Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) incidents almost doubled in the first lockdown in Knowsley in comparison to the same time period a year prior, a Freedom of Information has revealed.

On March 16, Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraged social distancing and people in the UK were told to avoid certain venues, stop all non-essential contact and travel and work from home if they could.

But it wasn't until March 23 that a UK wide lockdown was announced, which later saw rules begin to ease from July 4, when hospitality and leisure businesses were allowed to reopen and there was more freedom to see other people.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Merseyside Police published November 5 has revealed how many incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour in the borough of Knowsley took place in this period, March 16 and July 4, in both 2019 and 2020.

Antisocial Behaviour is recorded in three types, personal, nuisance and environmental (inc. noise complaints and fly-tipping) and in the 2019 period, Knowsley saw 932 incidents occur, a particularly low year.

But between March 16 and July 4, a period of the first lockdown, incidents almost doubled in comparison of last year, with Knowsley reporting 1678 ASB incidents.

Anti-Social Behaviour in Knowsley March 16-July 4

ASB incident data for the previous years for the period show 1874 incidents in 2016, 1669 in 2017 and 1143 in 2018.

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what's on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here.

The FOI, which also revealed how many incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour in the borough of Knowsley took place in this period, showed a decrease from 3784 crimes in 2019 to 3476 crimes in 2020.

Crime in Knowsley March -July

Data is routinely published to a safe level on the Police.uk website, giving an array of crime or incident data, broken down into crime types of violence and sexual offences, anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and arson and all other crime going back several years.

We also looked at figures between March in both years. It was not dissimilar, as according to the site 1475 crimes were reported in Knowsley in March 2019 and1413 crimes were reported in March 2020.

In April and June, figures appear to have increased for the months in comparison to 2019.

1202 crimes were reported in April 2019 to 1519 crimes in April 2020, with 1292 crimes reported in June 2019 to 1451 in that of 2020.

The month of May saw a slight increase from 1325 crimes in 2019 to 1468 in 2020 and in July, crime data dropped from 1445 in 2019 to 1434 in 2020.

Keep up to date with coronavirus cases in your area by adding your postcode below

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the current lockdown, Knowsley Crime and Communities team’s weekly walkabouts have continued.

Ordinarily the team, ward councillors and partners would join and speak with residents face-to-face, but the team now continue to visit areas in smaller numbers, whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Communities said: "We know that during lockdown there was a national increase of fly tipping.

"We saw incidents of this in Knowsley and there are a number of ongoing investigations by our Environmental Health officers to identify offenders and bring them to justice.

"This includes reviewing our CCTV camera footage from the 850 cameras located across the borough and information is being shared with Merseyside Police so that prosecutions can be progressed.

"Knowsley’s Crime and Communities Team is continuing to work with key partners including Merseyside Police, along with our residents, to identify and address the issues that are impacting on our communities."

Why we're doing this story - We have a mix of stories, many of them hugely positive about the city. We will not though, ignore crime as it impacts on many lives.

In deciding which crimes to write about, we consider a range of issues including the severity of the crime, the threat to public safety and the wider context in which it happened. We do not seek to glamorise crime or criminals, rather to shine a spotlight on what is happening in our city.

All our stories are compiled using a mix of reporting from the scene, background knowledge and experience, information from the police and our reporter contacts.

Anything else you need to know - The Liverpool Echo has a dedicated crime reporter in Joe Thomas. You can email Joe via joe.thomas@reachplc.com

Thanks for reading. if you want to ask us any more questions about what the Liverpool Echo does, please email neil.macdonald01@reachplc.com

Knowsley Community Policing Chief Inspector Phil Mullally said: "We take the issue of antisocial behaviour very seriously as we know the impact it can have on our communities.

"Merseyside Police is committed to working with our partners, including Knowsley Council, to combat all types of ASB and we have officers who work closely with the crime and communities team to address the issue across Knowsley.

"I think it is important to point out that Covid related incidents, including breaches, are all categorised as antisocial behaviour. This is something that is done nationally and would go a long way to explaining any rise in reports of ASB during the first lockdown.

"But no incident of ASB is acceptable and I would continue to encourage members of the public to come forward and report incidents to us so that we can take positive action."