Police Action on Town Centre ASB

Police & Town Council promise action to clean up town centre

Following an increase in homeless persons sleeping in the town centre and the persistence of Anti Social Behaviour by street drinkers, Town Council Leader raised the issues directly with the Police, the homeless department and the Town Wardens. Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover) called for a multi-agency approach to tackling the issue, asked for an immediate meeting with the new chief of police and asked for the matter to be brought up at the next Police Forum meeting where the Town Council agreed priorities with the Police. The response has been swift and detailed and includes arrests, increased patrols, a more visible presence and use of ASB legislation. There is also the assurance of co-operation with social services, housing and other community teams.

Town Council working with Police to set priorities for the town

Replying for the Police Sgt Kat Forrest said “Thank you for highlighting the concerns, I’d like to reassure you that after my meeting with the Mayor, Town Wardens, VRP (Violence Reduction Partnership) and the PCC Mark Shelford we have done the following to address the issues.  The town centre team have issued anti-social behaviour diaries to businesses to gain a better understanding of what the perceived issue is.  We have dedicated town centre patrols, with the assistance of the wider neighbourhood team to be a visible presence in the town and we are in regular contact with the town wardens. 

We use ASB legislation when grounds allow to disperse groups but there is a strict criteria that must be met, and we can not use it excessively as this would become unlawful. 

Town Mayor Mick Lerry engaging with shopkeepers and attending Police priorities meetings

We have arrested and charged persons with public order offences, and assaults on police officers and PCSO’s and two are currently wait sentencing.

We continue to work closely with Rob Semple (the Town Council’s new Community Services Director)  around the potential PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) which as I understand is sat at the consultation phase

There is a homeless team that will engage with the homeless community and Rob has been in contact with them as well.”

Sgt Forrest has agreed that at the next police forum she would present how they tackle ASB and what they require evidentially to do so.  She adds “Without identifying those responsible we are limited with our powers as to what action we can take.  However the two arrests recently calmed things, and we have had our officers from the mounted section carrying out high visibility in the town centre.  We are working behind the scenes with our anti social behaviour team to deal with the issue, but as I’m sure you can appreciate this takes time.”

Town Council Leader Brian Smedley calls for co-operation between agencies to sort out town centre

Call for Action

Town Council leader Cllr Brian Smedley said “We need the town centre to be a safe environment for people to live and work and we want it presentable for tourists and shoppers. We need to understand and provide solutions for the people who find themselves homeless and end up sleeping in doorways and we want the police to step in where they are required to. We have agencies devoted to all these aspects of town centre life and it’s time they worked together to get this sorted.”