A SPIKE in antisocial behaviour across the town in recent months – which has seen yobs start dozens of fires on parched fields – has resulted in Barnsley’s local policing teams vowing to crack down on issues.
An awareness week, which ends today, has been running thanks to South Yorkshire Police and Resolve – a community safety organisation – and both have called on locals to continue reporting their concerns.
Having been backed by Barnsley-based officers at hubs in the town centre, Goldthorpe, Royston, Cudworth and Penistone, support has also been given by the council and fire service.
A perceived ‘lack of action’ relating to antisocial behaviour from angered locals – due to perpetrators not being charged for their actions, they claim – needs to be put right, according to Resolve.
Chief executive Rebecca Bryant said: “Antisocial behaviour is not a low-level crime – it can have long-lasting impacts on victims’ lives and communities.
“It can be a precursor to more serious crime, so it’s important antisocial behaviour is treated as a priority so that people feel safe.
“We’re delighted South Yorkshire Police supported the campaign as it’s vital we develop partnership approaches across communities to deal with growing challenges.”
Given the majority of those alleged to be responsible for recent issues in Barnsley are reportedly young teens, police have dealt with identified offenders via a warning letter or a ‘section 35’ order, which effectively bans them from the area where an incident has occurred.
However, given the size of gangs seen causing chaos, it’s proven difficult for police to find those congregating in communities which has resulted in fires and bus shelters being smashed during the last two weeks.
Chief Inspector John Mallows, South Yorkshire Police’s force lead for antisocial behaviour and criminal damage, added: “We would love people to feel they are in a better position to understand how to go about seeking help should they need it.
“A better-informed community is a safer one as they can help each other to combat issues and correctly report them to the organisations that need to know, whether that be us or one of our partners.
“If you have any issues concerning you in your area, please see the police’s website for details on who your local officers are and how to either contact them directly or join them at various community events.
“By speaking to us and telling us what is going on in your area it puts us in the best position to clamp down on issues.
“We hope this week will help people become more confident in coming to us, or one of our partner agencies such as local authorities, with any issues they are experiencing so we can tackle them.”