United ef­fort to drive yobs from the river

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By KIRSTEN BEACOCK kirsten.beacock@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

A GRAND vi­sion to make the River Nene and the Em­bank­ment a cen­tre­piece for leisure in Peter­bor­ough has seen the launch of a new joint op­er­a­tion.

For the first time, Cam­bridgeshire Po­lice have teamed up with the En­vi­ron­ment Agency – aim­ing to rid the wa­ter of jet-ski­ing yobs and clear the banks of il­le­gal drinkers, il­le­gal fish­ing and other anti-so­cial in­ci­dents by tack­ling the prob­lem from both land and wa­ter.

It is also part of the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s am­bi­tious Peter­bor­ough Wa­terspace Strat­egy to trans­form the River Nene into a safe place for fam­i­lies and has also seen the agency talk­ing and work­ing with Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil leader cllr Marco Cer­este to try to get his river bus and wa­ter taxi scheme off the ground.

The op­er­a­tion to re­claim the river for the peo­ple was launched last week when the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s Nene Wa­ter­way team leader Sue Cant took neigh­bour­hood po­lice sergeant Re­becca Brether­ton on a boat to high­light the places where jet-skiers race and also to spot places to set up covert sur­veil­lance.

Sgt Brether­ton said: “To get the dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive and spot­ting ar­eas which we can tar­get has been use­ful as it has given us a good idea as to the places we can gather ev­i­dence from.

“Look­ing at the jet-ski is­sue we need to get more sig­nage in and make it more ob­vi­ous where the mad mile is. It’s not about stop­ping peo­ple hav­ing fun but en­sur­ing it is not to the detri­ment of other users.”

The op­er­a­tion, which will run for the rest of the sum­mer, will in­clude not only a high vis­i­bil­ity pres­ence on the river but also covert op­er­a­tions us­ing plain clothes po­lice at var­ied times of the day and night on the banks to catch of­fend­ers.

Pc Snowy Aga said they would be strik­ing when the mis­cre­ants least ex­pect it. He said: “There are three ma­jor is­sues, jet-skis and boats, an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour from drink­ing to drug tak­ing and sex­ual ac­tiv­ity and fish­ing.

“ We are putting to­gether a dossier of ev­i­dence in which we can then pros­e­cute.

“This is a beau­ti­ful stretch of wa­ter and we want to help the coun­cil to en­sure it be­comes some­where peo­ple will flock to.”

Ward councillor Mar­ion Todd backed the new op­er­a­tion and said she was de­lighted that the prob­lems blight­ing the river had been brought sharply into fo­cus.

She said: “I have said it so many times but the River Nene is the jewel in the crown of the city and we must at­tract more peo­ple to it.

“How­ever to do that we must en­sure it is an at­trac­tive place to visit.

“I have no­ticed re­cently an in­crease in cy­clists and dog walk­ers and it is these peo­ple along with fam­i­lies and peo­ple wish­ing to en­joy the river we need to en­cour­age to visit and not be put off by anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.”

Pic­ture: david lown­des.

pa­trol: Po­lice neigh­bour­hood sergeant Re­becca Brether­ton on pa­trol with the En­vi­ron­ment Agency as part of their new joint op­er­a­tion. (METP-10-06-10DL034)

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