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Young people and Anti-Social Behaviour in a derelict nightclub

Young people and Anti-Social Behaviour in a derelict nightclub and surrounding area in a Welsh Local Authority

A nightclub had closed down and become neglected. Because the area surrounding the building is secluded with easy access and no lighting, there was a rise in reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) at the location.

The ASB included arson, underage drinking, drug dealing, large groups of young people causing intimidation, and damage caused to the nightclub and surrounding areas/ neighbouring buildings.

This resulted in raised community tensions and increased demand for the local Neighbourhood Policing Team and other partner agencies, including the Fire Service.

A plan utilising the OSARA (objective, scanning, analysis, response and assessment) problem-solving methodology was put in place by the Police and a multi-agency approach was undertaken to resolve the issues in the area.

Various agencies and departments including WCADA (Welsh Centre for Action on Dependency and Addiction), Fire and Rescue Service, Community Alcohol Partnerships, Police, Local Authority Waste Enforcement, Licencing, Trading Standards, local business owners and local council officers were made aware of the issues and worked together to prevent ASB and criminality at the location and decrease community tension and demand.

The multi-agency work undertaken to tackle the issue included:

  • A weekend of action with partner agencies to engage with the young people and to deter the ASB issues.
  • An Arson Education Officer attended local schools to conduct lessons with the age groups identified.
  • High visibility targeted patrols were conducted at specific times identified from the reports.
  • ASB and Arson posters were placed at key locations.
  • The Local Authority addressed the graffiti in the area.
  • Waste Enforcement addressed the amount of litter and possible vermin at the location and considered taking enforcement action.
  • The local Neighbourhood Policing Team, ASB Officer, Crime Reduction Tactical Advisor and Arson Reduction Officer attended the location to speak with the owner, identify risks and provide target hardening/ crime prevention advice. The business owner took ownership in clearing the land and carried out the suggested improvements.
  • Neighbourhood Officers attended local shops to re-educate staff about the sale of alcohol to underage persons and to challenge young adults who are with young people.

The owners of the building have since transformed the premises, which has now been leased to a new tenant. The building is open to all ages, seven days a week, and now provides a safe space for young people to attend and take part in an activity in a place that integrates them with the wider community.

Due to the new use and accessibility of the building, no ASB issues have been reported at the location.

The building and its grounds are also secured after hours with locked gates at all entrances, which has deterred the young people from entering and congregating in the area.



As a result of the partnership action that was taken, there was a positive response from the public, with comments gathered via police and partner social media accounts, on a local Facebook group, and from within the community when Officers were on patrol in the area.

“This is an excellent example of local ownership by PCSOs of a community problem. Well done.”

“Finding a new tenant for the building will hopefully mean that no further issues will occur at the location, due to the increased footfall, late opening hours and improved upkeep.”

Lessons Learned

The importance of good connections between stakeholders and the community was identified when resolving the issues in the area. It was evident that one agency could not tackle the problem alone; a partnership approach was key.

By making the premises owner aware of the ASB and criminality issues, and highlighting their responsibility, a decision was made for the building to be refurbished and leased. There was a potential risk that leaving the building to deteriorate further could result in an increase of problems in the area.

Cleaning up the area and the building made the venue less attractive to the young people.

Visits to the local shops and schools meant that the issue was highlighted within the community and citizens were equipped with tips on how they could assist in tackling the problems.

Going forwards, it will be important to maintain communication with the new tenants of the building to ensure that the previous issues do not reoccur.