Cleaning up the streets
Recent examples of Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) highlight how the Council is tackling the most persistent public menaces in the borough. Meanwhile, initiatives to clean up the streets are proving a success as landowners are persuaded to tidy up disused land; the Council takes on local vandals and paints over more and more unwanted graffiti.
On top of its PCSOs and its Safer Surer initiatives, the Council is increasingly using ASBOs, alongside other measures such as Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs), as a way of clamping down on persistent troublemakers and public menaces.
Case study 1
Together with the Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) and police, the Royal Borough secured an Anti-social Behaviour Order against a 17-year-old serial offender, who wreaked havoc at Council hostel accommodation. The ASBO remains in force for two years and prohibits the youth from committing any anti-social behaviour in the borough.
Housing Officers stated that this was the worst case of anti-social behaviour experienced at a hostel, discounting crack problems. Since the youth moved into the hostel in November 2003, damage included attempted arson, smashed bottles, damaged windows and doors, discarded drug paraphernalia and other acts of vandalism. Noise nuisance has also been a persistent problem, and the offender's intimidating behaviour meant that witnesses have been reluctant to come forward.
The case is the first to be served on behalf of the TMO and demonstrates an increasing use of ASBOs in the Royal Borough.
ASBOs have proved particularly useful as they can ban known offenders from entering certain parts of the borough, in the same way as exclusion orders. Interestingly though, because it is a civil order (not a criminal one) it can also take previous convictions into account. The orders exist to protect the public from behaviour that has caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Case study 2
In a bold ground-breaking step, police from Kensington and Chelsea secured an
ASBO against a career burglar preventing him from entering hotel or guesthouse premises anywhere in Greater London for ten years. This is the first such use of an ASBO, which was issued as John Warren was convicted for four and a half years for a string of burglaries. Warren has numerous previous convictions for similar offences. This means that on release from prison, he will be banned from entering any hotel, guesthouse or bed and breakfast in Greater London. Should he breach the ASBO terms, he will return to prison. This is a good example of how ASBOs can be used to protect the public, not just in their homes, but with careful thought, almost anywhere where somebody might commit crime or disorder.
Efforts to remove graffiti, litter, fly-posting and to persuade local landowners to tidy up disused land have had unforeseen benefits for the community, says the Council. Cleaning up chewing gum and stamping out graffiti, it seems, do restore pride in the community.
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The Council's 'Cleaner Greener' initiative aims to build closer partnerships with local landholders; to encourage clean-up efforts; and to think imaginatively about what can be done to enhance and maintain the borough to a higher standard.
In partnership with local landlords, graffiti has been removed, fly-tippers have been tackled, and general anti-social behaviour has been targeted head on. Councillors have hit the streets personally in a bid to understand the problems.
Cleaner Greener held one such walkabout in Golborne ward in April. Some real progress was made, with the Council working with TRANSCO to clear up some waste land close to Ladbroke Grove. As of early April, the entire site has been completely cleared of rubbish and overgrown shrubbery.
Headed by Cllr Nick Paget-Brown, the next walkabout is planned in the summer of 2004.
In tandom with Cleaner Greener, the Council offers a free graffiti removal service to residents and businesses. On average, 200 sites are cleared every month from private property, while Council property and street furniture is also targeted.
Talks and workshops are given in schools and the Council is currently producing a teaching pack called 'Graffiti and your Environment'. Diversionary art projects with local youth groups are also in operation, such as mural and mosaic projects. One such project last summer, at the World's End Estate in Chelsea, proved particularly popular with youngsters - and has led to the production of a stainless steel sculpture for the main playground area.
While owner-occupiers are encouraged to remove graffiti themselves the Council does provide 'Anti Graffiti' packs, which
contain environmentally friendly graffiti removal products.
If you have a graffiti problem, you can contact the Planning and Conservation team on 020 7361 3235 or email
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While many of us may feel that we have experienced the damaging effects of
antisocial behaviour it is difficult to capture and define. It certainly
includes graffiti and vandalism, aggressive begging and street drinking, but
what for example about a group of youths just hanging around. Though boisterous,
the group may not intend any harm but even so, it may be making people anxious;
one or two vulnerable people might even become afraid to go out when the youths
Is this antisocial behaviour? What is? Let us know your views and your
experience of antisocial behaviour. It could help us to develop both a more
workable definition and map the problem across the borough. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.