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Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman tells councils to tackle anti-social behaviour and respond better to residents concerns

A new report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) councils in England has said residents across England are suffering from anti-social behaviour (ASB) which local authorities are not doing enough to counter it with the existing powers and tools they have.

According to the Ombudsman, councils including Ealing have a range of tools available to them to tackle ASB but many are not using them or do not fully understand the powers they have. The Ombudsman also said residents impacted by anti-social behaviour are sometimes not responded to or supported by their councils.

The Ombudsman’s report revealed it has upheld 74% of the cases investigated in the past year. The cases from concerned residents range from issues such as dog fouling and inconsiderate parking to ongoing harassment and intimidation.

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, a Hanwell resident said: “This is what we have been talking about in Hanwell. We have been highlighting the revolting anti-social behaviour that goes on to the council and the police and very little has been done.”

They added: “People openly selling and taking drugs as well as drinking and defecating in public is disgusting, but it happens on a daily basis. It seems as if the council don’t want to address the issue for residents.”

In the introduction to the report, Paul Najsarek, who himself was chief executive of Ealing Council from February 2016 to December 2021 and appointed as the interim Ombudsman in April 2023 said: “Unfortunately, in the investigations we carry out, we frequently find councils have failed to grasp the problem presented by anti-social behaviour, and their own powers to do something about it. This can leave people suffering the effects for longer than necessary. In the 2022/23 year, we upheld 74% of detailed investigations about antisocial behaviour.”

Mr Najsarek added: “The faults in these cases highlight a range of problems. There are sometimes long delays in councils responding to complainants, or acting on information they have received. We see cases where officers appear to lack the confidence to make decisions, despite having apparently compelling evidence to justify taking enforcement action – dragging matters out and leaving anti-social behaviour unchecked. We see councils referring people to the police, believing anti-social behaviour is purely a police matter and they have no duty to act.

“We also see examples where councils have accepted a case for investigation but failed to liaise properly with the police, or other agencies, despite there being an obvious benefit to information sharing. And councils will often approach reports of ASB as separate episodes to be addressed on an individual basis, without considering how these episodes fit into an ongoing pattern of behaviour.”

Ealing residents have previously raised concerns over anti-social behaviour across the borough and what they feel is ineffective actions from the council and police.

In June 2023, EALING.NEWS highlighted concerns by residents over anti-social behaviour in and around Hanwell Broadway. Residents said they were fed up with  groups of people boozing, defecating, stealing from shiops and taking drugs in and around Hanwell Broadway.

One resident said: “This council is useless. They surely must know there is a major problem going on. You can see it every day. The shop owners, like residents are fed up with so many people stealing from therm. Ealing Council surely must see it with their own CCTV, but when it comes to enforcement nothing is done.  If this was Ealing Broadway, they wouldn’t let it get like this.”

“Where are the council officers and where are the ward councillors. The amount of anti-social behaviour is out of control. I’m now considering whether I want to live in the area.”

Addressing residents concerns, an Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS in June 2023: “The council is aware of concerns regarding persistent ASB in and around Hanwell, and the distress that this is causing some residents. The council has invested significant time and resource in acting on the issues residents have raised, including issuing community protection warnings, civil injunctions, and licensing enforcement to tackle behaviours such as street drinking.”

They added: “The council has also been supporting police-led enforcement of the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), and has made physical changes in hotspot locations, for example to benches and pavements, to make it more difficult for people to engage in anti-social behaviour in those locations.

“We will continue to highlight to the Metropolitan Police the need for a visible policing presence to deter ASB and crime in Hanwell and will continue to work with both policing partners and the local community to address ongoing concerns.”

An Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS: “The council works closely with partners to investigate and tackle all kinds of anti-social behaviour.  That includes investigating ‘lower level’ anti-social behaviours that we know can contribute to making an area feel unsafe. The council works closely with the police, and runs a dedicated patrol service and extensive CCTV network.

“The Ombudsman report is a general discussion of the issues that face all councils when it comes to dealing with anti-social behaviour. Ealing Council has a strong track record in this area. The council does use its powers to the full, with a high number of legal outcomes, including injunctions, possession orders, prosecutions and closure orders, to show for it. All of these things protect our residents from harm and hold those responsible for anti-social behaviour to account.

“Ealing also has a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place across the whole borough, gives enhanced powers to Police and the council’s own ‘authorised officers’ to tackle anti-social behaviour.”

For anyone experiencing anti-social behaviour  the following can be contacted for help and support:

Ealing Council
Ealing Council’s safer communities team work closely with police and other agencies.
They can be contacted Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm by phone on 020 8825 5994 or email them:

Non-emergency 101 – neighbourhood disturbances, drugs, or anti-social behaviour

Emergency          999 – is someone in immediate danger or need support right away?

In person             Acton Police Station, 250 High Street, Acton, W3 9BH (24 hours)

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