ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour (ASB) in a Winchester district has dropped by a third, say Hampshire police.

In the last three months officers took 135 calls regarding ASB in Hyde – 33 per cent fewer than in the same period last year.

At a meeting with residents on Tuesday (October 23), Sergeant Matt Fancett said police had taken a tough stance on loutish behaviour after residents pointed the finger at support centres for homeless people.

“Hyde Gate has been our biggest problem area. It stemmed from two or three individuals from London who encourage others to engage in ASB. We took a robust approach. “For example, we received reports of two residents near the support centre fighting. We arrived and typically they wouldn’t have pursued it and the matter would be dropped. But we arrested them and they were both charged with affray,” he said.

Addressing the Partnership and Communities Together (PACT) meeting, city councillor Brian Collin praised the work of police in the neighborhood. He said: “I’d like to congratulate them on the work they’re doing. They’ve also put their results online and they’ve actually produced very helpful reports on there and I’d encourage all residents to have a look and see the work they’re doing.”

However, Alys Blakeway, church warden at St Bartholomew’s said: “We had to close the church doors a couple of months ago because of petty vandalism, which is sad for a church. They’re open again now but it’s very upsetting.”

Sgt Fancett encouraged residents to keep police informed through their 101 line and said: “This area will always have its challenges. We’ll never stamp out ASB completely.”

In July the Hampshire Chronicle reported that residents and shopkeepers of Hyde were angry at ASB from West View, the homeless support centre. Speaking at the time, councillor Dominic Hiscock, said: “It’s generally a peaceful and quiet area, and West View is a good organisation. But this is a serious issue for a lot of people.”

The three priorities set out at the end of the PACT meeting in July were to address anti-social behaviour in Hyde and in Highcliffe, and specifically on Garbett Road, Winnall. The priorities following the most recent meeting, held at the All Saints Community Hall, remain the same.