A SURVEY into how to deal with antisocial behaviour has revealed confusion reigns for many residents.

The study, run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Dorset over the summer, has found residents often contact the wrong agencies when concerned about antisocial behaviour – with half of respondents saying they'd contact police about rowdy and noisy neighbours.

Only 45 per cent said they would contact the local authority, which is the agency responsible for the issue.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent said they would contact the council if they had concerns about begging, while 39 per cent said they would contact the police – the correct agency in this case.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: "While many antisocial behaviour problems are the responsibility of the police, we know from national statistics that environmental issues such as noise and litter are a particular concern for Dorset residents.

"These of course are important issues which can have a terrible impact on people’s lives, but this survey shows residents are understandably confused by the mass of agencies dealing with antisocial behaviour.

"There’s a huge challenge now for a wide range of organisations to work together and make sure we provide clear communication about who’s responsible for what."

Nearly 4,000 people responded to the survey, with around half providing comments.

The study looked into people's experiences and perceptions of the issue, as well as their understanding about which organisation to contact.

A spokesman for the OPCC in-depth analysis will now be carried out into the results of the survey, and information about the findings will be made public once this work has taken place.

Details will also be provided to Dorset Police as well as to other organisations with responsibility for tackling antisocial behaviour.

Dorset Police Chief Constable James Vaughan said: "We are fully aware of the distress and upset that antisocial behaviour causes to members of our communities and we are committed to working with our local authority partners to tackle the issue.

"We want to ensure that residents and visitors to Dorset feel safe and are able to enjoy their time here."