Calls for action to quell ‘epidemic’ of antisocial behaviour in Blackwood
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
A Blackwood councillor has described antisocial behaviour in the town centre as an “epidemic” and is calling for tougher action to be taken.
Last weekend a dispersal order was placed in Blackwood by police following reports of antisocial behaviour.
Dispersal orders give police officers extra powers to direct those whose behaviour is causing alarm or distress to the public, to leave the area. If they return after being moved on, they could be arrested.
Cllr Kevin Etheridge has said he believes dispersal orders are not doing enough in Blackwood. He said: “Another dispersal order is not the answer. Once it is up then they just come back. We have had major problems in Asda, in the market place and the bus station.
“We Blackwood councillors have a hands on approach, but I’m in despair.”
The Independent councillor added that the issue was putting some elderly residents off visiting the town centre, and with schools closing this week for the summer there are concerns the issue will only get worse.
Cllr Etheridge hopes that a collaborative approach between the police, schools, youth groups, and local councillors will be adopted in future.
Sergeant Andrew Gibbs, of Gwent Police, said: “Antisocial behaviour (ASB) negatively impacts upon the quality of life for residents. It’s unacceptable for people to act in a way which causes misery and frustration to other members of the public.
“Officers have a range of tactics available to them, including dispersal orders, to tackle this type of offending.
“We’ve worked with local schools to talk to parents about the extent of the ASB and spoken to them and young people about the impact their behaviour can have on their town and neighbours. We have also recently set up an initiative in Blackwood aiming to reduce ASB – ‘Town Safe’ enables businesses and retailers to report incidents and share information around crime prevention.
“If you see us in the community and have any concerns about ASB, please stop to talk to us. This type of behaviour will not be tolerated by Gwent Police and we will continue to take action against anyone intent on causing harm and disorder in our communities.”
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