A new partnership of key agencies has been commended for reducing visible anti-social behaviour and tackling substance misuse in Derby city centre.
In June last year (2017) a number of key agencies, led by Derby City Council and Derbyshire police formed the Partnership Engagement and Enforcement Programme (PEEP) in order to target resources towards an increase of anti-social behaviour in the city centre.
The partnership resources currently deployed include: city centre police officers, treatment providers, outreach workers; homeless charities, Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter BID Rangers , accommodation providers and the probation service.
Regular meetings between all involved identify those people involved in visible, on-street problematic substance misuse and antisocial behaviour in the city and refer them to the scheme.
Dr Richard Martin, Assistant Director of Public Health for Derby City Council, said:
“The premise of the PEEP is simple, those referred to the scheme can engage with drug and alcohol treatment services, receive medical help and support, access food provision, access emergency accommodation, engage with accommodation services (and be housed), comply with probation and stop committing antisocial behaviour and/or begging in the city centre.
If they do not to comply they face enforcement sanctions.”
Sergeant Jamie Millard is in charge of the Derby City Safer Neighbourhood Team, said:
“The problem of anti-social behaviour in the city centre has been widely reported over the last year and whilst we have been very pro-active in tackling the issue we have always said that enforcement alone would not be the answer.
“There are complex issues behind the behaviour being displayed. This scheme helps in the solution to these issues whilst giving a strong message to those involved that whilst they can access help, the anti-social behaviour that causes so much concern will not be tolerated.”
During the time of the PEEP 48 individuals have been targeted for some form of intervention of which 28 were confirmed as homeless or rough sleepers with issues of problematic substance misuse.
21 PEEP clients have entered drug and alcohol treatment services and 12 have sustained accommodation for 4 weeks or more and are no longer homeless.
Hardyal Dhindsa, Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire, has been pivotal to the partnership approach being used to tackle city centre problems. He said:
“These results provide welcome confirmation of the success of the work taking place to address anti-social behaviour and substance misuse in the city centre.
“Clearly there is more work to do, but I think the approach is working well. A lot of people have worked very hard to achieve this and I am proud of the part my office and I have played in that.”
Milestone House, is a 43 bed accommodation that offers a short term bed provision in the city. Lennie Miller, Milestone House manager, said:
“The ‘wrap around’ multi-agency provision of engagement for identified clients is working, the noticeable reduction in visibility in the City as well as the improvement in sustained accommodation that we are seeing at Milestone House provides clear evidence of the success of PEEP.”
Helen Wathall, chair of St Peters Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) and Managing Director of G Wathall & Son funeral directors in Macklin Street, said:
“The PEEP initiative is definitely reaping results and the feedback from businesses across St Peters Quarter is that incidences of anti-social behaviour are certainly improving.
“Our Rangers and businesses, through the Business Group programme, continue to be an important part of the partnership approach to this issue – working with the Police and other agencies to address problematic issues, incidences and individuals.
Cllr Martin Repton said:
“I’m really pleased with the progress of the PEEP. These are really complex issues that require a range of approaches and the group have done a great job and shown how working in partnership is a benefit to the whole city.”
Dr Martin concluded:
“The PEEP has been very effective but is not a soft option. It offers alternatives and help to those involved but with a clear message that enforcement will be taken if the illegal activity continues.
“A Derby High Court judge recently commended partners on the efficacy of the programme for reducing visible anti-social behaviour and tackling substance misuse in the city centre.”