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News: Taking a stand against crime gains recognition

A couple who took action against a family that caused harassment and nuisance in their community and a group of residents who inspired young people to clean up their community and contributed to a 41% reduction in crime and disorder have been recognised for their remarkable work in tackling anti-social behaviour.

These are just two examples of the hundreds of entries to the Respect Awards for Taking a Stand, which took place yesterday in London following a nationwide competition.

The winners of the 'Gold' awards are:

  • The Community Action Newtown group in Worcestershire, who have contributed to a 41% reduction in crime and disorder in their area by working together to provide activities for young people such as sports and litter picks. They also arranged for lighting and fences to be installed.
  • Joe and Alison Bednall from Wakefield, who overcame fear and intimidation from a neighbouring family - including verbal abuse, dumping rubbish, and spitting - to help the local authority gather evidence to apply for ASBOs against the family. The couple have since set up a community group and provide support for vulnerable people in the area.
  • Barry Jackman from Hampshire, who realised that much of the anti-social behaviour in his community was due to a lack of activities for young people. He worked with local agencies to set up a youth club which now has over 160 members.
  • Diane Edwards and the Blaenymaes Residents' group in Swansea, who joined forces to challenge the unacceptable behaviour of a family living in their community. They have reported over 150 incidents to the local authority and many have agreed to give evidence in court.

The awards, run in partnership with Crime Concern, recognise individuals and groups who have transformed their communities by tackling problems such as vandalism, nuisance neighbours, harassment, intimidation and graffiti.

Despite record numbers of police on our streets, the government thinks communities also have a vital role to play to make sure that anti-social behaviour does not go unchallenged.

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears, presenting the awards, said: "It is inspiring to see so many ordinary people taking a stand against the unacceptable behaviour of a minority of people."

"The winners of these awards should be congratulated for overcoming their own fear to make real improvements in their neighbourhoods. They are a lesson to us all that we should not be afraid to challenge those who think it is okay to intimidate people and create havoc in our communities."

 

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