Crime reports in troubled Doncaster village slashed

Police say reports of anti-social behaviour have fallen by 34 per cent.
Police say reports of anti-social behaviour have fallen by 34 per cent.

Reports of crime in a Doncaster village, previously blighted by anti-social behaviour and racial tensions, have been slashed following the introduction of new policing powers.

New figures today reveal that reports of antisocial behaviour in Hexthorpe fell by 34 per cent between April and December compared with the same period in 2014.

It equates to 144 fewer incidents in the village, which previously suffered much higher levels of antisocial behaviour and escalating racial tensions.

The plunge in reported crime comes after South Yorkshire Police and Doncaster Council introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order in August.

Insp Lynne Lancaster, of the Doncaster Central team, has called the drop ‘very encouraging.’

She said: “The PSPO came into effect in August 2015 and we had a reduction in incidents of 40 per cent in that first month compared with the same month in 2014 and are continuing to see reductions in incidents.

“There were only 14 incidents reported in December – the lowest recorded antisocial behaviour for Hexthorpe in the 21 months since we started analysing data.

“We’re hoping that this will mark a turning point for Hexthorpe almost, but we know there’s still more work to do. We won’t become complacent.

“Part of the reason I think we are seeing things improve is because of the partnership working between the council and the police, which means that there are two teams out on the streets looking after things.”

The introduction of the order was prompted by calls from residents for more to be done to ease tensions in the area after a number of racially-aggravated crimes.

A number of violent offences took place on the streets of the village, including:

- A brawl between a group of Poles and Slovaks that led to two men being stabbed

- A man being attacked in his car by a group armed with baseball bats

- Six being arrested following another stabbing incident.

As part of order, which is the first of its kind in Doncaster, people have been prevented from congregating in groups of three or more, and from using Hexthorpe Flatts park, seen as a catalyst for anti-social behaviour by residents.

Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for communities, Coun Chris McGuinness, said: “We are all pleased to see the Public Space Protection Order in Hexthorpe having a positive effect, and it is encouraging to see how much anti-social behaviour has reduced in the area.

“We will continue to work in close partnership with the community and South Yorkshire Police, and keep trying to improve community safety for local people.”

A minorities team was formed in Hexthorpe last year, consisting of one part-time employee and a number of volunteers that were tasked with improving relations among those living in the area.

A joint worship event has subsequently been planned in the Dell at Hexthorpe Flatts park at 3pm on Sunday, May 15, to celebrate Pentecost.

The service is intended for British, Farsi-speaking, Slovakian and Zimbabwean people among others.

It will be the first time a joint worship has been held in the village.