This blog was written by Abi, Lead Community Resolution Officer at the Trust
What do you think our Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) team really do?
It's only natural to think of warnings, threats of legal action, strongly worded letters - even evictions and homelessness.
So, it might surprise you to know that before any action like that is taken, we always consider and assess what support you might need. In a lot of cases, support is offered instead of 'enforcement' (e.g. letters and warnings!) to resolve the problem.
'Enforcement action', whilst it's appropriate and needed in some cases, is our last resort. Not just because it's upsetting for everyone involved, but because we believe using 'enforcement' as a last resort is the right thing to do. Support should always come first.
The way we supported John (not his real name) is a perfect example of how 'support' comes before 'enforcement'.
Our Anti-Social Behaviour team received a report of a male who'd been acting out of character, sometimes in an alarming way.
Lucy, one of the Trust's Community Resolution Officers, wasted no time. She was out to see John and his neighbours to offer reassurance and support.
The neighbours told Lucy that they were fond of John but they did find his recent behaviour worrying and unexpectedly aggressive.
When Lucy met John, he talked about how his mental health had been getting worse and his coping methods were making the situation worse. John told Lucy that he had been admitted to hospital a few times too.
Lucy made a referral to Adult Social Care for John, under our Safeguarding procedure. In the meantime, she made regular visits to check on him until the social care support could start.
On one occasion, John told Lucy honestly what had been happening in his life to bring about these problems. Our Community Resolution Officers, Lyn and Lucy, gave John what he needed: their time, patience, and a listening ear.
Working with our partners
John was allocated a social worker and Lucy continued to visit alongside them, acting as a bridge between John and social services; Lucy had a developed a relationship with John where he trusted her.
At one visit, it was clear that John wasn't well - both physically and mentally. Lucy pushed for John to go to hospital, but John was very wary. So, Lucy stayed with John until help arrived and he felt comfortable enough to go into the ambulance.
Lucy recognised the complex nature of John’s support needs and the need for a 'wrap around service' to support him. She called an urgent professional strategy meeting, inviting Change Grow Live (CGL), Cheshire East Floating Support, the Homelessness Team, Police, Mental Health Services and A&E nurses.
A comprehensive support plan was put in place to safeguard John and his affected neighbours.
As an added extra, the Peaks & Plains repairs team kindly completed a lock change for him for the back door. He had lost his keys, so he couldn’t access his back garden - but John found solace tending to his plants and working wood into ornaments in his spare time. So, by fixing his door, we helped contribute to improving his mental health wellbeing.
In 8 short weeks, the turn around in John’s behaviour and health was incredible - his neighbours have said they're pleased John is back to the good neighbour he used to be.
Once John was more stable, he was warned for his behaviour and it was explained to him the impact that this had had on others. He was very remorseful and said he would work to rebuild those positive relationships with his neighbours.
John is doing very well to this date.