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Police 'failing on yob behaviour'

More than 26 incidents of anti-social behaviour take place every minute, the chief inspector of constabulary has said.

Sir Denis O'Connor said tackling anti-social behaviour is often not seen as "real police work" and "does not have the same status as 'crime' for the police".

Police officers "retreating from the streets" since the 1970s "undermined their connection with the public, and allowed some of these things to gather momentum", he said.

But forces across the country need to recognise that in nine out of 10 cases, police are the first authority the public turn to when suffering anti-social behaviour and a new approach is needed "to restore civility to public spaces", he said.

"The public do not distinguish between anti-social behaviour and crime," he said.

"For them, it's just a sliding scale of grief."

Only a quarter of the incidents of anti-social behaviour, about 3.5 million, were reported and communities are "becoming used to things we should not have become used to", he said.

Speaking at a briefing at Beormund Community Centre in Bermondsey, south east London, Sir Denis said: "Some people don't think this is real policing.

"They have, in their own head, reinvented policing, which is policing that focuses around certain things that happen to be categorised in a piece of legislation somewhere as crime.

"This kind of area matters but it doesn't count very much in the current system, not in the way that crime does. We can do better than this."

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