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200 per cent hike in antisocial behaviour reports during Barking and Dagenham lockdown, council reports

PUBLISHED: 17:11 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:11 04 June 2020

Armed Forces Day plans have been shared by the council. Picture: Luke Acton

Armed Forces Day plans have been shared by the council. Picture: Luke Acton

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Reports of anti-social behaviour increased by more than 200 per cent during the coronavirus lockdown, according to the council.

Councillor Margaret Mullane is the cabinet member for enforcement and community safety. Pic: Andreas GriegerCouncillor Margaret Mullane is the cabinet member for enforcement and community safety. Pic: Andreas Grieger

While Barking and Dagenham saw a 213pc hike in such reports, crime rates have fallen considerably, a meeting of the overview and scrutiny committee heard on Wednesday, June 3.

Members were meeting online to discuss the borough’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Margaret Mullane, the cabinet chief in charge of enforcement, described the increase as “quite worrying” but said there had been “huge reductions” in most crimes.

Enforcement officers dispersed more than 5,000 people during lockdown while 35 prohibition notices, requiring individuals to stop doing something risky, were served. Cllr Mullane said: “Social distancing, at times, has been challenging, but the majority of people in the borough have done what has been asked of them.”

Cllr Saima Ashraf. Picture: LBBDCllr Saima Ashraf. Picture: LBBD

Deputy leader Cllr Saima Ashraf told colleagues of the support the council had given the community including 1,648 offers of help completed, 174 emergency food parcels distributed from a central food hub and £27,597 shared among households through a hardship fund.

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Cllr Ashraf said: “The community spirit has been tremendous, overwhelming and fantastic throughout.”

She went on to explain that before the pandemic the council received an average of 38 approaches for help from people at risk of homelessness per week, but the number had dropped to 27.

Cllr Dominic Twomey. Picture: LBBDCllr Dominic Twomey. Picture: LBBD

Visits by rough sleepers to a support hub at Barking Learning Centre have gone down from 60 a day to 10 to 15 as people have moved into accommodation, Cllr Ashraf added.

The local authority also paid for 17 funerals in March and April – up from an average of one per month before Covid-19 struck.

On the authority’s finances, Cllr Dominic Twomey said Covid-19 had “knocked” the council “off course” with a £28million black hole between the £40m the borough has spent tackling coronavirus and the £12m received from the government.

“We have more than adequate reserves, but it won’t take long with a funding gap that big for that to erode quickly,” he said.

Cllr Maureen Worby. Picture: LBBDCllr Maureen Worby. Picture: LBBD

Cllr Maureen Worby said the council was prepared for an expected increase in reports of domestic violence.


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