Video: Shock antisocial behaviour figures released - Telegraph Police have lost control of the streets, the forces' watchdog warns as new figures show that an estimated 14 million incidents of anti-social behaviour take place each year one every two seconds. Sir Denis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, says the rowdy and abusive behaviour of yobs is a "disease" within communities that has been allowed to "fester" because police have retreated from the streets in the past two decades. In a report, he claims that forces have been guilty of chasing crime statistics and targets and ignoring anti-social behaviour or "screening out" 999 calls because it is deemed "not real police work". "We all want civility restored to society and the public rely heavily on the police to help this happen. But the police cannot do this on their own," says Sir Denis. "The public won't tackle anti-social behaviour on the streets while they fear reprisals. "Perpetrators need to know they are wrecking lives, the results can be tragic and that they will get swift action from the authorities if the public call for help." Earlier this year, Sir Denis disclosed that just one in 10 police officers was free to tackle crime at any given time because the vast majority were either off work or tied up on other duties. In the report, he says the "retreat" of beat policemen since the 1990s has been a "mistake that had undermined their connection with the public, and allowed some of these things to gather momentum". The growing "intensity and harm" of anti-social behaviour in Britain signals a "lack of control on our streets", he says. The report, entitled Stop the Rot, discloses the scale of the problem. About 45 per cent of all calls made to the police in the past year were about anti-social behaviour, the vast majority related to disorderly behaviour, the joint study by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, Ipsos MORI and Cardiff University found. More than two thirds of forces did not even know when they were dealing with a repeat victim of intimidation when they called, the report says. For the victims it is "a sliding scale of grief", Sir Denis adds, made worse by police sometimes seeing them as being part of the problem. Officials believe that only a quarter of all incidents, about 3.5 million, are actually reported and Sir Denis says there has been a "degree of normalisation" around people dropping litter, drunken behaviour and vandalism that should not be accepted. Senior officers have been accused of failing to make anti-social behaviour a priority after a series of high-profile cases, including that of Fiona Pilkington, 38, who killed herself and her severely disabled daughter in October 2007 after years of abuse from yobs. Sir Denis says the shortcomings often arise because anti-social behaviour lacks the same "status" as crime to police officers driven by central targets. "For almost 20 years the police record of accomplishment and failure has been expressed, increasingly strongly, in terms of crime statistics," he says. "Meanwhile, the 'non-qualifying' anti-social behaviour issue and its variants, that signal lack of control on our streets, have grown and evolved in intensity and harm." The chief inspector says an "early intervention" approach is essential. He criticises forces for screening out too many anti-social behaviour calls because of an apparent lack of resources. All 999 calls are graded by police forces according to whether they are an emergency, urgent, not a priority or if no police officers are required to attend the scene. The study found that only three of the 43 forces in England and Wales had a policy where all calls related to anti-social behaviour were considered urgent and police would attend. Too often police are taking a gamble on the victims safety by making it a low priority and not attending the scene, Sir Denis says. The research discovered that when police responded immediately, 83 per cent of victims were satisfied and problems were often nipped in the bud. Other responses by police, including long-winded, invisible partnership processes that resulted in countless meetings were making matters worse, he says. Assistant Chief Constable Simon Edens, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: What this report highlights is that where there is police action, victim satisfaction in the police response to anti-social behaviour is high. One study showed that almost half of almost 6,000 people surveyed had changed their routines through fear of anti-social behaviour, by avoiding certain streets or not going out at night. Earlier this year, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, placed more emphasis on community involvement. This report, yet again, shows that for too long this problem has been sidelined and victims, especially those who are vulnerable, have been let down, she said. The report found that 29 per cent of those who called police over anti-social behaviour last year had a long-term illness, disability or infirmity.