Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Police crack down on youths causing disturbance at night

SEVEN youths in Sonning Common have been warned they could be fined or jailed if they continue with their antisocial behaviour.

Police have been trying to tackle a problem with noise and speeding cars late at night in Wood Lane and Woodlands Road since the start of the year.

Pc Sue Bradshaw told a meeting of the parish council: “We have had numerous reports of vehicles being driven in an antisocial manner up and down Wood Lane.

“We have had a large amount of calls from residents reporting noise from vehicles, loud youths and rubbish being left, including drug paraphernalia, and youths throwing cans and bins around and throwing fireworks.”

Police increased patrols over Halloween and on Bonfire Night and found three young people with fireworks and one in possession of cannabis.

Roads policing officers are being used in the village at weekends. Pc Bradshaw said: “These youngsters love their vehicles so we pull them over from an unmarked car. 

“It’s better because these officers know exactly what to look for when they pull them over.”

Now CCTV cameras are to be installed by the parish council to cover Wood Lane and police are urging villagers to report any disturbances in the village centre.

Pc Bradshaw said: “The more calls we get, the more powers we can put in place. It is not a waste of time reporting this, it will help a great deal.”

She said 18 youths had been identified as causing the problem and police had had meetings with them and their parents. 

“That did not work so we issued letters to them at their home addresses warning about their behaviour,” said PC Bradshaw. “Now I have informed seven youths who are continuing with this behaviour that they will be issued with acceptable behaviour contracts.”

This contract sets out what is acceptable behaviour and has to be signed by all 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.

Pc Bradshaw said: “I am trying to put in place long-term things because there has always been a problem outside the shops that impacts on the community and the police.

“We should think about how we can resolve this forever but it’s not going to be a quick fix.

“A lot of people think it’s just kids hanging around but they can be outside the shops until 4am.

“We appreciate that kids do hang out outside shops — that’s what it’s like everywhere you go — but this is until the early hours and some of the children as young as 13 are there until 1am.”

Pc Bradshaw said it sometimes took a long time to report problems when dialling 101, the Thames Valley Police non-emergency number, but said incidents could also be reported online.

The parish council has agreed to spend £700 on two new cameras, which should be installed before Christmas.

Councillor Dirk Jones, who oversees the CCTV in the village, said these would be able to clearly capture car number plates.

He said: “These cameras are more powerful, they’re all singing and dancing. From a legal point of view, only myself, the parish office and police can look at the footage.”

l What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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