This morning I went to Barwell with Dr Luke Evans, MP for Hinckley & Bosworth, and his team to deliver leaflets and surveys to local residents. It was an enjoyable day out, the first time that I've been properly out on the campaign trail since lockdown. I parked up near the well known hexagonal war memorial with its three angels, designed by Samuel Langley.
Although we were out to make contact with residents and discover their views, we did not knock on doors in case a resident was shielding. Instead the leaflet had been designed to include a survey with questions about the local area, but we did chat to passersby if they felt like stopping to talk. I got chatting to a young lady with a toddler in a push chair and, a little while later, with an elderly gentleman. Both happily took a copy of the leaflet and promised to return it. But both also mentioned about vandalism and other anti-social behaviour in and around the High Street. They were both of the opinion that ASB had got worse over the past few months.
Dealing with ASB is one of the most intractable problems facing modern policing, but it is clear that a key driver is when the perpetrators think that they can get away with it. One way to counter this is for highly visible policing to take place in the problem areas, with random visits by police. That way any hooligans tempted to indulge in ASB never know when a police patrol may come by and feel their collars. The police need to get imaginative and be willing to try out new ideas to deal with ASB. These may not qualify as serious crimes in the great scheme of things, but vandalism can blight lives and neighbourhoods. It needs to be dealt with.