By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
The pandemic has been linked to a big return of anti-social behaviour across Newark and Sherwood, with hundreds more incidents recorded while the area was in lockdown.
Concerns have been raised about the rising trend by councillors at Newark and Sherwood District Council.
Incidents include excessive noise, damage to properties, graffiti, threats of violence, rubbish dumping, dog fouling and unruly behaviour due to alcohol and drug use.
There were 2,180 reports in 2020/21 compared with 1,759 in 2019/20.
Matthew Finch, director of communities and environment at the council, said: “Prior to the pandemic the trend for anti-social behaviour (ASB) was a decreasing figure with each year showing a decline in the number of reported cases.
“The impact of the pandemic has resulted in an increase in ASB. The increase in ASB over the past two years is not a Newark and Sherwood phenomenon but is a picture that is repeated across the county.
“The percentage increase across the Nottinghamshire force for the past 12 months is 18 per cent and a neighbouring authority to Newark and Sherwood has seen an increase of 33 per cent.
“Whilst there are very apparent reasons for the increase in ASB across Newark and Sherwood this should not detract from an ambition to reduce ASB back to the pre-Covid levels.”
The council is set to discuss some of the measures that are being taken at a Homes and Communities Committee on Monday, January 24.
The council says the police now has a dedicated team deployed to respond to reports of ASB. This has now been in place for a number of months.
It has been deployed to known ASB hotspots as well as acting as a response team to catch perpetrators in the act.
The council’s anti-social behaviour team has also worked in hotspots including Newark town centre, Church Gardens, Hawtonville, Balderton, Fernwood and Boughton.
The ASB seen in these areas includes youths gathering, wildlife crime, low-level vandalism and general neighbourhood disruption.
It has also worked to combat criminal activity in the Hawtonville area in response to concerns raised by the local community and businesses.
Mr Finch said: “The behaviour included reports received of youths causing issues such as throwing bricks and eggs, shouting abuse at people, shoplifting and kicking doors.
“Dispersal powers have been used to deal with people causing issues, enabling police to order those people to leave the area and not return for up to 24 hours.
“There were 16 people issued with Acceptable Behaviour Contracts. These contracts specify prohibited acts and the consequences of any breaches.”
The ASB team has also worked with the police to address serious crime and disorder in Boughton including individuals involved in incidents of violence, weapons and drugs.