Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Light and cameras needed to stop antisocial behaviour

MORE lighting is to be installed in the centre of Sonning Common to deter antisocial behaviour.

It follows a request by Pc Sue Bradshaw for the area outside the One Stop shop in Wood Lane to be better lit as this where youths often congregate.

Staff often have to ask the teenagers to move on but are greeted with verbal abuse.

Pc Bradshaw asked the company to install a light on the outside of the shop but it said that it couldn’t afford this.

Now Sommon Common Parish Council has agreed to pay for the light and installation.

Councillor Dirk Jones, who
co-ordinates the 10 CCTV cameras in the village, said that youths were sometimes in the area until 3am.

Speaking at a council meeting, he said: “We want to light the localised area to have a look and try not to spread it.  Hopefully, this won’t be there forever. It might just be for the summer. It’s a temporary plan to help the police.”

Councillor Stuart Howe said he came home at 3am one Sunday recently and there was a group of people outside the village hall, which is next door to the shop.

When he got out of his taxi, they ran off along Woodlands Road.

Councillor Carole Lewis said a team of police officers had to forcibly remove someone from the skate park at Bishopswood recreation ground last month.

Council chairman Douglas Kedge said he had a meeting with Pc Bradshaw and an antisocial behaviour officer to discuss the issue.

He said: “It was a very good meeting and they were excellent in understanding the situation.

“I can assure you local police are doing the best they can and are taking all possible action.”

Councillor Kedge said the new light would be used in tandem with some of the council’s CCTV cameras around the hall.

“The main problems are outside the One Stop,” he said.  “Staff come outside and ask the youngsters to go away and they get a lot of abuse.

“Pc Bradshaw has written to One Stop, asking them to put a light up for good reasons but I understand they won’t be able to fund it. She thinks there should be a light on that area.”

Councillor Tom Fort, who lives in Wood Lane, said he was concerned about light pollution. He said: “I live opposite and wonder how bright it would be. Bright lights in residential areas in the hours of darkness would be a concern.”

Councillor Leigh Rawlins added: “We should make sure the light shines on the relevant area and does not cause too much light pollution.

“Maybe it could be LED and be able to stand up to the kind of abuse it’s likely to receive.”

In November police issued seven youths from the village with a behaviour contract, which sets out what is acceptable behaviour and has to be signed by all the parties involved.

If it is breached, an antisocial behaviour order could be issued and a breach of that could result in a fine or a prison sentence.

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