A housing association has been hailed as a “shining example to the rest of Wales” for its zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC spoke out following a visit to Cartrefi Conwy whose pioneering work on anti-social behaviour has been recognised by the Welsh Government.
Cartrefi Conwy was one of a very few housing associations in Wales to be awarded the coveted Wales Housing Management Standard for tackling anti-social behaviour.
The award was made after the Welsh Government analysed around 12 months of evidence from Cartrefi Conwy about how it has tackled anti-social behaviour in its neighbourhoods throughout Conwy.
The housing association also won praise for going to court to seize back two homes – in Capel Garmon and Rhos-on-Sea – from two tenants convicted by criminal courts of drug offences.
Mr Roddick said: “Cartrefi Conwy’s reputation goes ahead of them and they are a first class housing association because they’ve got a very, very good approach to housing and housing problems and they’ve got a very robust attitude towards anti-social behaviour.
“They demonstrate a determination to those who commit anti-social behaviour that they will not put up with it and their tenants who suffer from anti-social behaviour manifest considerable gratitude to them because they ease a very difficult problem.
“It does make a real difference to people’s quality of life – you don’t realise what the quality of life is until you’ve lost it and lose it you do by incessant anti-social behaviour.
“I was delighted to hear them say that they have a very effective partnership with the North Wales Police.
“In my Police and Crime Plan where I lay out my strategy, there are four Police and Crime objectives and one of those is partnership working.
“The police cannot succeed in what they do without working in partnership and the partnership they have with Cartrefi Conwy is a very good example of it working in the housing context. They are a shining example to the rest of Wales.”
Jan Jones, Cartrefi Conwy’s Senior ASB Officer, was delighted to have the opportunity to explain to Mr Roddick about their get tough attitude to anti-social behaviour.
She said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour and we work very closely with North Wales Police. They can provide impact statements that support our evidence when we go to court
“We do a lot of unacceptable behaviour contracts which is a low-level intervention which often works. It involves meeting the tenant, with the police, and where the tenant voluntarily signs a contract to behave.
“Mediation can be a good tool as well because sometimes getting two people to sit down together or two families to sit down together will make them realise the impact it has on the other family and that will actually resolve the situation.
“Court is the last resort but we will go down that route if necessary – but also sometimes when you go to court for an injunction, that actually does stop people progressing with their behaviour. They will stop because they are quite frightened of going to prison if they don’t actually behave.”
Equally proud of their record was Claire Shiland, Cartrefi Conwy’s Head of Neighbourhood Services.
She said: “It’s fantastic that the Commissioner is interested in understanding more about housing associations and the role we have to play in tackling nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
“As far as we’re concerned, dealing with anti-social behaviour is a primary function of what we do. It’s vitally important because if we don’t get nuisance and anti-social behaviour right, we can’t sustain tenancies and we can’t keep people in their homes.
“It’s really important for us to make sure the communities we work in are safe, that people feel safe in them and feel proud to live in them.”