Agenda item

Community Safety

To receive a presentation on Community Service.



Teresa Hogan-Watt, Ward Team Leader (Housing service) shared a presentation on ‘Safer Neighbourhood Services: How we work together to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour in the North East’.




Also present for this item were Sophie Tunnard, Safer Neighbourhood Coordinator (Community Safety Team, Sheffield City Council), Sergeant Scott Sarson, (South Yorkshire Police), Billie-Jo Harris, Resolution Officer (Antisocial Behaviour Team, Sheffield City Council) and Simon Fysh, Sustainable Communities Officer Team Leader (Antisocial Behaviour Team, Sheffield City Council).




Ms Hogan-Watt outlined a problem that had occurred at Palgrave Road which started out as low-level anti-social behaviour but had gradually escalated into a complex situation. A vacant house had been boarded up, and subsequently block paving had been stolen from the front garden, and someone was found to be living in a shed in the garden. Neighbourhood Officers had attended in an attempt to move the person on and had advised him to present as homeless. Community Safety Officers were also involved, and as they worked shifts, were able to patrol the area. Copper piping was found in the shed and, when confronted, the occupant became aggressive and was removed by police officers. He subsequently returned and set up a tent in the garden of the property, and would not accept help in relocating. It was later discovered that he was removing bricks to gain entry to the house and by doing this had been able to strip the house of its boiler and radiators. He had transported materials at night and had burned waste in the garden during the day. Ms Hogan-Watt stated that initially residents had felt too scared to contact support teams, and some had left their homes due to harassment and damage to their properties. However, she confirmed that they gradually became engaged with officers and began to report issues and work together in order to gain intelligence.




Sophie Tunnard advised that her role as a Safer Neighbourhood Coordinator was to coordinate multi-agency problem solving. She explained that she was based at Ecclesfield Police station and had a close working relationship with other partner agencies. She had gathered information from partners and residents to understand the complexity of the problem and the individuals involved, to allow her to identify the issues to be tackled. She noted that the situation was having an impact on the lives of those living in the community, and a long-term solution was needed which was not achievable by any one sole agency. Local intelligence and information gathering had helped the team to understand the personal circumstances of the individual involved, and whether there might be other factors that were driving his behaviour. She advised that a referral was made to the Changing Futures Team to address any support that might be needed, and a joint action plan was then devised.




Sergeant Scott Sarson advised that it had quickly become apparent that partnership working was needed. There were other unoccupied properties in this area, and this had led to incidents such as fire, thefts, burglary, anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and fly-tipping. He noted that public confidence and fear had been significantly impacted for those living nearby and that, at the same time, offender confidence had increased. Sergeant Sarson explained that the Police Team began using the property as a ‘Police Community House’, and it was used for both overt/covert purposes in order to gain an increased knowledge of offenders and patterns of criminality. He noted that there was an immediate increase in public confidence and decrease in offender confidence. The ‘broken window’ effect was put into reverse and the immediate area around the property stabilised. After two and a half years, the house repairs were completed, and a new tenant moved into the property within days of the police moving out.




Billie-Jo Harris reported that the Antisocial Behaviour Team became involved as this was an urgent case that required legal intervention. Officers were tasked with patrolling at different hours of the day to gather evidence that could support legal action. This included door-knocking, WhatsApp messages, photographic evidence and incident logs. She confirmed that the evidence that had been collected via the different teams resulted in an injunction being applied for, which was then granted and served on the individual. 




Simon Fysh explained that his role as a Sustainable Communities Officer had been to support the other agencies involved.  This was done by providing evidence and community intelligence to support legal action, providing support to individuals, including victims and witnesses, and providing visible patrols.




Ms Harris advised that the actions that were taken collectively helped to reassure residents and build confidence in reporting issues. The injunction that was in place had a number of conditions and there was the option to take further action if any of the conditions were breached.




Ms Tunnard summarised the outcomes of this multi-agency project. She advised that the individual concerned had been given a prison sentence, and had been assigned a probation worker and conditions upon release. Properties in the area had been let to families, unsafe buildings had been secured, refurbishment was planned, residents felt safer and there had been a decrease in crime statistics.




Sergeant Sarson added that, as a result of the multi-agency work carried out, demand on South Yorkshire Police and the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services in that area had greatly reduced.




Ms Tunnard shared the following contact details for the teams who were in attendance at the meeting:


Where to report anti-social behaviour issues:


Generic email:

Pollution and nuisance | Sheffield City Council


Neighbourhood Police team contacts:


Sergeant Matthew Cook- 07557254992

Sheffield North East - SYP (


Council Housing Service:


Telephone: 0114 2930000





A member of the public (Mick Daniels) raised concerns that the multi-agency approach did not work and was costly and he asked why other solutions weren’t considered, such as fitting a burglar alarm to the property. He queried how much rent was ‘lost’ while the property was vacant and was being used as a community house. He also believed that there were not enough wardens in the area.




Ms Tunnard advised that a figure for lost rent had not been calculated and that a multi-agency had been appropriate for this case. She added that this had been a unique situation and that this level of damage had not been seen in the city before.




In relation to the query about alternative solutions, Sergeant Sarson confirmed that other tactics had been considered but were not deemed to be appropriate at that time.




Mr Fysh confirmed that there were four Senior Sustainable Community Officers and 18 Sustainable Community Officers that operated across Sheffield.




Councillor Price noted that this type of work had been rationalised due to lack of government funding. He added that different solutions were needed for different areas.




Melanie King (Sanctuary Housing) was of the opinion that the approach taken had been positive. She was aware that it may have been costly, but believed that more properties would have otherwise remained empty.