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Operation respect on Wallsend highstreet

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Working with partners proving key to tackling anti-social behaviour in Wallsend

Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts, PR and media advisor

A housing association in the North East has been working closely with Northumbria Police and other partners to dramatically reduce anti-social behaviour.

These efforts by Home Group have been part of a wider Operation Respect project being ran in Wallsend, aimed at bringing together different key organisations to help improve the local area.

Partnering with the police allowed Home Group staff to be more proactive in tackling nuisance neighbours, being able to accompany police officers as they carried out door knocks and tried to stem anti-social behaviour before it escalated.

A week of action was carried out in May as part of Operation Respect, with plans for more of these weeks in the future.

That week culminated in a volunteering and engagement day, where staff from Home Group, the police force, and a number of other organisations including North Tyneside Council, Tyne and Wear Fire & Rescue Service, local schools and the local councillor were out on the streets of Wallsend making a difference.

Targeting an area of Wallsend where Home Group owns a lot of social housing, there were litter picks carried out to improve the back lanes. The local dog warden also accompanied the group, providing useful information and signage, as well as handing out fines when necessary to tackle dog fouling – a noted issue raised to the local councillor by the community.

A drop-in presence was also set up outside Wallsend’s town hall to provide information and support to residents who wanted it, from all of the partners involved on the day.

Aaron Vivian, a housing manager with Home Group who helped coordinate the housing association’s involvement in the project, said: “It was great to see. We had 11 or 12 colleagues from Home Group on the day, all volunteers and from all parts of our business.

Wallsend estate

“We were able to make a real difference on the day, and with the support of the police and others we could tackle a number of key issues that the local community were experiencing.

“I’ve since had a few phone calls from some of our customers who live in the area telling me how pleased they were and how good it was to see us out on the estate.”

David Simpson, Neighbourhood Inspector for Wallsend, praised the ongoing partnership work: “These initiatives are very important to ensure that we are fully immersed in our local neighbourhoods – meaning we can better serve our communities.

“It’s important not to undervalue to work of neighbourhood policing. We take ownership, have pride and belief, and understand the complexities of the work we are doing.

“We develop and maintain positive relationships with agencies and partners and it’s that bond which helps drive change.

“But we know a large part of that work is all about preventing crime from happening in the first place which is why it’s imperative we work with residents, so they have the confidence to keep coming forward and reporting crime and any concerns to us.

“We will continue to work alongside our colleagues to better understand the concerns residents in this area may have. By working together, we can continue to ensure this region remains a safe place to live and work.”

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