I have repeatedly stated here and elsewhere that much anti-social behaviour (ASB) is criminal and Police should be dealing with it not social landlords. This case justifies my many comments that if you are a social tenant the Police don’t deal with ASB / crime and expect the landlord to deal with it. Even when landlord does get ASBOs the Police still dont do their duty - which we all pay for in CTax anyway – and still pass the buck to anyone else.
This is a chronic tale of Police incompetence (note the address was flagged as vulnerable as long back as 2004!) yet the prevailing police attitude of its the landlords problem / its on an estate therefore not our problem comes to the fore.
The ECHR report on this I have copied below:-
David Askew died of a heart attack in the rear garden of his home in March 2010. He collapsed minutes after local youths had reportedly thrown a wheelie bin around and tampered with his mother’s mobility scooter.
David was a 64-year-old man with learning disabilities who lived with his older brother and their mother in Hattersley, Greater Manchester. He had been subjected to harassment by at least 26 different people over a period of more than 12 years. Some of those involved in later incidents were the children of people thought to have been involved in earlier harassment. Incidents happened both at his home and in the nearby Kingston Arcade of shops and included verbal abuse, taking money and cigarettes off him and throwing stones at his windows. Many incidents had been reported to public authorities, particularly the police.
Following David’s death, one man, Kial Cottingham, 19, was prosecuted for harassment.
The police were aware of sporadic incidents of harassment as far back as 1998. In the period 2004-07 the police recorded 10 incidents involving the family. During the first spate of incidents from May to August 2004, the police spoke to social services regarding David and his mother. A CCTV camera was installed at the rear of the address.
In 2004, David's address was given a computer marker on the police incident management system as a repeat address with 'vulnerable victims'. That marker remained on the address throughout the period up to and including David’s death. However, a number of the police officers responding to the reports appear not to have been aware of it, often dealing with incidents in isolation rather than as part of a pattern of persistent harassment. There was a gap in reported incidents after August 2004 but they started again in January 2006. The police acknowledged that throughout the period up to December 2006 there were often delays in attending the scene following reports and a lack of recognition of the risks the family faced. Communication between the neighbourhood police team and other police staff was inadequate.
However, the neighbourhood police had instigated some support by raising the family's situation at the Police and Community Together (PACT) meeting in December 2006. At that meeting of PACT, ‘issues of offenders, removal of low wall and David's mental health issues were identified for action. PACT did not act with sufficient urgency in relation to these matters However the Neighbourhood Office did start to keep a written record of incidents of harassment which led to a more accurate picture of the amount of harassment being suffered by David and his family.
From 1 January 2007 to David's death on 10 March 2010 there were 78 incidents reported to the police, nearly all committed at or close to the home address. On only one occasion was hate crime considered by the police in relation to the case. That was on 27 June 2007 when a sergeant reviewing the incident report made the comment that the matter appeared to be a hate incident. The officer attending mentioned David's ‘mental problems’ and the fact that youths had called him a ‘paedo’ but then went on to state that no mention was made by the youths of David's mental health issues and therefore it was not a hate incident. None of the 31 crimes recorded from the 78< incidents had been identified as hate related. Recognition of incidents as hate related would have raised the profile of the problem regarding the family at least to neighbourhood supervision if not to the senior leadership team.
Giving evidence to this inquiry, Greater Manchester Police said ‘It was very, very difficult to get any credible evidence. David did get very stressed and agitated when he was called upon to talk about what happened. They also thought the experience of giving evidence would be distressing for him. This put the emphasis on getting evidence from other sources such as the CCTV but the recording system that was installed produced images of poor quality which could not be used to support prosecutions.
Other agencies, including social services, the council community safety team and the Askew family’s landlord, Peak Valley Housing Association, were also aware of the harassment. From around July 2008 referrals of many of the 26 youths involved in the harassment were made to the community safety team. A gradually escalating policy was adopted starting with sending letters to the parents of the young people involved in the harassment and then arranging meetings with them. Antisocial behaviour orders were obtained but they were frequently breached without any sanctions.
On some occasions, the authorities put the onus on the Askew family to avoid their abusers rather than tackling the perpetrators themselves. For example, the housing association tried to get the family to move. Similarly, the council’s solution seems to have focused on giving David things to do, such as attending a snooker club and doing voluntary work in order to reduce his contact with the harassers, rather than tackling the perpetrators more effectively.
In conclusion, this inquiry found that although various agencies took some action, it was neither joined up nor effective in dealing with the harassment, there was often a lack of urgency and no overall plan for resolving the issues. There was no tracking of repeat victimisation so the police tended to deal with incidents in isolation, rather than as part of a pattern. There were few consequences for the perpetrators. The presumption that David would not be a good witness and the poor quality of the CCTV images influenced the decision not to take criminal proceedings. The hate crime framework was not applied. 
1 The issue of communication on antisocial behaviour between neighbourhood police and other police staff is also raised by the HMIC inspection of Greater Manchester Police. Available from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary website.
2 The Independent Police Complaints Commission’s investigation into how Greater Manchester Police dealt with the alleged harassment of David Askew reached similar conclusions, although their remit was solely the police response. IPCC found there had been: ‘a lack of consistent identification of, and response to, the vulnerability factors affecting the Askew family; a total failure to recognise and respond to the incidents as “hate crime”; an apparent lack of coordination and cohesive action between partner agencies; a lack of robust offender management’. Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) website, IPCC publishes findings from investigation into GMP contact with David Askew, 21/03/11. Available from Independent Police Complaints Commission website.