Monday, 19 October 2009

Beatsweep – ‘On patrol’

On Friday night as part of the recent Beatsweep that Derbyshire Police has been running within the Gamesley and Charlesworth Safer Neighbourhood Team Area as part of their operation relentless, local councillor’s and MP Tom Levitt, joined the police on a walkabout with a difference to see some of the challenges they face around in particular anti social behaviour.

The motley group consisted of myself, Cllr Bob Mckeown, Cllr Chris Webster, Hannah Cocker the council’s anti social behaviour officer, along with MP Tom Levitt, Sgt Barry Doyle, PC Julian Gallagher and PCSO Lee Willows

We started off with a tour around Gamesley which I was pleased to see was extremely quiet in terms of very few people hanging about anywhere on the Friday evening. We then travelled up to Manor Park, where the Derbyshire County Youth Services had had an event on with an aim to tackle some of the potential anti social behaviour by providing alternative activities.

By the time we arrived at the event it was drawing to a close, but from the folk remaining it seemed to have been a successful event with around 200 youths from across Glossopdale in attendance, a number of us were concerned with the choice of venue for this event, as Manor Park was more or less pitch black as there is very little lighting in the park, and whilst the activity involved glow bands and fluorescent football etc and just from a health and safety point of view given the numbers involved it did seem that other venues in the Glossop area or possible looking at closing off a car park for the evening may be better than in the dark park.

However that said the event appeared to have been very successful, but following the event it seemed very difficult to get many of the those attending the event to then leave the park, and the noise within the park must be quite a concern for local residents around the park area.

Following on from that we viewed various other areas within Old Glossop, and saw how the Police work with local traders to try and tackle young people getting alcohol, we then returned to Manor Park and saw firsthand the difficulties that the police were having in trying to disperse some of the groups still left in attendance, and the number of them many aged just between 13 – 16 that were already intoxicated and showing very little willingness to observe the police requests to leave the area.

By around 9.00pm many of the youths had left many park, but were still within the area and the police took further steps including using a torch like tool that could identify if any of the young people stopped had had a drink or if they had bottles / cans of coke, could check the bottle or can for any added alcohol, and following on from one of these check a young girl was identified from just outside of the Glossopdale area, very intoxicated and with little clue of how she was getting home, eventually requiring the Police to take her home, taking up Police time unnecessarily.

We returned to the town centre, and the Police were able to make use of a valuable tool they have in dealing with anti social behaviour and that is to issue a ‘section 27’ notice which required a person that has been identified by officers as a potential trouble causer to leave the area for a certain amount of time or face arrest if they return to or remain in the area.

Now the section 27 notice whilst useful couldn’t help with some of the issues in dealing with groups of youth’s causing problems as it is only useable on people over 16, and whilst it might not sound ‘nice’ to consider using this type of measure on young people, when dealing with some of the groups of youths that were in the town centre drunk at 9.30 and beyond at night, it could help to tackle some of the issues before they have to look at arresting and taking more stringent action if the rowdy behaviour become more.

All in all an interesting evening that help to clarify some of the difficulties that the Police can experience when trying to deal with issues around anti social behaviour, it also helped fax in my mind how bad on occasions it can be people for people living around places like Manor Park, along with the importance of supporting any efforts to put on ‘diversionary’ activities to try and stop these concerns becoming problems.

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