Following the Town Councils public meeting with Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstephens in June, and the local Police commitment to focus on anti-social behaviour in the town centre, this month’s meeting stepped up the pressure on the Police who in turn promised to increase their efforts.
Sgt Joe Piscina, fronting the Bridgwater beat team, described the actions taken including 3 court summonses, 10 section 35 dispersal orders and licence reviews of certain premises. Officers had been regularly stationed on Binford Place and pressure from the last Town Meeting had given him the authority to call for additional resources such as use of the mobile unit which was now a feature of the trouble spot. He said there had been a 20% reduction in ASB calls since the last meeting.
Residents say ‘enough is enough’
Residents were supportive of the actions being taken and understood the problems faced by the Police but still called for more action.
Resident Steve Coram said “There’s been progress but there’s a long way to go. When are you going to say ‘enough is enough’, ‘no more’. Our town is nothing short of disgusting. Firmer action is needed. When you compare this to the crowds of well behaved people out and about last weekend for the Quayside festival, with no trouble at all, it’s a real shame.”
Sgt Piscina said it was due to the consistent pressure from Town Clerk Alan Hurford that he was able to make the case for resources to ensure good police cover for the festival
Shopkeeper Adrian Fisher added “ASB calls are probably down because I went on holiday for a fortnight! The problem is obvious, when the Police are there there’s no trouble and when they go it comes back.”
Town Council calls for more ‘visibility’ and more ‘resources’
Town Clerk Alan Hurford said “What this shows is that having a visible police presence is a deterrent. When you have someone there the trouble seems to stop.”
Cllr Leigh Redman made the case for a single consistent number to call while Cllr Kathy Pearce urged more support services to stop the problems developing at source.
Town Mayor Cllr Graham Granter thanked the Police saying “We appreciate the work you and your team are doing and we understand it takes time”
Town Council Leader Cllr Brian Smedley moved that ‘The Town Council continue to support the Police actions which included that Binford Place be the priority, additional patrols extended into West Street, increased powers relating to ASB be given to SDC via PSPOs, that the PCC urgently investigate dissatisfaction with the 101 system and look at inter agency call logging, the lack of response to formal complaints, the lack of drug and alcohol services to support the work of the police to actually address the issue of addiction and to support calls for licencing reviews to target the potential source of the problem. It was further agreed to write to the MP and the PM expressing concern at the cuts to Police funding and to work with the Police to identify the appropriate level of resources needed to properly address the issues”
The motion was passed unanimously.