MS provided the Forum with an updated from Tom Maccabe, the Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, in lieu of attendance and an update from the Police. The update read as follows;
“South Wigston Fairfield Park
At the end of September 2018, Leicestershire Police received emails from a resident in the Fairfield estate reporting anti-social behaviour from youths at the park. Police did a consultation on Sussex Road as a result of the emails from a resident. One resident was concerned with the bad language and litter although the other residents were not concerned with the increased number of youths using the park. Advice was given to contact the police if issues arise.
Two phone calls were reported to the police after the consultation, one on the 29/09/2018 and the other on 30/09/2018. They were informing police that youths were drinking alcohol on the park and attempting to set objects on fire. They second call informed police that youths were drunk on the park and throwing bottles around. The police attended and stated that there were different groups of youths using the park each time but all the youths were doing was playing music (not loud). They did not find any evidence of fires and youths were not drunk.
A further call was received by the police on 01/10/2018 stating that youths were playing loud music and drinking on the park. Officers again attended and located approximately 30 youths. There some signs alcohol and music was being played loud. Police requested that the youths left the park due to the issues and they did. One youths detail was taken due to being argumentative. Two other youth’s details were taken due to drinking alcohol and visits were made to their home addresses.
The IMPACT team from the Youth Offending Service received a referral to work in the area and were present from 03/10/2018.
Proactive patrols were conducted by officers who found the same group who were playing loud music on the park before, now were using a grassy area near to the park by the shops and flats. They were causing no issues at the time. More patrols were conducted throughout October but when on the park, no youths were causing issues.
Emails were being received by the same resident reporting that the issues were still continuing however no phone call at the time of the problems were made to the police which is the advice they were given. The IMPACT team advised that there were a large number of youths using the park but were causing no issues.
A further joint consultation was completed by the council and police towards the end of October. Again, the consensus was that although there are more youths using the park and can be noisy at times, they caused the residents no issues. One resident advised us of a problem that they have had with the youth. Again, advice was given to report incidents on 101.
A final report was made to the police on 20/10/2018 where youths were playing loud music and drinking alcohol. No officers attended.
I am awaiting a final update from the IMPACT team. 4 phone calls have been received by Leicestershire Police since 01/09/2018 – 3 of which have been attended.
Police were receiving reports at the start of September 2018 that youths were accessing the roofs of shops on Bell Street and entering the derelict building on Long Street. Work is now being completed on the derelict building to secure the site and the police and council are in talks with a landlord to secure the back of shops which is where youths have been accessing the roofs from. Further to this, the police also received reports of some youths being verbally abusive to staff in shops as well as causing problems both in shops and outside of them. Several youths have been identified by police attending incidents reported and CCTV being obtained.
Some of those who have been identified have been given disposals through the incremental approach to anti-social behaviour, warning letters, advice letters etc. as well as referrals being made to the Youth Offending Service. 3 youths who have been identified as causing issues have also recently signed Acceptable Behaviour Contracts late in October 2018 in conjunction with the police, council and Youth Offending where there are certain conditions they have to abide to.
As in the press, on Monday 29 October 2018, a police officer attended a report of anti-social behaviour in the town centre of Wigston and was subsequently assaulted by a 12 year old who was arrested. There is an open investigation into this. As a result of this and other phone calls received on that same evening, a Section 35 Dispersal Order was signed off by the police and put in place. This gives police the power to remove anybody causing anti-social behaviour within the areas specified in the order, namely the town centre and surrounding areas.
Patrols are being conducted by the police in the evenings when possible and we are working together to further identify youths causing issues in the Borough.”
The Forum raised concerns about the lack of communication the Council had received about the referrals made by the Police to the IMPACT Team. Both the Chair and MS confirmed that the first the Council knew about the referrals was when a member of County Council staff emailed South Wigston members informing them that the IMPACT Team was to be starting work in the Borough. MS has stated that the matter is to be raised at the next meeting of the Community Safety Partnership on 10 December 2018.
It was noted that the issues in Wigston had been picked up by the press which is developing a bad image for all young people in the Borough.