Inspector Garry Neill, Northumbria Police’s Tynedale Neighbourhood lead has started a new monthly column with The Hexham Courant.

This month he is talking about cracking down on anti-social behaviour and how police engage with the community.

ASB and darker nights

We are well and truly in the throws of autumn now.

The darkness is already starting to creep in earlier and that can often result in people thinking they can get away with committing crimes by hiding more easily.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen an increase in reports of incidents at Sele Park in Hexham.

The park has recently been graffitied and we are working closely with partners to combat issues in this area and have increased patrols.

We know how the anti-social behaviour of a minority can have a corrosive impact on our communities.

Anyone found to be deliberately damaging property will be dealt with swiftly and robustly and we ask that parents always know the whereabouts of their children.

Anyone with information on anti-social behaviour is asked to report it online via our ‘Tell us Something’ function on our website or by calling 101.

You can also speak to our officers out on patrol – we’re always happy to listen to your concerns.

Open day

Engagement is key to successful police work and we were thrilled that 1000 people from around Northumberland turned up to our very first Rural Policing Open Day recently.

The family friendly event, held at Kirkley Hall, was an opportunity for locals to learn more about how an area as unique and vast as rural Northumberland is policed.

Children – and big kids too - were given the opportunity to sit in our police cars and see our equipment. This was also a crucial opportunity for them to interact with officers.

We believe engaging at a young age with officers makes for better engagement as an adult and I’d always say to families to encourage their children to wave to officers and say hello when they see them on their travels.

This event was the perfect opportunity for the community and families to learn about our work and learn more about the partners we work alongside with to keep everyone safe.

We hope to host another event in the future but in the meantime – keep on engaging with us!