A BOROUGH has been hit by a sharp rise in anti-social behaviour, councillors have been told.

In a report to Blackburn with Darwen's full council forum on Thursday, its health and adult social care boss Cllr Mustafa Desai gave details of the increase over the coronavirus lockdown and measures to combat it.

He tells colleagues: "Over the last 12 months, the council’s anti-social behaviour team have been working with the police and partners to address a significant increase in reported neighbourhood complaints, principally due to reporting of breaches in Covid regulations.

"In the first quarter of 2021, we have had consecutive monthly reductions on such breaches as the government began lifting restrictions.

"While Covid related concerns have reduced, however, wider concerns around anti-social behaviour have risen at their fastest rate since 2010, with several parts of the borough raising specific and repeated concerns with drug use and the anti-social use of vehicles.

"The team are working with the police and partners on both prevention measures and also intervention and enforcement in response, prioritising those areas of greater concern."

It is understood that the anti-social behaviour rise covers all areas of the borough with a concentration in Blackburn and Darwen town centres.

Cllr Desai's warning comes as the Lancashire Police stepped up their fight against yobs by joining a national campaign that brings together people and organisations to take a stand against the menace.

They have been carrying out a week of activities to highlight their work to tackle anti-social behaviour to mark the UK’s first official ASB Awareness Week.

Cllr Desai also outlined measures to upgrade the Blackburn-based CCTV system which covers the borough and Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale and Preston.

They involve extending the camera network already in place especially in town centres.

Cllr Desai's report said: "The CCTV control room is in the process of upgrading its software, which will allow the expansion of the existing network.

"Aside from increasing capacity, set against high demand from local authority and public service partners for further cameras, it will also allow the full use of four way high definition cameras. This provides a permanently recorded 360 degree view to improve the detection of crime as each camera location can see in all directions at all times.

"Alongside the system upgrade there is now a dedicated police officer based in the control room on a full-time basis.

"Aside from support in ongoing incidents, the officer will support investigations, continually reviewing CCTV footage and securing the best evidence at the first opportunity with the aim of further increasing the number of detections."