Time to get tough
POLICE delivered almost 200 letters to an estate this week in attempt to rid the area of rowdy youths and possibly turn it into an alcohol-free zone. Problems have come to a head in the Longfield Road area of Sandy after months of complaints by residents
POLICE delivered almost 200 letters to an estate this week in attempt to rid the area of rowdy youths and possibly turn it into an alcohol-free zone.
Problems have come to a head in the Longfield Road area of Sandy after months of complaints by residents about under-age youths drinking alcohol, criminal damage and abusive behaviour.
Youths often gather in the evenings on what is known as The Mushroom, a piece of land that once had play equipment on it.
Now local beat officer Pc Lee Prutton is leading a campaign to give residents a rest from the constant noise of youths.
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Local residents have also been given a consultation form so police and other agencies can build a picture of what residents need.
These include establishing a Neighbourhood Watch or residents' association scheme; getting the police to apply for an alcohol-free zone and making structural changes in the area and levelling the ground making it less attractive for young people.
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Police also want to identify and impose prohibitions on persistent offenders by way of acceptable behaviour contracts provided by anti-social behaviour legislation and get representatives from the youth service to engage with young people and to identify their needs and how they would like to see the area improved.
The letter signed by Pc Prutton says: "Over the past 12 months the pedestrian area in Longfield Road at the junction with Glebe Road, known locally as The Mushroom, has suffered a significant increase in anti-social behaviour, which has had a knock-on effect for neighbouring residential streets.
"It covers a range of issues from nuisance behaviour to some criminal offences and its consequences can have a detrimental effect on a community and undermine the quality of life of residents.
"In respect of elderly and vulnerable members of the community the effects of such disrespectful behaviour can be more serious."
Local police officers have already had a meeting with Sandy Town Council, Aragon Housing Association, Mid Beds District Council and other agencies in a bid to form a multi-agency approach to try and erase the problem.
The letter from Pc Prutton added: "These are our efforts to identify other residents of Sandy who have been or are being personally affected by or subject to the recent increase in anti-social behaviour.
"The purpose of our investigation is to bring changes to the behaviour of those individuals responsible, which will benefit them and subsequently the community."