Incidents of anti-social behaviour among under 18s in Corby have been cut by 34 per cent in the past year, in spite of ongoing issues with youths persistently causing trouble in the town centre and in West Glebe Park.
Reports of young people engaging in low-level crime and causing a nuisance for people using the town centre at night have swamped social media during the past few months - but official figures show that the issue is actually reducing.
The statistics show that there were 373 youth ASB incidents reported to police in the past 12 months, while there were 564 the previous year.
Dispersal orders have been in place over many weekends since Christmas which allow police to ask the youths to leave the town centre and West Glebe Park if they are causing trouble.
But that has not prevented two sexual assaults on girls - one in which a 13-year-old was taken from Corporation Street by two much older men and sexually assaulted at a house in Gainsborough Road, and a second when a girl was grabbed and assaulted by a man in West Glebe Park.
The figures were presented to councillors at a Corby Borough Council crime and disorder committee meeting on Wednesday (April 10).
They showed a general downward trend in youth related anti-social behaviour in all boroughs and districts in Northamptonshire - with Corby’s dropping by 34 per cent. Kettering dropped from 547 incidents to 472 - a fall of 14 per cent in a year. In East Northants incidents dropped from 539 to 343, a fall of 36 per cent, and in Wellingborough there was a fall from 610 incidents to 402 incidents - going down by 34 per cent.
Crime panel chair Cllr Bridget Watts said: “All we’re hearing about at the moment is incidents on Saturday nights outside The Village Inn and in the town centre. So what does this drop really mean?”
Safer Corby Manager Antonia Malpas said: “This is in relation to police reports.
“We know it’s happening and we know the hotstpots and this week and next week we have got a joint operation with the police to try to deal with some of that.”
Corby and Kettering Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Scott Little said: “We are really trying to get away from people just putting incidents on Facebook but not reporting them to the police.
“People need to pick up the phone and report it to the police.
“I suspect we might be seeing a rise in anti-social behaviour incidents in the coming months.”
A permanent Public Space Protection Order is in place in Corby town centre, as well as one at Laxton Close. They allow officers to apply restrictions on groups and individuals committing anti-social behaviour in specific places. Police have recorded seventeen breaches of those PSPOs and have issued 17 fixed penalty notices as a consequence.
Corby Council Community Safety Officer Olivia Stinson outlined some of the powers that officers have to combat anti-social behaviour, which range from civil injunctions to closure orders. A community protection warning is the lowest-level of enforcement, and involves the council telling those engaging in anti-social behaviour to stop their actions.
She said that 38 community protection warnings had been issued since 2016, adding: “There’s a 70 per cent success rate with CPWs. The next stage is a full legal community protection notice and anyone over 16 can receive one of those and a breach is a criminal offence.”
Twelve CPNs have been issued in the past three years.
The council has also issued two closure orders on houses used for drug dealing on the Lincoln and Kingswood Estates.