An initiative has been launched in a County Durham town to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Residents in Crook created a WhatsApp group that is overseen by Durham Police officers to share live-time information on potential offences.
The group, led by Theresa Alderson, allows for officers to act swiftly in catching offenders.
Mrs Alderson said: “The WhatsApp group is working really well because everyone is being informed and remaining vigilant – one teenager is going to court at the minute because we had sufficient photo evidence.”
“I think anti-social behaviour in the area has improved,” Mrs Alderson added. “The police can’t be everywhere at once and at least this way offences are logged and everyone is aware.”
Sergeant Grant Cockerill said: “We saw the success of the strategy within our rural communities so decided to adopt the same communication channel for our residents who, led by Theresa, have already helped us to help them in cracking down on any potential crimes and nipping issues in the bud before they escalate.
“It is really useful to have the eyes and ears of the public to give us vital information that we can then act on as we understand many residents are still not reporting incidents which we need them to do.”
It comes after residents in Crook said issues of criminal damage and threatening behaviour are still putting people at risk despite a police crackdown and increased safety measures.
Durham Police say nuisance anti-social behaviour in Crook has fallen by 50% since it introduced Operation Habu – a scheme working with parents to reduce nuisance anti-social behaviour often caused by youngsters.
The text-based service allows officers to contact parents directly to notify them of their child’s disruptive behaviour, often resulting in them being collected and taken home.
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