Reclaim the street: we’ve helped take back a Lincoln neighbourhood
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A street in a residential area of Lincoln has been “reclaimed” by its community after five problem households responsible for anti-social behaviour, violent disorder, and drug dealing were removed thanks to local police and housing officers.
In just 12 months, the households in question had been responsible for 123 calls for service to the police.
Incidents varied from low-level anti-social behaviour such as noise complaints and intimidating behaviour from youths and adults, to drug dealing, and violent disorder with weapons.
Feedback to officers from local residents was that they felt fear from the households which were being disruptive.
That community was looking to us to take action. So we did.
Inspector Ian Richardson from the Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "We quickly realised that this was both a civil and a policing matter – and we needed to work closely with the City of Lincoln Council’s housing team to bring the street under control.
"We know from experience that the police and local authorities can use different powers to solve problems like this, which was an important tactic because both of those sets of powers together meant there were solid cases to move the households along.
Part of the job was working out exactly which properties were causing the issues in that street. People were scared and they didn’t want to be the ones who spoke out, but we managed to build trust through regular visits and conversations to build our intelligence picture. We worked with the housing officers to identify who the tenants were, and understand what other concerns had been raised. Following further investigation, it transpired that one person whose name was on a tenancy agreement was no longer living at the property, and the address had been taken over by local drug dealers."
Officers used the policing powers called a Section 8 notice, which provide a public warning through a poster displayed at the property that it is being monitored and illegal activity will not be tolerated. These notices also give police and housing more powers to deal with problematic properties linked with drugs. This was used alongside an abandonment notice from the council. Within a few weeks, the property was secured and the tenant formally evicted, and since then, there have been no further calls to this location.
On other occasions, we executed warrants at various addresses, and reports from officers to the local authority on conditions inside- for example significant damage to the property – helped strengthen the case for removal by the local authority. In some cases, windows were smashed, internal walls damaged, and detritus which attracted rodents and provided poor living conditions were found. In a few of the incidents, we also made referrals to child protective services.
The success in dealing with the issues faced by the local community was a result of the strong working relationship between the local Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) and housing officers at the City of Lincoln Council who wanted to turn the street around so residents could enjoy – and feel safe – in their neighbourhood.
Inspector Richardson added: "Neighbourhood Policing is about problem solving, and this is exactly what we did. Not all the issues were criminal matters, but we know that some behaviours can bring with them other types of offending, so by working with our partner agencies we were able to come up with solutions to remove the problem element from the street. This is in depth, and lengthy work."
The households were moved to other locations around the country or county. Each went to a different place.
Cllr Donald Nannestad, Portfolio Holder for Quality Housing at City of Lincoln Council said: "We are pleased to have seen a positive outcome from this work with our partners at Lincolnshire Police. Building thriving communities is one of our main objectives as a city council and partnering with organisations such as Lincolnshire Police to reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity is a key step in doing this. We will continue to work with colleagues to tackle this and ensure residents and visitors to our city feel safe."
We are not naming the specific street and location because we cannot identify the people who have been moved on from their properties, and we need to protect the new residents while they make it their home.
But we wanted to share this with the public to give them a clearer understanding of the work our Neighbourhood Policing Teams and housing officer partners at the City of Lincoln Council do on their behalf, which goes largely unseen.
If you have an issue in your neighbourhood, we would encourage you to report it to us, or the council.