Antisocial behaviour: here's how Burnley BID is helping to make the town centre feel safer
A group of Burnley businesses are helping to fight against antisocial behaviour in the town centre.
Unruly youths have been assaulting each other, committing vandalism and damaging property in Charter Walk, Burnley Bus Station and St James’ Street since the end of lockdown, with nuisance behaviour peaking around December to March, according to Burnley BID.
Several businesses have been working with the police and the Space Youth Bus to help keep children out of trouble, says Andrew Dean, Burnley BID project manager.
The team is also introducing new measures to help make the area feel safer.
Here is everything you need to know about the scale of the issue and what Burnley BID is doing to help reduce ASB:
What is the Burnley Business Improvement District (BID)?
Burnley BID is a group of businesses helping to improve the town centre, including representatives from Primark, McDonald’s, Burnley Market, Lancashire Police, Burnley Borough Council and Charter Walk Shopping Centre.
Why have people been committing antisocial behaviour since lockdown?
Andrew said: “In my 10 years [in the job], I’ve never seen it that bad. They have no respect for the police. Kids push boundaries, and they were pushing them but not finding any.
"I think a lot of it has been a cry for help. We had a whole year of youths and adults not getting the support [during lockdown] that they would usually get. When they were out of the school system, they were not being referred to social workers or support agencies.
“When we came out of lockdown, we had a generation of adults and children who had been lost out of the system, so we had a lot of work to do to find out what support they needed.
“We built up relationships and heard a whole spectrum of life stories that were really tragic.
“Many youths were just coming down to the town centre because it felt safer than going to park but then they were in the orbit of other kids who were out of control and didn’t want to engage with support.”
How has ASB at Burnley Bus Station been handled?
Burnley BID helped fund the Space Youth Bus to provide support and activities at the bottom of Manchester Road and the bus station once a week from around December to March.
At least two social workers were engaging with youths nightly by the end, Andrew reveals. Meanwhile, the bus station has reduced its opening hours.
Youths who weren’t engaging were reported to the police and many were arrested.
What new measures are being funded by Burnley BID - and when will they be in place?
A new radio system will be introduced around February to complement the current CCTV system and DISC app in order to help town centre businesses “suffering in silence” report lower level ASB to the police. DISC allows businesses to tell each other about offenders via instant messenger, and build up evidence.
A crime reduction coordinator will patrol St James’ Street and recommend safety measures to police. They will operate from around February.
Burnley BID is also working with Calico to set up a temporary youth zone in a Charter Walk shop. It will be a holding place for the new larger Youth Zone being created.
To report antisocial behaviour, call the police on 101.