Community Protection Officers Keeping the Peace
In Nottingham, City Council enforcement teams have merged under the one service ‘Community Protection’. Senior Community Protection Officer Wayne Hobbs manages a team of 10 Community Protection Officers and there are similar functions across the entire conurbation – in all a 100 strong team covering the City. He gives us an insight into the work of these officers in keeping these communities peaceful – especially where there is a high density of lively students.
My area Canning Circus is a diverse and vibrant community. In Nottingham we are fortunate enough to have two fantastic Universities and each year we welcome a few thousand new students to our City. Due to the location of the Universities we have a high proportion of student accommodation, these are normally multi bedroom properties or HMOs. It wouldn’t be fair to say that every student will present challenges around ASB Noise but throughout our neighbourhoods we have HMO properties in close proximity to longer, fixed residencies. By nature of the two cultures, there are often many reported cases of late night ASB Noise, drunken behaviour and environmental concerns like waste management.
So how do we manage this and build a cohesive community? Much of what we do is in cooperation with the Universities. Our partnership consists of a ‘Halls to Homes’ strategy involving key messages of behaviour expectations once students move into our communities. We hold information stalls in and off campus, media campaigns using Facebook/Twitter and use shops and bars to promote our message. We know the transition into our communities can be challenging – for both students and residents.
Our residents are the bedrock of how we act and work. They’ve been in the community for years and have seen the transient student population come and go. Sadly in many cases they have been the victims of unacceptable ASB and so we have encouraged our residents to become part of the solution – To have their say on how we as a service should manage ASB. We are a citizen first service therefore we’ve built our intervention strategy around them.
The 2014 ASB Crime and Policing Act has radicalised how we manage ASB. If we find evidence that is persistent, unreasonable and detrimental we will start enforcement proceedings by issuing Community Protection Warning Notices. As a formal request to prohibit behaviours that are causing distress to those in the vicinity, the notices (sec 43) also provide us the opportunity to detail positive requirements such as prohibited from playing loud music or from producing noise via amplified speech. We have patrol plans on student calendar events, we patrol ASB hotspots/sensitive let areas challenging street drinking, on street noise and littering. We have a joint Police/CP late night ASB response vehicle. This service attends incidents across our City delivering a firm response to ASB and tangible respite for complainants.
As part of our offer we deliver updates to resident groups. We believe it’s important to feedback our findings to the people we serve, that may include how many Fixed Penalty Notices, CPNWs and alcohol surrendered. As the primary agency delivering ASB Noise/Environmental interventions we’ve been very successful, but still plenty of work to be done.
Follow us on Twitter @NttmCanningCPOs / @ASBNottingham