Antisocial behaviour discussed at MP’s crime forum

POLICE heard people’s anger and fears about public drunkenness in Westbury Gardens at a crime forum hosted by MP Michelle Donelan in Bradford on Avon.

Around 50 members of the public were at the meeting to share general concerns about crime in the town, but the only conversation throughout the evening focused on drunks in the gardens and their anti-social behaviour.

Janet Jory told the forum last week: “We have been living in Abbey Mill for nearly two years but unfortunately we are leaving because we can longer tolerate what goes on in the park with the drunks. Next week we are moving out. It is really bad.

“Two weeks ago I rang 101 to report what was going on in the park.

“I waited for someone to come but nothing happened and we ended up with 12 drunks in the park.

“Four of them had come of the train from Trowbridge, two of them absolutely loaded with beer, they were high as kites.

“They were totally and utterly a nightmare by 5pm in the evening.

“This problem is causing visitors to flee from the park and it is absolutely horrendous.”

Insp James Williams from Wiltshire Police said: “We have only had eight actual reports since January of that kind.

“We are aware of the issue and we are aware that there is a strength of opinion as there has been some talk on Facebook, but please remember that Facebook is not a medium for reporting crime.

“If you are not reporting the issues, it doesn’t give us the evidence to deal with it.

“I understand that last year your PCSO approached the town council about perhaps getting a public space protection order in place.

“Alcohol bans can be made by by-laws but again that is something that the town council would have to take on.

“We can’t arrest people for drinking in a public place, it is not a criminal offence.

“It is only a criminal offence to be disorderly.”

Ms Donelan said: “I called this forum, and some of you might think it is odd because there is very low crime in Bradford on Avon, however this means when there are spikes in crime it is noticed much more.

“I held two of these in Corsham and have since had a number of constituents from Bradford on Avon asking me to hold one so that is what I have done and I hope it has been useful.”

This is Wiltshire

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