Council to recruit more officers to keep anti-social behaviour cases low

Enforcement officers Eunice Ndulaka-Okwu, left and Mahmut Ahmet. Pic: Tower Hamlets Council

More civilian enforcement officers are to be recruited in Tower Hamlets to combat anti-social behaviour across the borough, despite a decline in such incidents.

Over the past year, Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers have handed out 555 anti-social behaviour warnings, more than 10 a week.

According to UKCrimeStats data, Tower Hamlets saw an unprecedented spike in the number of anti-social behaviour cases in April 2020, increasing by 200 per cent. However, ELL's analysis has shown that the average number of anti-social behaviour cases have been on a decline, returning to the numbers seen pre-pandemic.

The data also indicates that there is seasonal variation, with an increase in cases in the summer months. 

Kirsby Hough, communications officer for Tower Hamlets Council, told EastLondonLines: "From October 20 to September 22 last year to October 21 to September 22 this year, we have seen a 39% reduction in anti-social behaviour complaints to the police and 50% reduction in anti-social behaviour complaints to the council."

Hough added: "Our drive to recruit more women officers is to further reduce cases while also increasing the number of female applicants."

Enforcement officers have police powers under section 50 of the Police Reform Act to obtain a person's details and to tackle anti-social behaviour, drugs, and violence.  

Minerva Brown, who has been an enforcement officer for nine years, said: “Over the last few years, we have successfully brought to task four individuals who were wanted for terrorism and grooming, by innocently going about our daily patrols. We share our intel with police, and often find we have dealt with someone for minor offences who the police have been searching for and so we can help bring people to justice.”

She encouraged other women to sign up to follow in her footsteps. She said: “As a female, I believe we brought a wealth of knowledge and diversity into the service as we often have better communication skills and can build trust with residents and partners. 

The above map shows that the safest and the most dangerous wards of Tower Hamlets for anti-social behaviour are Bow West with 386 cases and Weavers with 684 cases. Residents on Columbia Road, in Weavers, have noticed the increase in drug dealing and use on their estates. 

However, Ashok Kumar, a resident of New Columbia Road and an associate professor of political economy at Birkbeck, University of London, told ELL: "I'm critical of those citations as Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBOs) as they are often a way to criminalise the working class. Since 2003 and the passage of Anti-Social Behaviour Act, the evidence is overwhelming that it's targeting historically marginalised communities including working class youth, black people, Asians and people with mental health problems."

During the anti-social Awareness week in July this year, more than 400 hours of patrols were carried out by Tower Hamlets Council and police. During the week, 16 people were arrested for a range of offences including drugs, burglary, and possession of offensive weapons. 48 stop and searches were carried out and 78 ASB warnings were issued.

A new Safer Communities Surgery unit was also launched in Tower Hamlets, making it easier than ever for residents to report crime and anti-social behaviour. The unit acts as a base for patrolling officers from both local police and Tower Hamlets Council Enforcement Officers. 

To find out more about the recruitment process and how to apply to be an enforcement officer, email 

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