Witnesses awarded by Council and Police

Eight witnesses from Hackney have been thanked at a special “Capable Guardian” award nomination ceremony at Hackney Town Hall , in which the Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe and Hackney Police s Borough Commander, Steve Bending handed out certificates and praise (30 June).

This is the first time Hackney has developed a local award to celebrate the achievements of individuals who have made a difference in their communities by making a personal effort to help the Council and police to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Evidence supplied by the eight witnesses has been pivotal in prosecutions for anti-social noise-making; the closure of the Cricketers’ pub on Clarence Road – a hub for drug dealing, fights and noise; the closure of two flats on an estate in E9, where drug-taking, harassment and intimidation was affecting all the neighbours in the block; the arrest of several people now changed with possession with intent to supply drugs after intimidating and wrecking the peace of neighbours on a small housing estate , and the eviction of a neighbour who persisted in noisy activities that affected everyone in the building.

All witnesses – who range from older people to full-time workers - supplied crucial information and intelligence to help make their communities a safer place to live. This included keeping impeccable records of incidents; supplying intelligence; attending court to give evidence; and working closely with the police, Council and Registered Social Landlords to garner important evidence.

One group of three neighbours were nominated for a joint award for giving evidence to help end years of intimidation, noise, drug-taking, graffiti and mess caused by one extended family on an estate.

In all cases the witness’s work has enabled the police and Council to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour caused by individuals, households and businesses whose behaviour was spoiling quality of life within the local community.

Nick, one witness who helped the Police and Council gather evidence that helped them to obtain a closure order on The Cricketers Pub in Clarence Road, said:

“Helping to get the pub closed, changed our quality of life overnight. Myself and my neighbours used to be regularly woken up at 6am or 4am by the noise from the pub – a local family with a young baby were saying that the baby wasn’t sleeping. I couldn’t watch TV in my own front-room because the noise was so loud. My advice to anyone experiencing problems with anti-social behaviour is contact the authorities, record everything that happens and be prepared for a process that can take a while. You can’t get a business closed down overnight. But things can happen. It was worth every moment I spent logging the problems, recording and reporting.”

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe said: “"Today we are celebrating eight individuals, all of whom have made a massive contribution to making their communities safer. Year in, year out, we talk about anti-social behaviour, and we work in partnership with other agencies to tackle it. However, at the end of the day, so much is down to individuals, and the Council and Police need witnesses to come forward."

Hackney s Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Bending, said: "I would like to thank the nominees for their courage and resilience in helping to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in their communities. Today s ceremony goes to show what can be achieved when we all - police, local community and the council, work together. The police will always act on information passed to us, but we need the community to be our eyes and ears so that we can effectively tackle crime and disorder and continue to make Hackney a safer place."

To report anti-social behaviour contact, the Police non emergency number, 0300 123 1212, the Council’s ASB hotline number 0208 356 3030 or Hackney Homes (For nuisance on estates) on 020 8356 3310.