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Anti-Social Behaviour and Playing Field Security

24th August 2017 @ 6:06am – by Tarvin Webteam
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Much concern has been voiced by residents about the consistent amount of anti-social behaviour that has occurred on and around the Playing Field over the recent months. While modest compared to some urban areas, there is no doubt that the amount of litter and occasions of verbal aggression have caused real concerns. More worryingly, there seems to be sufficient evidence to suggest that the car park is used for the collection of and the delivery of, quantities of illegal drugs. While the only evidence from the Playing Fields is of marijuana usage this is not a course of events that residents feel should pass without action been taken.

The Parish Council is responsible for the upkeep of the Playing Fields and provides a regular litter -picking service to complement the bin-emptying service of CW&C. It is hampered in its ability to change the layout restricting access to certain areas of the field by the conditions of the Trust Deed which are imposed by Field in Trust. The current leases with the Tennis Club and the Bowling Club grant access to the car park until 10.00 o'clock at night and the volunteer who used to close the gates stopped after his efforts were met with increased verbal aggression from a few car users.

At the Parish Council meeting (Monday August 21st) some potential solutions were discussed and a sub-committee set up to come up with some fully costed, potential solutions.

1. CCTV. The Parish Council is seeking advice from the Police and will talk to the Kelsall parish Council who had a CCTV system installed around their Community Centre. Such a solution would have to look carefully at where the access to the camera feed should be kept, who should be able to see the feed and how long records are kept. Fields in Trust have no objection to the installation of a CCTV system.

2. Given that closing the gates manually can lead to potential unpleasant confrontations the Parish Council will also look at the possibility of timed, automatic systems to restrict vehicular access. Possibilities included a rising bollard or vandal-proof barrier across the current gates.

3. To break the current pattern of use, the possibility of a limited period of security patrols by personnel properly equipped and able to deal with potentially aggressive situations.

4. The Parish Council will investigate the possibility of applying for help from the Police Commissioners Safer Communities Budget. Grants of up to £5000 are available.

It was accepted that such solution would be costly but that solving the problem in a sensible and proportionate manner would be welcomed by many. It was hoped that costings would be ready for the next Parish Council meeting on September 25th.

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