ASB Awareness Week: Police Now officer successfully reduces crime in South Yorkshire
Anti-Social Behaviour Awareness Week
3rd - 9th July 2023
Police Constable Trudi Seager tells us how she has been proactively tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB) and drug-related criminality in Burngreave, including engaging with young people in the community and recently seizing £17k worth of Class A drugs following multiple complaints of ASB at a residential property.
Trudi joined South Yorkshire Police in 2021 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme. She tells us more about her work during Anti-Social Behaviour Awareness Week (3rd – 9th July), which aims to raise awareness of the impact of ASB and the work individuals are doing to address the issues in their communities. Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme work as neighbourhood police officers in communities across England and Wales to tackle deep-rooted problems and reduce ASB from the very start of their policing careers.
Trudi tells us more about her work below:
What do you do to tackle ASB in your neighbourhood policing role?
“As an officer on Burngreave Neighbourhood Policing Team, I work every day to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for residents in my community. Tackling ASB is a daily priority for the team.
“I have recently delivered several talks at a local school and a local Mosque about the impact of ASB on communities, with the aim of building positive relationships with young people in the community and educating them about the consequences of criminal activity. Not all ASB is linked to more serious crime, but it can become a gateway, so it is important that we proactively work with residents and external partners to address it quickly and ensure that young people don’t get drawn into a cycle of crime. Proactive engagement like this also helps increase our presence in the community, which is vital for building public confidence and reducing crime in the long-term.”
“Before joining the police service, I studied Spanish at the University of Sheffield. When I graduated, I looked for a job which would allow me to improve others’ lives and bring improvements to society. Being a Police Now officer and embedding myself in a community has been a fantastic way of doing this, through listening to the concerns of local people and reducing crime and ASB.”
Can you give an example of how you have reduced crime and ASB in your community?
“One case immediately comes to mind involving a flat in our neighbourhood of Burngreave that had become a persistent source of ASB, drug dealing and drug abuse. Nearby residents, including several young families, were becoming increasingly concerned due to the offenders persistently playing loud music, breaking windows, and behaving aggressively and many were too afraid to report the crimes to the police.
“The neighbourhood policing team and I established that we had grounds to conduct a search of the property, and subsequently arrested an individual in possession of over £17k worth of cocaine, who was immediately remanded in custody. Thanks to the casefile we collated against the offender – containing witness statements, body-worn camera footage, and forensics of the flat – he pleaded guilty to possession of Class A drugs and intent to supply and was sentenced to 3 years in prison earlier this year.
“The flat has since been seized by the council and no instances of ASB or drug dealing have been recorded from the premises. This successful case has had a huge impact on the community. As well as preventing thousands of pounds worth of drugs from being sold on our streets, we have improved the quality of life for those young families living in the neighbourhood and restored their trust in the police. ASB often occurs alongside other crimes, particularly drug offences, so it was important that we tackled both.”
What advice would you give to those affected by ASB?
“My main advice would be to report it to us. If you don’t report instances of ASB to the police, things will likely stay the same or escalate. Only if we know about a problem, can we make a real difference and change your neighbourhood for the better.
“Secondly, if you want to remain anonymous when reporting instances of ASB, you can. I often recommend that individuals who are reluctant to contact the police use Crimestoppers, as it offers an anonymous service, and we still take the reports seriously. When reporting through a 101/999 call you can also request to remain unnamed if you wish. Ultimately, we exist to protect the public and that’s exactly what we endeavour to do.”
Police Sergeant Ben Hall, Burngreave Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “The Burngreave community highlights ASB as being one of the main priorities they believe our team should focus on. The area has previously seen numerous reports of drug and alcohol related ASB affecting the lives of local residents and businesses, and this had to change. Trudi has been instrumental in tackling the issues raised by the community. Trudi’s enthusiasm and professionalism ensured that trust was built up with a community that has historically had little faith in the police, and this resulted in reporters coming forward who had previously refused to do so.
“This has led to intelligence-led planned operations that have been very successful in bringing some of the key offenders to justice and seen notable reductions in reported ASB and associated criminal activity.”