DESPITE lockdowns and restrictions to keep residents indoors during the Covid pandemic, anti-social behaviour (ASB) on the Isle of Wight has increased.
In figures revealed by the Island’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP), 2,438 ASB incidents happened between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 — an increase in 61 reports on the previous year.
It is still, however, a substantial decrease in incidents seen in 2018/19, which saw a marked increase.
Speaking about the potential causes of the increase, the CSP’s operations manager, Andrew Wheeler, said the police had launched an online reporting tool that made it easier to log incidents.
Hampshire Constabulary’s Chief Inspector, Steve Swift, said the focus was put on anybody who was moving around outside during lockdown and that it would have caught people’s attention.
Ch Insp Swift said: “Once certain restrictions had lifted, I think people’s focus had changed, they were more aware what was going on outside their windows, in the parks, in their streets.
“I am not concerned it is necessarily a worrying increase, possibly, it is just people are more aware at the time and it is something we will monitor.”
The police, in a multi-agency partnership, has been working on ‘Operation Wisteria’ following concerns raised by residents and Southern Housing Group about ASB and drug-related harm in Sandown and Shanklin.
The South Wight neighbourhood policing team searched three rooms and people at Sandham House, Sandown, and Butler Gardens, Shanklin, and completed more than 20 intervention risk assessments with vulnerable residents.
A 40-year-old woman was arrested at Butler Gardens, on suspicion of Class A drugs with intent to supply and resisting arrest. A large quantity of Class A drugs were also seized.
Working in partnership through its Joint Action Group (JAG) has seen the use of portable CCTV to help residents when there had been immediate concern for their safety, providing reassurance and deterring any potential issues.
Mr Wheeler said the JAG ensures it is a multiagency view, and it is not just down to the police to solve the problems, with work ongoing to look at some of the underlying causes of ASB and how those behaviours can change without using enforcement or the police.
The collaborative working between police, housing and the Isle of Wight Council also saw a number of earlier successes to tackle the ASB problems, including the issuing of three community protection notices and an ASB premises closure warning.