Areas in Hackney are now safer, thanks to the combined efforts of residents, police and Hackney council community safety officers.
An increase in antisocial behaviour, crime and disorder was leaving residents scared to walk down their own streets. When residents tried to report problems by phoning 101, they were left on hold for long periods of time, eventually hanging up the call. These abandoned calls meant local police lacked the evidence to understand the problems in the area, which left residents frustrated that their complaints were not being taken seriously.
The local police, council and residents needed a solution to capture these reports, build evidence and solve their problems.
The answer lay with Trygve.
Using hyper-local private groups in the Trygve app, police encouraged residents to join Trygve and make a difference to their community. Not only did the tool help gather evidence, but it harnessed positive communication between residents, police and council. Their digital community also offered encouragement and support to one another during very difficult periods, reducing their levels of fear and removing social isolation.
It wasn't always smooth sailing, given the high emotions of residents. However, over time and through the careful guidance of local police and the council ward officer, residents learned how to separate factual information from opinions and offered police real intelligence to determine what enforcement action was needed.
How has it helped?
Residents started logging incidents at the time they happened, giving clear descriptions of suspects, vehicles and other relevant information which would alert everyone in the group to a problem in the area. The police were able to more effectively collate incidents and provide proper updates which increased morale and motivation within the community. The Trygve app was being used in a constructive way to build cases and make real changes in the community.
What Works? (evidence led - evidence based outcomes of using Trygve)
Motor vehicles used in drug dealing
Residents logged registrations of cars, mopeds and bikes believed to be involved in drug dealing within the private Trygve groups, along with images. Police used this intelligence to send out enquiry letters, Community Protection warnings and section 59 notices to registered vehicle owners. If the vehicles were local to the area, a visit by the local police was conducted to reinforce the concerns of anti-social behaviour in the area. As a result, the problem vehicles in the area has reduced.
The information gathered on Trygve provided justification to install CCTV connected to the council’s main monitoring control and command centre. This meant Public Space Surveillance officers could monitor 24/7 to collect information, as well as help coordinate police to the area if an incident took place.
Police dispersals, patrols and drugs & weapons sweeps
From the intelligence gathered, police implemented 48 hour dispersals in the area, supported by enforcement officers, to target problem individuals and move them out of the area. There was also an increase in council enforcement officer patrol presence, who helped carry out successful weapons and drugs sweeps to disrupt the behaviour of those plaguing the area.
It became apparent that key problem people and families living in local temporary accommodation were believed to be catalysts to the disorder in the area. They were moved on from the area and residents declared a noticeable difference to the level of problems on their streets.
Residents posted complaints with picture evidence regarding the level of waste being discarded in the street by groups of individuals. This led the council to increase the recycling bins in the area, which has seen a significant reduction of the problem.
Residents identified a shop they felt attracted problematic people in the area. When the shop applied to increase their alcohol licence, the police were able to present their case to the council’s licensing committee that this would only increase the disorder. The reports in Trygve helped support this concern. The application to increase the alcohol licence was successfully turned down by the council.
Residents suggested positive intervention for local young people they felt to be on the periphery of the disorder. Council and police met with a local creative centre and a Muslim community group to develop collaborative working. As a result, a local venue was identified, which offered various activities from 8am to midnight. The council’s youth service also carried out joint diversionary activities with a Muslim outreach officer. In addition, the youth service dedicated an extra day’s outreach to address local problems.
For the Hackney communities pioneering the approach, the results have been clear.
Residents can and should play an important role in local crime prevention, if given a chance to work with police and council.
Trygve is free.