17:46 Wednesday 24 April 2013

Police pledge on antisocial crime

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

POLICE have insisted stamping out antisocial behaviour in Burton town centre remains a top priority, as figures revealed that the region is one of the areas least affected by the issue.

Despite the issue being thrown into the spotlight in recent weeks in the area, East Staffordshire, South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire all ranked among areas least blighted by antisocial behaviour.

In the last 12 months there were 2,699 incidents of antisocial behaviour such as vandalism and verbal abuse in East Staffordshire and 3,470 in South Derbyshire.

North West Leicestershire was named as one of the top 10 best areas in the country for its antisocial behaviour record and in terms of incidents compared to population, each area was towards the lower end of the scale.

Despite these results, concern has been growing among shoppers in Burton town centre in recent weeks regarding groups of youths hanging around and causing trouble near Coopers Square shopping centre.

Business owners fear customers could be deterred from using the town centre, while a market trader put part of his decision to close his Saturday stall down to the increasing presence of the youths.

Meanwhile, in the last two months, three persistent offenders from South Derbyshire have been named and shamed and hit with ASBOs.

Chief Inspector Steve Maskrey, of Burton Police, said the low crime figures demonstrated the increased work the force had achieved in the area in recent years.

He said that incidents of antisocial behaviour had dramatically reduced across Burton over the last five years due to the police’s increased focus on the issue, and pledged to do the same in the town centre.

He also praised the work of groups such as the Burton Albion Community Trust which has gone into some of the worst affected areas to help discourage youngsters from becoming involved in antisocial behaviour.

He said: “This stems from five or six years work making antisocial behaviour a priority for the force.

“Every incident of antisocial behaviour is taken very seriously by the local policing team, which includes assigned PCSOs.

“What has been going on recently in the town centre is a new phenomenon for us. People have the right to go about their business without having to put up with foul language and aggressive behaviour.

“We will do everything in our power to sort the issues and will deal with them as we have in other hotspots in urban areas.”

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