Residents have raised concerns with us as your Labour councillors about anti-social behaviour by some groups of young people in and around Commercial Street in Rothwell, gathering outside Morrisons and the town centre. The police tell us that there have been a high number of calls for service, 23 in the last three months from there.
This many young people in a group acting boisterously is intimidating for many shoppers. The vast majority of local youngsters are responsible and wouldn’t cause these problems, but we’ve got to do something about the small minority who cause big problems.
We’re working closely with local police, youth workers and Morrisons to tackle the problem. We have asked for the town centre to be a top priority for police presence. When confronted with evidence that their child has been misbehaving in the town centre, some parents have been shocked.
Police budgets have been cut so much by this Conservative government, helped in the first term of Tory office by the Liberal Democrats, that there aren’t enough police officers. They’ve cut nearly 1,000 police officers from West Yorkshire. Our local police officers and PCSOs are brilliant, but we desperately need more of them.
I called a meeting last week at Blackburn Hall in Rothwell with police, Morrisons, anti-social behaviour officer and youth services. Lots of positive actions were discussed, the main points to move forward with:
· Police presence to be boosted in the town centre, especially at problem times.
· Morrisons, police and anti-social behaviour unit to work on a plan together to combat problems
· Orders being pursued on ring leaders.
· We are looking into upgrading CCTV in the town centre and Morrisons are to get CCTV in foyer.
· Security at Morrisons need to be consistent with different staff taking the same approach. Police to look at bespoke training for staff.
Another meeting will be arranged for June to assess progress. It has already helped that local people have reported incidents and this has backed us up in getting more police presence in the town centre. Any further incidents should be reported by phoning 101.
We can assure you that stamping out anti social behaviour is a priority for us. I know as a local resident that the Rothwell area is a lovely place to live and I am determined will remain so.