Police winning fight against crime

A CRACKDOWN by police on criminal damage and anti-social behaviour is beginning to pay dividends. Following a spate of incidents which peaked in November, reports of criminal damage in Baldock have fallen by over a third due to crime prevention measures.

A CRACKDOWN by police on criminal damage and anti-social behaviour is beginning to pay dividends.

Following a spate of incidents which peaked in November, reports of criminal damage in Baldock have fallen by over a third due to crime prevention measures.

Baldock police have been working closely with North Hertfordshire District Council to reduce unacceptable behaviour by a small yet significant minority of youth and young adults.

Other agencies and groups involved include British Transport Police, the fire and rescue service, North Hertfordshire Homes, Crimestoppers and Neighbourhood Watch.

Geoff Camp, senior officer in charge of Baldock, said: "I anticipate this blip is behind us now. Crime in Baldock is down year on year and the town remains a very safe place in which to live and work."

A 16-year-old was arrested recently after damaging a window at the former Truly Scrumptious shop in Baldock High Street.

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Insp Camp said: "This arrest highlighted the value of NHDC's CCTV system as it was one of my officers viewing live footage that witnessed the offence taking place."

Acceptable behaviour contracts and anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) have been used to deal with the more serious and prolific offenders.

Local ward manager Steve Gibbs said: "Two youths aged 15 and 17 have been arrested for separate breaches of their anti-social behaviour orders.

"These orders are aimed at protecting the community while allowing the person named to change his or her behaviour."

The officer is in the process of applying for two further orders and around 80 letters have been sent to the parents of youths spoken to by the police about anti-social behaviour.

Insp Camp said: "My aim is to intervene in more low level anti-social behaviour before it has a chance to escalate.

"People are being sent letters to bring to their attention what is happening on the streets on Friday and Saturday evenings.

"I hope and expect that they will support us in our aims. But I appeal to all parents to check what their children are doing or getting up to when out and about.

"For the most part this will lead to no concerns at all, but I am confident that some would be surprised and disappointed by what they might find, something the letters are designed to highlight."

Insp Camp added: "High visibility patrols have been conducted for several weeks now and these, combined with the deployment of a mobile police station, use of the town's CCTV and other more covert methods, have resulted in a distinct reduction in nuisance behaviour and offences. However, there is no room for complacency and there is more work to be done."

Baldock's police community support officer Chris Nash, said: "I make follow up visits to each and every offence of criminal damage, conducting house to house enquiries and developing any possible line of enquiry."

He is able to provide free crime prevention surveys for any Baldock resident.

Any person with information about anti-social behaviour or criminal damage can report it to Baldock police station on 01438 757388 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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