Public Meeting Regarding Community Safety and ASB
ASB and crime featured highly in the feedback from our community consultation, as a result WGTC arranged a public meeting which was held in July with decision making representatives from Thames Valley Police (TVP) and SaferMK. A summary of this meeting is as follows.
TVP advised those present that they are aware of the use of motorbikes, mopeds and quadbikes on the redways and parks and are working with the resources and powers that are available to them.
Under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 TVP have various powers in relation to ‘vehicles used in a manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance’ which include seizure. They confirmed that they have increased their patrols in hot spot areas and have issued multiple S59s. TVP emphasised that they need to know who is riding the bikes, which is difficult to ascertain from CCTV as the perpetrators often cover their faces, so if you know who they are, please report them. They also thanked those who have reported these crimes so far and asked people to continue to do so. This is important to do as it will help TVP build a clearer picture of the issue and gain more intelligence.
You might be asking yourself ‘What are WGTC doing about crime and ASB?’. Like TVP, we are working with the budget, resources and powers we have to help and there is no overnight fix. Back in June WGTC attended a multi-agency meeting held by Stony Stratford Town Council to discuss what could be done to stop ASB. It was decided that the MK Neighbourhood Policing North Team and MKC Road Safety Officer will lead on a campaign to deter younger children and their parents from buying these vehicles. This campaign will take place via signs, schools, newsletters and social media. They will also form a campaign aimed at current perpetrators to discourage the use of motorbikes in this way. Suggestions to put barriers across the redways were discussed, but the MKC Road Safety Officer explained that the redways are accessible to all and there are some legitimate users of the redways who would find barriers tricky to navigate, e.g., wheelchair users and horse riders.
We have also installed another CCTV camera in the parish at an ASB hotspot. Our cameras pick up a lot of intelligence and we continue to pass this to TVP. Our two CCTV cameras cost us £16,800 a year to run, plus extra if they are moved to different locations. Increasing the use of CCTV in the parish is not as straightforward as you may think and the money to finance it must be found in our budget. If the budget and how we spend your money is something you feel strongly about, please get in touch with your Councillors and let them know.
We hope our work to increase youth provision in the parish will deter young people from committing crimes and ASB, by providing them with meaningful and engaging activities they can get involved with in their free time.
In the wider parish, Mr Forbes, the pastor at King’s Community Church, has said he will restart the Community Policing Forum (CPF). The CPF is a group of residents and local business owners who meet to discuss problems within the community. Mr Forbes will act as the chair and be the point of contact with TVP and will pass discussion notes on to them. We will notify the parish when this forum restarts.
If you feel you have been a victim of ASB and need advice, telephone the MKC ASB team on 01908 252937 or email the MKC ASB team or telephone Thames Valley Police on 101 or report online.