Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 11.06.32A professional “witness flying squad” is now just a phone call away to help North-East tenants affected by anti-social behaviour.

For Cestria Community Housing association tenants in Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, will be able to access the free and confidential iWitness service from the beginning of June.

Operating out-of-hours, iWitness will strengthen the work already being carried out by Cestria’s own dedicated ASB staff, helping to speed up action against perpetrators.

Using handheld recording equipment and wearing bodycams, iWitness officers can be on site within 30 minutes of receiving a call about an incident that is taking place.

Once there, they will observe and record what is happening and provide accurate and credible witness statements for Cestria officers by the start of the next working day.

iWitness – which is delivered by external contractors Gateshead based security company, The Protector Group – was first launched by local housing provider Isos Housing in 2014 and now that Cestria has joined the Group its tenants can access the scheme.

Cestria Housing manager Carol Kay said: “We want residents to feel safe and secure in their homes, so we’re delighted this innovative scheme has now been extended to Cestria tenants.

“Our ASB team already works hard to crack down on incidents and now iWitness will allow us to continue to do that even when our office is closed – that’s 24 hours a day coverage, 365 days a year.

“No-one wants to live in an environment where there are problems with noise, offensive behaviour or other disturbances, so iWitness will be a valuable tool in our armoury when dealing with anti-social behaviour.”

Anti-social behaviour can include incidents of excessive noise, offensive behaviour, verbal abuse, violence – including threats of violence – harassment, hate crime and criminal activity.