The London Borough of Merton’s lead in tackling issues around anti-social behaviour has proved successful, with the council recently used as a case study in a Local Government Association (LGA) briefing.
Titled ‘Sustainable Solutions to Anti-Social Behaviour’, the LGA document explains the importance in developing drug programmes for their ability to tackle a key trigger for crime and anti-social behaviour.
Merton’s Housing and Social Services Department worked together with the Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) and the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership to create Merton Youth Awareness Programme (YAP).
Ongoing work by DAAT entailed tackling concerns from residents about young people, drug use and anti-social behaviour. An outreach team from Merton YAP was then deployed to identify levels of drug use in particular young people.
Referrals to counselling were made for young people with substance misuse issues while others were assisted in issue-based video work.
Police have since been successful in enforcement action against an adult drug-using prolific offender in the borough. Since then, complaints from local residents have fallen dramatically.
Councillor Andy Coles, Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Care Services said:
“This case study and others enabled the LGA to come to conclude that an integrated personalised approach is essential and because of their contact with local communities, local councils are best placed to take a strategic role in tackling this behaviour.
“Being recognised in this document is a positive indication of the work the council and its partners are doing in combating anti-social behaviour. The involvement of staff is appreciated.”