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Community comes together to tackle anti-social behaviour

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Community comes together to tackle anti-social behaviour

By timesecholife on in All News, Latest News

A community is banding together in the hope of tackling an increase in anti-social behaviour in their area. The gates of Grindley Park in Meir Heath are to be closed from 6pm every evening, and new by-laws for the park are also being discussed, to name but a few steps the community is taking to combat the issue.

A community is banding together in the hope of tackling an increase in anti-social behaviour in their area.

The gates of Grindley Park in Meir Heath are to be closed from 6pm every evening, and new by-laws for the park are also being discussed, to name but a few steps the community is taking to combat the issue.

These measures come after continued anti-social behaviour at Grindley Park – including a bench being set on fire on Thursday, June 3.

Since then, a community meeting has taken place which included members of Fulford Parish Council, representatives from Staffordshire along with members of the public.

Chairman of Fulford Parish Council, councillor Dan Cooke, told the Times & Echo: “Over the course of the last month anti-social behaviour and criminal damage on Grindley Park has increased to its highest levels to date.
“Each year, normally in the holidays, residents and the parish council have endured serious anti-social behaviour but over recent months it has become increasingly dangerous and ever more frustrating for the residents of Grindley Lane, Sandon Road and Grange Road in particular.”

Cllr Cooke outlined what the problems had been recently: Residents are experiencing noise from groups of over 50 and in some cases 200; There has been serious fires due to vandalism of play equipment and park benches; Underage drinking of alcohol including parents dropping off knowingly; Broken glass strewn across a wide area; Significant litter everywhere; Commemorative trees for Covid victims broken and ripped out; Easter Trail displays mindless destroyed; Defecating on the playing field; Used condoms left; Fighting; as well as assault (both verbal and physical)
Cllr Cooke said: “This list is not exhaustive.
“Nightly, residents are having to call the Police and on many occasions 999 due to what they are experiencing and witnessing. Unfortunately the Police are not always able to attend due to resourcing issues or priority calls.
“When the Police do attend there is a lack of continuity regarding how the present situation is dealt with.
“Over the past few months the parish council has listened closely to the residents surrounding the park as well as from those that use the park whilst the problem is occurring or the following day – they have simply had enough and so have we.”
Fulford Parish Council hosted a public consultation on June 10 at Meir Heath and Rough Close Village Hall.

Cllr Cooke said: “It was well attended by members of the public, the Police, Fire Service and parish councillors.

Everyone was in agreement that it is the worst it has ever been and that a joined up plan needed to happen.
“An extraordinary meeting of the parish council was held on Thursday, June 17 which again was open to, and attended by members of the public.
“The council heard the many concerns from residents and were played a video of one of the occurrences.

Various approaches were discussed and debated and the following action were agreed to be trialled until the end of September 2021 where they will be reviewed:
“The park will be open to all between the hours of 6am and 6pm and then locked outside of these times. Signage to make this clear.
“The council also resolved to hold another meeting, where the following options were to be reviewed: Security to patrol in the evenings to turn away, detract and report any issues; A dispersal device to be fitted in an undisclosed location; A list of by-laws to be introduced at the earliest opportunity that will make various activities illegal on the park such i.e alcohol, motorised vehicles, excessive noise for example.”

Cllr Cooke added: “The parish council sincerely appreciates that some of these measures will disrupt those who wish to use the park safely and responsibly and for this we are sorry.

However given the significant negative impacts that these large groups are having on the immediate and wider community we believe this is the right course of action to take, at least in the short term.
“Councillors and members of the public that we have liaised with are not naive enough to think that these measures will eradicate the problem overnight or even completely but we have had to do something.
“With these increased measures and further collaboration with the Police we hope there will be a noticeable improvement.
“Finally the parish council recognises and understands that not everyone in these groups are committing criminal or anti-social behaviour but unfortunately they will end up facing the same legal consequences as those actually responsible for the problems.
“We therefore urge all parents to ensure they know where their children are at all times, to ensure they have no alcohol with them and are mindful of who their children are associating themselves with.
“The parish council appreciates there may not be enough activities or facilities available to certain age groups and will undertake a review and consultation to understand this better.”

The Times & Echo contacted Staffordshire Police about the antisocial behaviour issue at Gridley Park.

Deputy Commander of the Stafford Borough Neighbourhood Policing Team Nick Maingay said: “In relation to the ASB reports at Grindley Park and following our attendance at the public meeting a couple of weeks ago we (together with Stoke South Neighbourhood Team and Stafford Borough Council) have continued our focused patrols, targeted key individuals who have been identified causing issues and have requested a review of the Public Space Protection Order conditions to try and assist in the problems going forward.

We have also linked in with Stoke City Council to see if there is any young person support work that can be provided through local schools and/or in a detached youth work form.

The longer term solutions to this need to involve all stakeholders and including local residents as it will potentially necessitate by-laws and PSPO conditions which could then impact on access and use of the park.

Stafford Neighbourhood Team will continue to work with residents and other stakeholders to resolve these problems and urge local people to report issues using the relevant channels into Staffordshire Police, the borough council or the local parish council.”

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