Unreported anti-social behaviour 'misconception' in Telford

Eyewitnesses regularly report vandalism and other anti-social behaviour in Newport, but the “misconception” that incidents go unchallenged remains, a council boss says.

Public Protection Group Manager Paul Fenn said students often got blamed for the incidents, but it was a “mistake” to assume they were behind all late-night disorder in the town.

Councillor Eric Carter said he had personally witnessed two men in fancy dress “stupidly” uprooting flowers outside a pub last week, and asked whether footage from newly-upgraded CCTV cameras would be used to prosecute perpetrators like them.

The Telford and Wrekin Council Communities Scrutiny Committee was discussing a report by Mr Fenn on the authority’s enforcement powers and activities.

“Closed Circuit Television is recognised for being one key component to enhance community safety while providing an evidence base,” Mr Fenn wrote.

“CCTV also provides a visible presence while providing reassurance.”

He noted that the council’s network of more than 400 cameras is monitored from a control room in Oakengates.

Cllr Carter, who represents Newport South and East, said he and town residents welcomed the increase in camera numbers and the upgrades some had recently received, allowing clearer, higher-definition recording.

However, he reported that a shop on the town’s High Street had recently had its window smashed.

“Before I go on, let me say that I am not against having 3,500 students at Harper Adams University,” he said.

“They are very good for the economy of the town. But certain ones among them do cause problems.

“I’m told that this is what this was down to, £600 worth of damage to a shop.”

Cllr Carter then described a separate anti-social behaviour incident he had witnessed.

He said: “I was having a pint of beer in The Pheasant Inn, and these guys were there, dressed up, as they do on a Wednesday night.

“Then, for some stupid reason, they went outside the pub, across the road, and pulled up the flowers out of the flower baskets. I shouted across the road and they both ran off.”

He said he was concerned people don’t report incidents like those to the police “as often as they should”.

“You might have CCTV, but there needs to be a report so we can get that actually looked at, and hopefully get the people prosecuted,” Cllr Carter said.

Mr Fenn said: “I get lots of emails from you, from all four councillors from Newport, and I think there is a misconception that people don’t report it to the police. When I speak to the police in Newport, they say people do.”

He added that the enforcement team had good relations with the university, but added it was a mistake to assume students were behind all late-night damage and other mischief.

A spokesperson for the Newport Safer Neighbourhood Team said officers had spoken to the business and made an appointment to examine CCTV footage in the broken window case. They added that, the week before last, special constables spoke to witnesses who saw damage to a hanging basket and potted flowers on the corner of High Street and Wellington Road.

“We caught up with a suspect who admitted causing the damage and apologised,” the spokesperson said.

“We instructed him to clear up the mess he’d left in the street, and gave words of advice.”

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News