Abdul works as part of our Community Safety team as an Intervention and Enforcement Officer.
This team work to tackle all forms of antisocial behaviour to make sure that our neighbourhoods are safe places to live.
Please note that if you are in immediate danger, you should call 999.
The team are always busy helping to keep people in our communities safe, and Abdul kindly took time out to talk to us about his work, and the challenges the job can cause.
What kind of issues do the Community Safety team deal with?
Domestic abuse, hate crime and, more recently, cuckooing have been problems in our neighbourhoods. Abdul told us what is involved when a case of domestic abuse, or domestic violence is reported to them:
“We have a Domestic Lead on our team called Michala who goes to all the MARAC meetings - this stands for Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference. These meetings involve all the relevant agencies like housing providers, social workers, Women’s Aid, independent domestic advisers, the police, and council.
“When a case comes through, we fill out a report, we assess it and then refer this case to a MARAC meeting if we think we need to.
“We’ll then work to safeguard the tenant we’re working with if they’re no longer safe. This can involve moving them to a different property, to get them away from the abuse. There’s a lot of different work that goes into all of this!
“We get reports from neighbours, and social services, but I would say from my experience most of the time it is victims themselves reporting these cases.
“It’s important to have the support of your team. You can call each other up and get advice from them, as well as emotional support because sometimes the cases are quite horrific and it is important to be able to chat about it with others who understand. We help each other a lot.”
What is ‘Cuckooing’?
Cuckooing is when a person, often vulnerable, has their home taken over by criminals. It is an issue that has been on the rise in the last few years. Abdul told us that he has seen the number of cases go up during lockdown, and explained more about what this means:
“The reason it’s called cuckooing is because that’s what a cuckoo does, they move into another home and take that home over.
“An issue is that sometimes the victim might not want to report it because they’re frightened of the threat of retaliation, or sometimes they themselves are involved in illegal activity and could be afraid of getting involved with the police.
“When it comes to kicking the criminals out of the properties, we work closely with the police and get their reinforcement. We’d then also get people to come in and secure the property with steel windows and doors to stop the person coming back and taking over the property again.
“Unfortunately, this type of activity has gone through the roof in the last year or so, we’re seeing a massive increase of this type of thing going on.”
What we say to people who need our support.
The Community Safety team deal with everything from low level disputes to shootings, stabbings and everything connected with hate crime as well. Hate crime can be racism, homophobia or any kind of abuse based on a prejudice towards one group of people.
“Personally, I have noticed a lot of hate crime is happening on social media, and there has been a rise. Especially recently with the news of the England footballers facing racist abuse.
“We also know that we have seen cases of domestic violence increase very quickly during lockdown, and sadly we’re expecting to see a spike again now that lockdown is easing because of people’s anxieties over the situation.
“Above all the message we want people to hear is that we understand how difficult your situation can be, and we are here.
"We will always support you as much as possible, and we know that sometimes it is extremely hard for people to come forwards. They could have been isolated from anybody else who could help, and we make sure that whenever that tenant is ready we are here to speak to them.
“We are not here to judge, we’re just here to help in any way we can, and we’ll give our support for as long as you need it.”
If you need to report an instance of domestic abuse, hate crime, cuckooing, or other antisocial behaviour in your neighbourhood, please call our Community Safety Team on 0330 355 1000.
All contacts will be dealt with in a confidential manner and your identity will never be revealed without your consent.