Young chil­dren in­volved at trou­ble hotspot

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By STEPHEN BRIGGS and KIRSTEN BEACOCK

CHIL­DREN as young as four are be­ing tar­geted by a po­lice in a bid to stop gangs of youths mak­ing life a mis­ery for shop­pers and res­i­dents.

Cam­bridgeshire po­lice are im­ple­ment­ing a dis­per­sal or­der at a trou­ble hotspot out­side Vi­rans, a fam­ily-run store in Paynells, Or­ton Gold­hay.

The or­der means po­lice can or­der groups of two or more youths to leave the area if they are be­hav­ing anti-so­cially.

The tough stance by po­lice was sparked af­ter alarm­ing fig­ures re­vealed that in May there were 44 in­ci­dents of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour out­side the shop.

Of those, 33 in­ci­dents in­volved youths and prob­lems ranged from kick­ing foot­balls re­peat­edly against walls to hurl­ing abu­sive lan­guage at shop­pers en­ter­ing the store.

Man­ager of Vi­rans, Naga Od­e­dra, said gangs of up to 12 youths had been in­tim­i­dat­ing shop­pers at the store for a num­ber of years.

He said the prob­lem is worse af­ter school.

He said: “Chil­dren aged from four to 16 gather out­side the shop af­ter school closes to when we close.

“It is quite scary for some shop­pers, es­pe­cially el­derly peo­ple, who are wor­ried that their shop­ping or hand bags might be stolen.

“There can be up to 12 youths in the gang and they of­ten pester peo­ple to buy them cig­a­rettes or al­co­hol.”

He wel­comed the dis­per­sal or­der, adding: “I think this will make things a lot bet­ter for shop­pers here.”

Lil­ian Tay­lor (88) lives in the area, said: “There are groups that gather out­side the shop at night. I try and go dur­ing the day if I need to. It is good that the po­lice are do­ing some­thing here. They can be quite in­tim­i­dat­ing.”

An­other res­i­dent, who did not want to be named, added: “They are gen­er­ally noisy and rowdy, like nor­mal young peo­ple are. I have heard there have been prob­lems in the past, and it can be very in­tim­i­dat­ing.”

The or­der comes into ef­fect at mid­night on Satur­day and cov­ers the out­side of the store and the car park op­po­site.

It grants po­lice the power to or­der gangs of two or more to leave the area if they are be­hav­ing in an an­ti­so­cial man­ner.

If the in­di­vid­u­als refuse to leave, or re­turn within 24 hours, af­ter be­ing or­dered to leave by an of­fi­cer, they could be ar­rested and, if pros­e­cuted, face up to a max­i­mum of three months in jail or a fine.

The dis­per­sal or­der will last for three months.

Neigh­bour­hood polic­ing sergeant Simon Goldsmith said the fig­ures proved there was a need for “hard and fast” polic­ing.

He said: “The area is known for be­ing a trou­ble hotspot lo­cally and it has been a con­cern for some time.

“The 44 in­ci­dents we saw are very sim­i­lar to the num­ber of in­ci­dents we have seen in the past in the area.

“While not all of the in­ci­dents have been se­ri­ous, it is im­por­tant that we tackle this.

“We will be car­ry­ing out pa­trols in the area as well.”

The or­der is the sec­ond to be put into force in Peter­bor­ough. At the start of May, a six month or­der came into ef­fect around a row of shops on Cen­tral Av­enue, be­tween its junc­tions with Ch­est­nut Av­enue and Sy­camore Av­enue.

Safer Peter­bor­ough Part­ner­ship Man­ager, Chris­tine Gra­ham, said the or­ders gave a short, sharp im­pact on prob­lem ar­eas.

She added that po­lice would be look­ing at the roots of the anti-so­cial be­hav­iour prob­lems care­fully.

“A prob­lem of peo­ple en­gag­ing in an anti-so­cial be­hav­iour has been iden­ti­fied and needs look­ing at, as the sum­mer hol­i­days are ap­proach­ing.”

Ward councillor Janet Good­win said she was de­lighted that some­thing was be­ing done.

Cllr Good­win added: “This must be good news for peo­ple want­ing to shop in the area.”

CLAM­P­DOWN: Po­lice Com­mu­nity Sup­port Of­fi­cers Josh Coe, left, and Matt Lauch andh Sgt Simon Goldsmith with the no­tice of the new Dis­per­sal Or­der at Vi­rans con­ve­nience store in Paynells. (METP-23-06-10PF013)

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