Covid-related neighbour tensions among anti-social behaviour rise

Ipswich Street in Stowmarket town centre Picture: MARK LANGFORD

Ipswich Street in Stowmarket town centre Picture: MARK LANGFORD - Credit: Archant

A spike in anti-social behaviour during the summer has been reported in Mid Suffolk, with neighbour tensions from the Covid-enforced restrictions among the issues.

Mid Suffolk District Council reported its housing officers were responding to "ever higher numbers" of instances, with the authority's data confirming 149 incidents in the three months from July to the end of September compared with just 28 the three months prior.

According to the council, some of that was a delay in reporting some of the Quarter 1 figures because some staff had been redeployed for the Covid-19 efforts, but prolonged periods of people being at home has also escalated tensions.

According to the data, most of the reports were low-level incidents including 63 reports of untidy gardens and pet nuisance, while a further 23 calls were around shouting and swearing, threatening language and verbal abuse.

Most reports are from the Stowmarket area.

A council spokeswoman said: "Mid Suffolk District Council remains committed to helping keep our district a safe place to live, work and visit.

"Unfortunately, we are not immune from anti-social behaviour (ASB) and we know this can be a real concern for many communities.

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"As such, ASB complaints are taken seriously and will be investigated, with a full range of actions considered to swiftly resolve the issue, where possible.

"We have noticed an increase in reports arising from the ongoing challenges posed by Covid, with restrictions forcing people to stay at home for prolonged periods of time resulting in a heightened need to be considerate to others, as experienced across the country."

The council said it was working alongside police to tackle problem behaviour and a cross-party working group is being formed to create an ASB policy in response to the challenges that have developed during the Covid crisis.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said the council was leading on the response with assistance from officers, and added: "We continue to work closely with housing and environmental health staff, along with professionals from education, social services and mental health services.

"We continue to hold meetings which look at long term solutions to problems affecting the community, making sure the correct agency is taking the lead - the ultimate objective to reduce demand on all services."