'Lack of respect' sees neighbour disputes rise in South Gloucestershire
NEIGHBOUR disputes have soared amid a worrying lack of respect for others in South Gloucestershire, a report has found.
Residents are growing alarmed that people are not giving consideration for fellow members of their community, despite a seven per cent drop in hate crime in the district.
The findings are revealed in the 2018/19 annual report of the South Gloucestershire Safer and Stronger Communities Strategic Partnership, which comprises the police, council, voluntary sector and health bodies, and says Brexit is partly to blame.
It said: “After four years hovering at nine or 10 per cent, the proportion of residents thinking there is a problem in their local area with people not treating each other with respect and consideration increased significantly, to 14 per cent.
“There is evidence of tensions arising from Brexit, particularly in the latter part of the financial year.
“This trend for people not treating each other with respect and consideration is consistent with noticeable increases in demand for services.”
The report said that compared with the previous year, complaints of antisocial behaviour to the council increased by 37 per cent, planning enforcement cases rose by 42 per cent and environmental health complaints, such as loud noise from nearby homes, went up by four per cent “with increasing numbers of these cases involving neighbour disputes”.
The report, presented to the partnership at its meeting on October 11 said residents in the most deprived areas, officially called ‘priority neighbourhoods’, were “significantly more likely to see people not treating each other with respect and consideration as a ‘fairly big problem’.”
A separate report discussed by members revealed there were 372 hate crimes and incidents in South Gloucestershire between April 2018 and March 2019.
While that is seven per cent down on the previous 12 months, when it stood at 400, it is still nine per cent higher than the 340 recorded incidents in 2016/17,
The biggest proportion, 56 per cent, were racially motivated, followed by gender (14 per cent), disability (11 per cent) and homophobic (nine per cent).
Men suffered most of the hate crime — 53 per cent of victims were male, 44 per cent female, with three per cent having no gender recorded and 0.2 per cent classed as transgender.
Harassment or intimidation comprised almost half of all incidents, ahead of physical assault (15 per cent), verbal abuse (13 per cent), malicious communication (10 per cent) and criminal damage (six per cent).
The report added: “The highest proportion of hate crimes/incidents occurred in some of our priority neighbourhoods such as Kingswood, Filton, Yate and Patchway."
South Gloucestershire Council head of safe strong communities Rob Walsh said: “In overall terms the level of hate crime in South Gloucestershire is below most of the rest of Avon & Somerset.
“Most of these are verbal and not the kind of physical assault that hate crime immediately brings to mind.”
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service