Here’s how Burnley police are clamping down on antisocial behaviour in the town centre
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Officers patrol the area nightly to deal with unruly youths causing nuisance.
The Burnley Neighbourhood Policing Team targets ASB hotspots, namely McDonald’s, Charter Walk, Burnley Bus Station and Tesco Extra in Finsley Gate.
Here is everything you need to know about the scale of antisocial behaviour in the town centre and how the force is helping to make it feel safer:
What is the Burnley Neighbourhood Policing Team?
The team is led by Sergeant Oliver Tattersley and works with multiple partners to tackle anti-social behaviour, its current priority.
What types of antisocial behaviour are officers dealing with - and how bad is it?
Two PCSOs, who would like to remain anonymous, say children as young as 10-years-old up to 16 have been engaging in unruly behaviour in big groups.
Levels peaked last March, with officers dealing with nuisance behaviour and criminal damage in the town centre most evenings.
Other ongoing issues include shoplifting, verbal abuse to shoppers and staff, riding bikes into stores, and smoking e-cigs in the bus station and McDonald’s.
One PCSO said: “It’s intimidating for people.
“In Charter Walk, you get more criminal damage, like graffiti or damaging the ticket machines. Shoplifting increases and falls but we’re expecting to see an increase now we’re coming up to Christmas.
“Staff [at the bus station] ask youths to leave for smoking e-cigs and they sometimes become abusive. There is a lot of CCTV and a radio system there so that staff can flag incidents to police patrolling the town centre.”
Commenting on the impact on shops and customers, the PCSO added: “From speaking to businesses, we know that they worry about security, and when youths are in a big gang they feel intimidated. Criminal damage also has a financial impact on businesses.”
How do police deal with youths who engage in antisocial behaviour?
Officers say antisocial behaviour levels have decreased since March following engagement work with youths, schools, parents, and other key partners.
Police teamed up with Burnley Leisure, for example, to engage youngsters taking part in clubs and activities during the summer holidays.
A PCSO said: “There is quite a lot of stuff available for them.
“We’ve been building a relationship with them - we know a lot of their faces - which is really important. We try to help them understand [the impact of their behaviour on other people], and we’ll visit their home to see what their home life is like.
“I’ve got numbers for the mums of a couple of kids causing issues and I’ll ring them and say, ‘Can you pick them up because they’re causing trouble in the town centre?’”
What happens to repeat offenders?
Police say they often work with a repeat offender’s school or refer them to partners like social services, the Youth Offending Team or Burnley FC in the Community. They can also work with partners and parents to help ban a child from Charter Walk.
To report antisocial behaviour, call the police on 101.