pn3636 Community Safety Award Pic 1THE hard work of a team dedicated to making communities across Middlesbrough safer has been recognised at an annual awards event.

Middlesbrough Council’s Neighbourhood Safety Team won the Community Safety Team Contribution to Tackling Anti-social Behaviour at the annual Cleveland Community Safety Awards.

The team picked up their award at this year’s awards ceremony at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

Starting life as the Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Team in 2002, the Neighbourhood Safety Team was restructured in 2009 following the introduction of Neighbourhood Victim Liaison Officers who provide dedicated advice and support to victims of anti-social behaviour.

The five-strong team of Neighbourhood Safety Officers work closely with local communities and public sector partners such as Cleveland Police and social housing providers to co-ordinate resources and tackle issues as they arise.

The Tackling Anti-social Behaviour award is in recognition of the team’s tireless efforts over the last year, including two successful prosecutions against rogue landlords and the securing of nine ASBOs.

Working alongside Cleveland Police, the team has worked to curb youth-related disorder in a number of areas, with more than 252 young people now the subject of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs).

Officers also work closely with police to help foreign nationals integrate into the community and overcome language barriers, as well as fostering greater understanding and tolerance of different cultures.

The creation of a landlords’ forum has helped establish good working relationships with private landlords who have problem tenants with complex issues.

Safer Streets initiatives in three areas have identified local issues, leading to the deployment of resources to improve quality of life and residents’ perception of safety in their neighbourhoods.

In other areas complaints have been logged of motorcycle nuisance, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour, with work undertaken to identify problem properties and key troublemakers.

Feedback on the team’s work has been uniformly positive, with residents reporting falls in drug dealing, crime and anti-social behaviour, and a rise in the number of those who feel safe in their own home.

Team Manager Sharon Carr said: “This award is in recognition of a great deal of hard work by every member of the Neighbourhood Safety Team and they thoroughly deserve the recognition.

“It’s also a reflection of the work we do alongside local partners to tackle the issues that matter to people within their local communities.

“But it wouldn’t be possible without the co-operation and support of local residents, who can have confidence that we take their concerns seriously and take positive action to address them.”

Councillor Brenda Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Supporting Communities, said: “Everyone has the right to live free from crime and anti-social behaviour and Middlesbrough Council is committed to upholding that right.

“The Neighbourhood Safety Team has made a real difference by listening to local people and dealing with the issues that matter to them.

“They work tirelessly to make our communities safer places to live for all, and I am delighted to see their efforts recognised in this way.”