You need to have “old style community policing” to tackle anti social behaviour

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The district of Lenadoon in West Belfast, Northern Ireland is becoming a hotbed for anti-social behaviour. Complaints have surged from residents of late due to increased gang activity and noise disturbance in the evenings, particularly around the area’s eponymous park. The community are also frustrated by a lack of respect from the perpetrators who take joy in stealing litter bins and setting them alight.

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Unfortunately, the youths instigating such disturbances are not at home where they can be monitored and encouraged by their family to make better use of their free time. These issues plaguing Lenadoon were brought to the attention of local Councillor Tim Attwood, who believes anti-social behaviour is best eradicated through old school community policing.

This strategy involves proactive police work, in which officers operate closely with the public to highlight and solve issues within the neighbourhood. Proven successful in numerous countries, this method has become almost extinct in the UK, with the government now looking to volunteering as a result of cuts in funding.

As with any approach to tackling crime, community policing has its advantages and disadvantages. Critics believe that an increased police presence can antagonise citizens, although supporters argue that it in fact helps residents to feel safe and brings the community together.