BTB Lee Pelling One of the biggest areas of demand for the police and a subject which is emotive for the public is anti-social behaviour (ASB).

This can range from disputes with noisy neighbours to drug dealing going on in a residential street.

Although Wiltshire Police is often the first port of call for members of the public, it is the partnership work which goes on behind the scenes which is the most effective way of dealing with ASB.

Community Co-ordinator Lee Pelling, from Wiltshire West Community Policing Team, said: "We know that anti-social behaviour is something the public are concerned about and we get a huge amount of calls about this issue.

"Our job is to protect and support our communities and if people within our communities feel frightened or anxious in their own homes, or own neighbourhoods, then of course this is something which needs tackling.

"We fully understand that ASB can have a hugely detrimental impact on people's lives and that is why it is something we take seriously - although the public may not see the work that goes on behind the scenes.

"Sometimes it is a police matter, for instance if threats have been made or criminal damage has occurred.

"However, often the best way of resolving these types of issues is a partnership approach so we can get all the right agencies together, for example the local authority, housing association, Victim Support, and address it from all the different angles."

Laura Schell is a Community Safety Officer for Wiltshire Council and chairs the monthly Anti-social Behaviour Risk Assessment Conference (ASBRAC) meetings.

She said it was often the case that low-level ASB could be "nipped in the bud" quickly, if dealt with properly, before it became a bigger problem.

"The vast majority of our work is dealing with disputes between neighbours", she said. "This can often be something like loud music being played late at night.

"In the first instance we encourage people to simply talk to their neighbour. Often, a polite conversation can see a matter resolved fairly quickly.

"However, if that doesn't work then we need people to report it. Incidents need to be logged and specific details written down, so we have evidence of what is going on and can then issue a formal letter."

The ASBRAC meetings are then used to address ASB involving "high risk" victims, either those who are particularly vulnerable or where matters have escalated to become a serious problem within a community.

Laura said: "We want people to know that there is something that can be done about ASB. We will work with partners, including the police, to decide if criminal action can be taken, or if a civil approach is more suitable."

Jonathan Stiddard has been tackling anti-social behaviour for around ten years, having previously worked for the police and now for Wiltshire Council as a Public Protection Officer in Trowbridge.

Jonathan and his colleague Rowena Lansdown, who mainly works in the south of the county, have also been working with Wiltshire Police to implement residential closure orders on properties which have been used by drug dealers "cuckooing" vulnerable people.

Laura added: "Those closure orders are a perfect example of how a multi-agency approach works best, as we make sure substance misuse and housing support is available for the victims in those cases."

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