Policy paper

Making Cotgrave Smile - Tilley 2011

This publication was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Main project objectives To reduce crime and antisocial behaviour by 10% in the financial year 2010-11 (2009-10 as baseline).  This would…



Main project objectives

  • To reduce crime and antisocial behaviour by 10% in the financial year 2010-11 (2009-10 as baseline).  This would be measured through recorded crime and antisocial behaviour data
  • To improve public perceptions (community consultation carried out in May 2009 as baseline) of the area. 

Organisation name:  South Nottinghamshire Community Safety Partnership
Part of a wider programme:  Tilley
Partnership agencies contributing to this project:

  • Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club (Positive Futures)
  • Nottinghamshire Police
  • Parkwood Leisure
  • Rushcliffe Borough Council (community safety / environmental health)
  • Nottinghamshire County Council (youth services / community engagement)
  • Cotgrave Town Council
  • Spirita (Social Housing)
  • NHS - Let’s Build

Areas addressed by project:

  • Antisocial behaviour
  • Criminal damage
  • Dwelling burglary
  • Violence crime (including domestic)
  • Drug offences
  • Alcohol related crime
  • Youth crime
  • Domestic abuse

Did the project involve an offender?  Yes
Sex of Offender:  Male
Type of Offender:  Youth Crime
Age of Offender:  under 25 years
Did the project involve a victim?  Yes
Age of the victim?   Various ages
Sex of the victim?  Both
Type of victim:  Community members, Householders, Repeat victimisation, Businesses

Region where project took place:  East Midlands
Type of area that project took place within:  Urban
Start and end date:  April 2009 - ongoing
Financial costs of project:  £186,000 (£66,000 from CSP and £120,000 for Positive Futures)
Source of budget for project: ** South Nottinghamshire Community Safety Partnership and Home Office / Football Coundation (for Positive Futures)


  • Cotgrave has the highest levels of deprivation in the borough with approximately 47% of the population suffering above average deprivation. Historically, Cotgrave has suffered consistently top 10 crime and antisocial behaviour volume levels within South Nottinghamshire and had attracted negative media headlines. A range of approaches aimed at tackling crime and antisocial behaviour were used but despite this the problem was not improving and perceptions were very poor.  A housing survey found that 50% of those who were offered social housing in the area actually rejected it.  Crime and antisocial behaviour were high and public perception was poor

  • Cotgrave was rated significantly worse for a range of antisocial type activities when compared to other areas within the borough and this included teenagers hanging around, litter and vandalism. Community consultation took place in May 2009 through structured interviews (146) and postal questionnaires (460).  People generally felt unsafe when hanging around Cotgrave, especially the precinct area and attributed this to young people hanging around

  • Youth consultation forum involving 90 young people from local secondary schools reported that the youth did not like gangs and lack of activities in Cotgrave.  The majority felt that negative media portrayals of young people affected the way they were treated in Cotgrave.  Young people requested football as an activity to do in their spare time. The first visual audit took place in March 2009 and involved partners from the borough council, Spirita (housing) and the Police doing a joint patch walk.  Problems with graffiti, criminal damage and litter were identified.  23 locations were highlighted and some garage sites and alleyways were highlighted as particular problem areas.

Initial scanning took place with data from a range of agencies including police, education and probation, with the key issues being highlighted including:

  • High levels of all crime and antisocial behaviour
  • High levels of youth crime
  • Repeat offenders and repeat victims
  • Precinct and residential area (West Furlong/Hickling Way) identified as hotspots for crime and antisocial behaviour
  • Main types of crimes were criminal damage (36%), violence (18%) and theft (17%).


  • Levels of exclusions from school were relatively high.  Just over half related to Dayncourt School and were mainly for verbal/physical assault and disruptive behaviour.  This relates mainly to males aged 13-15 years. Anecdotal evidence indicated that some of the excluded pupils were also responsible for crime/antisocial behaviour in Cotgrave.

  • The Council had the highest volume of antisocial behaviour in the borough.  Reports were mainly graffiti, fly tipping, litter an dog fouling and there was a peak in 2007-8 with over 400 reports

  • Cotgrave has the highest levels of multiple deprivation, including the highest levels of child poverty in the Rushcliffe borough.  It has a high percentage of young people and due to its rural location, the young people tend to remain in the area in evenings and weekends.  Congregations of youths in areas such as the precinct has led to reports of antisocial behaviour and fear amongst some residents.  The lack of activities for young people had led to boredom and in some cases escalated in to antisocial behaviour and crime.  There were also a number of repeat offenders who live in the area who contributed greatly towards the problem and in addition there were a number of ‘problem families’ for crime and antisocial behaviour.


