls between the start of April and the end of June this year, compared to 549 during the same period in 2019.

The figures, which also reveal crimes of vandalism fell from 103 to 88, are being presented to East Renfrewshire Council this week.

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Many calls have been made due to non-compliance with coronavirus guidance, such as house parties and large gatherings.

In a report to councillors, Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren stated: “Reducing anti-social behaviour remains a community priority and we continue to focus efforts on preventing disorder.

“Whilst the number of ASB calls have more than doubled it is important to note that a large volume of calls were made to the police in relation to non-compliance with Scottish Government legislation and guidance on coronavirus.

“These reports included people not socially distancing, holding parties within houses and gardens, and large groups gathering in parks and open spaces.

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“However, there were increased reports of antisocial behaviour and disorder across the area. These reports became more prevalent as ‘lockdown’ eased.”

Ms Hendren stated the force had “enhanced” its disorder action plan, with a focus on parks and open spaces across East Renfrewshire.

“We also ensured that our patrol plan included built up areas,” she added.

The Chief Superintendent said policing has had to adapt due to the pandemic.

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“We did this to protect the communities that we work within and to protect our own staff to ensure that we had sufficient resources available to respond to any incidents reported.

“Our teams adapted quickly, and I am pleased to report that the morale of our teams remained high despite the challenges that were presented.”

Policing teams aimed to maintain a high visibility across East Renfrewshire to “reassure the public”.

“Our policing style in response to coronavirus legislation has been centred on the 4Es – Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce,” Ms Hendren added.

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“This approach has worked well in East Renfrewshire where compliance has generally been high with a relatively small number of offences detected.

“We have continued with this approach as ‘lockdown’ has eased and remain committed to keeping our communities safe and working with partners to continue to deliver the best public service possible.”

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