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October Police Forum Report
Bridgwater Councilors had a chance to question Police representatives together with the new Town Wardens over various crime and anti social behavior issues across the Town at the quarterly Police Forum meeting. The Bridgwater Town Council Police Forum is an opportunity for the public to raise issues through their councillors directly with the Police. Notice is given in advance and all councillors are invited to be present to meet and question a panel of police officers, PCSOs, and Town Wardens. Cllr Tim Mander (Labour, Westover) chaired the meeting and summed up the issues covered as follows:
Street Drinkers outside the Nationwide – This is an ongoing issue which has been raised on numerous occasions and really needs tackling. Personally, when I went to withdraw some money from Nationwide I found the presence of half a dozen street drinkers very intimidating and I am no shrinking violet. The Police together with Somerset Council were actively looking at issuing Community Protection Notices to deter the gathering of street drinkers. Once again they asked, they asked that people report their concerns as they have to build a strong case to take to court.
Youth Violence and Gangs of brawling girls in Binford Place. Its incredibly distressing for local residents to witness this out of control and unruly behaviour of young teenagers. This issue is subject to the a separate piece of work by Sergeant Charmain Dyne which is yet to be concluded. Once the report is completed the Council will look to receive a full report back.
Electric Scooters – The Police confirmed that they are illegal although only Police Officers have a right to actually confiscate and they the Police take an “education” approach. The Police were also looking to work with large employers and schools to inform them they should advise staff or pupils against using or bringing electric scooters into the work place or schools.
Police in neighbour disputes – the advice given was that any difficult to manage neighbour should in the first instance be referred to Somerset Council’s community Safety Team. Noise and rubbish related issues will be referred to Environmental Health. But the Police are unlikely to get involved at the onset and it will be up to Community Safety to refer onto the Police.
Vandal Trouble Spots
British Legion and Old Hospital site – Both these buildings have attracted youngsters climbing onto the roof and hurling objects off. A group of 4 youngsters were apprehended by the Police and identified by residents as being responsible for climbing on the Legion roof. Hopefully action will follow. The Old Hospital site is now in Somerset Council’s ownership and the Property manager is working hard to improve security to avoid further vandalism.
Rough sleepers Clinton Cards – this individual is known to the Police and has been offered help by outreach workers. His behavior will be monitored as it is obviously causing distress to residents and shoppers.
After the meeting Cllr Mander said “The exercise was useful but it’s incredibly frustrating that the same incidents and problems seem to reoccur with such frequency with the Police at times seemingly powerless to act or react.”