Youth Issues:

  • Positive Futures Programme led by Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club that started in May 2009 to work with socially excluded groups, young offenders and those identified as at risk of becoming victims of crime
  • a youth worker was employed to work in the exclusion unit
  • leisure centre project - free courses were offered by Oarkwood leisure to young people
  • Cotgrave sports space - community facility opened in Feb 2011 which is covered by CCTV and provides a safe play environment for sports
  • gating order to prevent access to the precinct  through an alleyway
  • garages were demolished to prevent young people causing criminal damage
  • dog fouling campaign run by the Borough Council
  • regular visual audits

Problem families:

  • antisocial behaviour group - 20 cases relating the Cotgrave have been discussed over the past 2 years at the Multi Agency ASB working group and action plans have been put in place to deal with and monitor problems
  • sensitive lets - the local housing provider has implemented a policy whereby of a ‘problem family’ leaves an area (or is evicted) then they will let the property sensitively so as to not have the same problem again
  • warnings/enforcements

Repeat  Offenders/victims:

  • Operation Bagreef (Repeat Offender Project using principles of IOM)
  • ASB Pilot whereby victims were visited and risk assessed to enable closer monitoring
  • Raising awareness of domestic abuse amongst young adults through the youth forum etc.

Precinct Area:

  • Challenge 25 - initiative to reduce the availability of alcohol and reduce antisocial behaviour
  • Review of licence at the takeaway after reports of ‘out of hours sales’

Public Perception:

  • Members of action group have attended and organised events in Cotgrave to engage with members of the community and provide opportunities for advice and awareness raising
  • Regular articles included in the Cotgrave Connections Magazine to keep residents aware of the work that has been taking place.

Evaluation Details: 

  • A control group was identified and this was chosen because it shared similar characteristics (but not all) with Cotgrave.  The control group is independent and has not received co-ordinated treatment whereas the borough/CSP area comparison will have been directly influenced by the reductions in Cotgrave.
    In excess of 600 community members were surveyed in 2009 and in 2011 (lower at 373).  The survey was in the format of a questionnaire and a number of questions from the first survey were repeated.


  • There were 551 crimes in 2009/10 and 333 in 2001/12 (39.6% reduction).  This compares to a 12.8% reduction in the CSP area and a 13% increase in the control group over the same period
  • Cotgrave has gone from a persistent top 10 crime ward to being ranked 16th in 2010-11
  • As of July 2011, low levels of crime have been maintained in Cotgrave and year to date, there is a 13% reduction in all crime
  • In the last year, Cotgrave had the 24th highest levels but in 2010-11, there was a 75% reduction in offences committed by young offenders and also a 50% reduction in the volume of young people committing offences
  • There was a 16.5% reduction in antisocial behaviour in Cotgrave in 2010-11 compared to a 2.5% increase in the CSP area and a 25.6% increase in the control group over the same period of time
  • In 2011, 67% of people surveyed said they felt safe when walking around Cotgrave, compared to 47% in 2009
  • In the 2011 survey, a lower proportion thought house burglary, shed burglary, car crime, assaults and muggings were an issue.  Drug dealing and speeding vehicles remained the top issues but the perceived extents of the issues were reduced, showing positive improvements in perceptions.
    In 2010-11, the residential area was no longer a hotspot for crime.  Although the precinct was still the overall hotspot, crime had reduced by 36%.  The precinct was no longer a hotspot for antisocial behaviour and neither was the leisure centre.

Other Benefits: 

  • The relationships developed between the town council and borough council through this process has enabled much smoother progression of the master plan for Cotgrave which is a large regeneration project that will mean extensive changes to the future of the two centre

  • A work club is being developed for the area in partnership between Rushcliffe borough council, Positive Futures, Job Centre Plus and a local business.  This is in the very early stages but is already attracting 10+ local people each week.  It is hoped that this will increase the employability of local residents.  This is linked in the master plan project as this will of course open up employment opportunities that will be ring fenced for local people

  • The Positive Futures project has linked in with the local police beat team and this has meant good relationships are being built between the team and the local young people who were once identified as a problem in the area.  This has been done through attendance at residential and the engagement of the Officers in the activities so the young people get to know them on an informal basis.

Most important lessons:

  • Keeping local councillors informed and engaged is a really useful way of getting positive messages out about the project and involving the wider community
  • The use of police to target and patrol identified hotspot areas is a simple but excellent way to improve public confidence and reassurance
  • Regular meetings of the officers group have meant that any issues or barriers have been overcome quickly and it provides a chance to share new ideas and look at ways to work together on new projects

Things to do differently:

  • Whilst the community are positive about the project and the results achieved there has been limited real community engagement in the project.  Existing groups are now going to be utilised for engagement rather than trying to establish a new group
  • A lack of engagement of come partners in the initial stages of the project caused some delay in some of the work getting started
  • Working relationships with the local primary schools is just starting to progress and some excellent work is being done with them.  Ideally this would have happened earlier on in the project but there was some difficulty in getting a consistent contact at the schools.  A new worker is now in post that links in to the project.

Contact Name:  Sally Jackson
Email Address:  Sally.jackson@nottinghamshire.pnn.police.uk
Organisation:  South Nottinghamshire CSP

This evaluation shows the findings of one of many successful approaches to reducing antisocial behaviour. 

By promoting this material on the Effective Practice Publications area of the Home Office website we are not implying that this is the only effective approach to reducing antisocial behaviour, we are merely suggesting that this is one approach that appears to yield successful outcomes.

Date: Mon Apr 23 11:06:51 BST 2012

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