Dr Atton opened the meeting, highlighting an information sheet circulated on how Safer Neighbourhood Teams are dedicated to their Ward and can only be used elsewhere in defined circumstances. Another information sheet was also circulated on the use of overt filming in the Metropolitan Police Service.
‘Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour – the Richmond upon Thames Way’
Guest speaker Anne Lawtey, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames Community Planning Manager, gave a highly informative talk, describing the problems typically encountered in the Borough and the way they are dealt with.
- Large scale – drugs; prostitution; burnt-out, stolen cars; intimidation
- Persistent low level – graffiti; noise; nuisance
- To Registered Social Landlord and/or Safer Neighbourhood Team
- Some reports (e.g. noise nuisance) direct to local authority.
- If those organisations can’t resolve the issues using their existing powers, then referral to the Anti Social Behaviour Panel.
Powers used already
- Anti Social Behaviour Orders
- Parenting Orders
- Dispersal Zones
- Controlled Drinking Zones
- Direction to leave: individuals of 16 years or over can be directed to leave a locality immediately for up to a single 48-hour period. Refusal to comply is a summary offence.
After the talk, Ms Lawtey answered several questions:
- Is there a website where ASBOs are listed? No – it is felt that this would lead to a quest for celebrity by some offenders.
- What are bus driver powers with respect to people having open alcoholic drinks containers on buses? It was felt that this is a question for Transport for London (TfL), and Ms Lawtey offered to find out the answer (see below).
Sgt Davis gave an overview of police activity, before handing over to PC Threadgold.
The main activity has been dealing with disorder in Moormead Park. There was a problem with youths drinking and making a nuisance of themselves in the park. In response, a bench has been removed and the Safer Neighbourhood Team has changed their shift patterns and increased their patrols in the area. Since these measures have been taken, there have been only four reports of anti social behaviour from Moormead Park, and only two crimes in the area. Youths were using Moormead Park as a meeting point, possibly because it is on the edge of a dispersal zone. There has been some displacement of the problem to Cole Park Road. A short-term answer may be to increase patrols in this area and to work with Heatham House to engage with the youths.
Mr Adrian Fowler, a Cole Park Road resident, complained that residents had phoned the police on numerous occasions to complain about rowdy youths, but with little response. Sgt Davis reiterated that when residents report problems they should obtain a CAD number, which allows the police to track the report. Mr Fowler asked if CCTV could be installed in the road. Ms Lawtey said that the Council is wary about installing rapid deployment cameras without a thorough assessment first. Sgt Davis said that the response teams are very stretched, but have attended incidents in the park. Constable Threadgold suggested that Cole Park Road residents themselves ask the youths to move on if they felt confident to do so. Ms Lawtey suggested that Heatham House could mediate. Sgt Davis said that the police are having discussions on the problem with Heatham House, and meanwhile he suggested moving the youths back into Moormead Park. He thought that a CCTV camera would merely move the problem elsewhere, and he was also sceptical that dummy CCTVs would work. Sgt Davis said that he would welcome a discussion with Cole Park Road residents. Ms Lawtey suggested the residents keep diary sheets.
Sgt Davis reported on the latest crime figures for the Ward.
In the Borough overall crime is down, but in the Ward it has risen. Actual recorded crime on the ward is running at 328 this year vs 309 for last year. In Sgt Davis’s view, this is due to more proactive policing – more drugs and offensive weapons have been found by stopping and searching people (an increase in drugs offences of 25 this year compared to 15 last). There have been 63 crimes classified as “Violence against the person” this year, compared with 46 last year. This includes 24 more “disorder tickets” but is not an indication that the Ward is becoming more dangerous. Once again, pedal bicycles have been the most popular target for theft. There has been a reduction of 87% in robbery of personal property (muggings) with 2 offences compared with 15 last year.
A question was asked on behalf of Alison Parry regarding the problems along the road that runs parallel with the river at the bottom of the Trust Grounds in St Margarets, between Richmond Lock Bridge and Twickenham Bridge. In the past, problems included people sleeping in cars and revellers using boom boxes on the roofs of their cars. Most recently campervans have parked up overnight. The SNT said they were aware of the problems and that the campervans have moved off.
Policing priorities (attendees suggestions)
Dr Atton asked for the views of attendees regarding where they felt police should place their priorities. At the last public meeting on 15 May 2008, the priorities were deemed to be: robbery, burglary, anti-social behaviour and fear of crime. The revised priorities for the next six months are:
- anti-social behaviour
- littering (lack of bins, collection)
- theft of pedal cycles
- fear of crime
Constable Mai Robinson described the police preparations for Halloween ad Guy Fawkes’ night. There will be three ‘rowdy patrols’ (Teddington, Richmond, and Twickenham), and officers will be on extended shifts (midnight or later). There will be CCTV in each of the patrol’s vans. Shops have been told not to sell eggs or flour to under 18s in the period leading up to Halloween. A poster has been produced for those people not wishing to be bothered by ‘trick or treat’ practitioners.
The following note has been received from Anne Lawtey:
Following the recent St Margarets PLG meeting, I contacted a colleague at Transport for London regarding the query raised by the resident about how the alcohol ban on buses was enforced. His reply is below:
“Thank you for this feedback. The simple answer is no, we don’t have an explanatory leaflet. The ban was brought in as a Condition of Carriage and therefore is a civil matter meaning the police do not have the power to enforce the ban. This is the responsibility of staff and therefore it is to them that any observations of breaches should be made. The police have given their support to the ban and have fully supported our staff and any person suspected of committing a public disorder offence in refusing to comply with the ban could face arrest. The query has prompted me to look at the advice we provide to the public, and I am in the process of having a Q&A sheet drawn up for posting on the TfL website (and possibly made into an advice leaflet).
Next public meeting
Thursday 19 February 2009.
Dr Atton closed the Police Liaison Group meeting at 8.50pm.