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Plan to tackle behaviour issue

Report by Bob Horrocks

Anti-social behaviour meeting - image courtesy of Bob Horrocks
Anti-social behaviour meeting

A working group is being proposed in order to draw up a plan to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area.

The initiative was announced at an open meeting, called to discuss the issue, by Kerry Clare, the anti-social behaviour team manager on Welwyn Hatfield Council.

The working group would involve all interested parties and together they would decide on the best course of action for tackling all anti-social behaviour from littering to dog mess.

But local residents, attending the meeting at St Mary’s school, Welham Green, were warned by Councillor John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council, that unless local residents become involved the initiative will fail.

“Nothing will happen unless villagers want it to happen,” he told the meeting.

About 50 people attended the meeting including the local county councillor, Welwyn Hatfield councillors, parish councillors, the police, officers from various local authority departments, the chair of the school governors, and local residents.

Although not as large a turn out as expected, councillor Dean said it was high compared to similar meetings held in other parts of Welwyn Hatfield.

Subjects discussed included:

  • Motorbikes - confiscating unlicensed/uninsured off-road motorbikes driven on the road
  • Youth club facilities - attempts to run a weekly youth club at the Youth and Community Centre which closed due to vandalism and no parents helping to run it; an offer by Hatfield Park to provide facilities for youths but there were too many problems getting insurance etc
  • Guides – the demolition of the village guide hut due to asbestos, and being too close to houses for a replacement building or shelter
  • Reporting anti-social behaviour - insufficient reporting of anti-social behaviour for the athorities to take action; reasons given include fears of reprisals – assurances were given about anonymity
  • Light nights - a recent reduction in such problems in the village, which might be partially due to the lighter evenings
  • On-going problem - problem youths in one generation being replaced by the next generation making it an on-going issue
  • Monitoring the problem - funding a CCTV and a PSCO - the parish council not having funds for either
  • Funds - Youth Opportunity Funds which have to be applied for by a local youth group
  • Focus - officialdom concentrating on 13-19 year-olds, when the need is also to stop the 10-12 year olds starting to develop bad habits.
On the last point, representatives of the primary school said they instilled respect of others into the children but problems started once they moved on to the next school.

Residents of the nearby retirement home said they had good relationships with the primary school children but asked what changed these ‘little angels’ into ‘yobs’?

The meeting was told that anti-social behaviour must be reported to the police or council otherwise the authorities will must assume there was none.

Local councillor Keith Pieri offered to take calls if the police or council could not be contacted.

You can discuss this issue in this site’s forum.

8 August 2007

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