A crackdown on anti-social behaviour is being launched in the Yorkshire Dales including bans on gangs of youths congregating in trouble-spots being implemented for the first time.
Hundreds of incidents of anti-social behaviour have been reported in Colburn, including racial abuse, underage drinking and intimidation, prompting the move to introduce enforcement orders.
Richmondshire District Council leader Coun Yvonne Peacock said it resorted to the “radical measure” after more than 200 reports around the Broadway shops area, Colburn Library, nearby flats and the Colburn Business Park in the last nine months. Other incidents include eggs and other objects being thrown at and into Broadway businesses and shops, large groups of youths congregating and aggressive behaviour.
The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) will give police and council officers the power to move groups on, fine them for unruly behaviour – and prevent certain activities.
Members of Richmondshire District Council’s Corporate Board are expected to approve a proposal to introduce the PSPO when they meet next Tuesday.
“Multi agency problem solving groups have been working in the area for some time and local people have been asked for their views on the issues – and the proposed PSPO is thought to be the best way forward,” said Coun Peacock.
“We do not take introducing such a radical measure lightly – but we must do something to protect the local community and the quality of their life. By imposing conditions through the order we can give the police and our council officers more powers to disperse the troublemakers – and impose fines when the order is breached.”
The two year order, which will cover the Broadway area, Colburn Business Park, the Chase and Albemarle – will include the banning of behaviour that causes – or could cause – harassment, annoyance, distress or harm; threatening or abusive people; the congregation of groups of three or more youths under the age of 17 behaving anti-socially; continued consumption of alcohol when asked to stop by an authorised officer; and throwing of objects likely to cause damage, injury or nuisance to people, animals or buildings.
“The order will be for an initial two years and can be amended at any time,” Coun added.
“It is the first time we have used these measures in Richmondshire but we cannot allow the problems in this area to go on any longer. We hope it will improve the quality of life for our residents, businesses and visitors.”
The district council has also bowed to public pressure and is set to fund the return of CCTV cameras to Richmond town centre.
Up until 2014 the town was covered by a scheme of cameras funded through a partnership of the district council, town council and local businesses - but they were withdrawn by the district council when funding was no longer available from the business community.
However, members of the Corporate Board look set to approve a £21,110 grant to pay for four fixed and three deployable cameras - which will be installed and run by the Town Council, next week.
Coun Peacock said: “Although crime is relatively low in Richmond town centre and the town is recognised as a safe place to live we have listened to the wishes of local residents who want cameras covering the town centre.
“We will look to help all communities and business associations wanting to operate schemes themselves. Our award to Richmond Town Council will pay for the cameras – there will be no on going revenue contributions for the council.”