A multi-agency initiative to tackle anti-social behaviour and drug dealing in Hemlington by closing problem footpaths is proving a success.
The project has seen housing association Thirteen and partner agencies, including Middlesbrough Council, Cleveland Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, come together to address concerns about anti-social behaviour and drug dealing under ‘flying bedrooms’ on the estate. Since then, around 19 footpaths have been closed across the estate.
‘Flying bedrooms’ are where an upper-level room, such as a bedroom, extends over a shared footpath.
Due to their design and layout, they were a magnet for crime and anti-social behaviour. Closing the footpaths underneath has allowed Thirteen to extend some customers' gardens and transform the space.
This initiative was made possible with funding from Thirteen and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner using the Home Offices Safer Streets 4 Fund.
The Safer Streets Fund is a £75 million Home Office programme that encourages Police, Crime Commissioners and local authorities to bid for investment initiatives to prevent neighbourhood crime across England and Wales.
Angela Corner, Thirteen’s Head of Community Resilience, said: “This is a fantastic example of partnership working.
“We’ve listened to residents in Hemlington, acted on their concerns around anti-social behaviour beneath the ‘flying bedrooms’, and worked with partners to arrange their closure.
“We’ve had some great reactions from customers, which demonstrates that these closures are already making a big difference to residents’ lives, and this can only strengthen the improvement work taking place across the estate.”
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner said: “Safer Streets 4 saw Home Office investment in two Middlesbrough estates – Pallister Park and Hemlington. Both had suffered problems with anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.
“The project ended last September, but we've already seen some great results from the project and the partnerships.
“The number of anti-social behaviour incidents (17,029) between January and December 2022 marked a 26.5 per cent reduction on the same period the previous year.
“This reduction is partly down to innovative schemes like Safer Streets, where everyone works together to find a solution to a community-wide problem.”
Inspector Chris Hartshorne from Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “This is another excellent example of partnership working to help tackle local issues in order to keep the residents of Hemlington safe.
“We will continue to carry out work such as this to help improve the lives of local residents and tackle criminality.”
Councillor Janet Thompson, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Community Safety, said: “This is a fantastic solution to a problem that wasn’t foreseen when the estate was created.
“It’s a great example of partnership working in direct response to what we're being told by local residents, and these improvements will make a real difference to people's quality of life.”
Anyone with information about crime or antisocial behaviour can call the police on 101, or in an emergency call 999 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.