Combined action deters teen troublemakers

Published on: 02 May 2017

THE recent spate of anti-social behaviour in Downend, Bromley Heath and Emersons Green is reducing - thanks to the combined efforts of police, residents, retailers, schools, parents and council officers.

Beat bobby PC James Rochford told Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council that the action had eliminated “hangers on”, leaving only a hardcore of teenage troublemakers.

He outlined the wide range of measures that were being taken to deal with the young people and stressed that the main aim was to prevent them causing problems in the first place.

Letters to parents, sometimes followed up by visits, had proved an effective deterrent for many, he said. Four young people had been issued with Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, with a fifth imminent, and five had been arrested. 

Police had visited schools and given hard-hitting talks, he added, and in Emersons Green dispersal orders had been used.

“The majority of kids are good, decent kids,” he said.

Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Andy Marsh, who was at the meeting to give an overview of how policing has changed greatly over the past 30 years, appealed to the community to be understanding of young people “testing the boundaries”  and to continue to contribute to the combined efforts to combat difficulties.

“Strong communities don’t allow crime to flourish,” he said.

The Chief Constable said that nationally the number of young people entering the criminal justice system had plummeted, partly because of lighter touch approaches and earlier interventions, but also because the internet and social media was keeping youngsters off the streets.

Asked what people should do if they saw crime being committed in their area, PC Rochford urged them to report it immediately and not to take matters into their own hands.

This has been echoed on social media by the chairman of Bromley Heath Neighbourhood Watch, Bill Crocker, who asked people to ring 101 if they saw anything suspicious or heard anti-social shouting and swearing and to call 999 if they saw a crime in progress. Evidence was vital to enable the police to take action, he said.

Meanwhile, in Emersons Green, a CCTV camera has been installed in between the village hall and the shops and the police are working with retailers and organisations in the area.

A recent visit by the beat team to Sainsburys to meet members of the community proved successful in reassuring the public about the actions being taken. The team will be there again on Tuesday May 2 at 2.30pm.


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