Police intensify efforts to tackle antisocial behaviour in Welwyn Garden City

PUBLISHED: 11:46 11 January 2019

Police are dealing with antisocial behaviour in Welwyn Garden City, inlcuding the area around McDonald's. Picture Danny Loo

Police are dealing with antisocial behaviour in Welwyn Garden City, inlcuding the area around McDonald's. Picture Danny Loo

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Police are carrying out a targeted operation to tackle Welwyn Garden City town centre’s antisocial behaviour after 35 calls were made last month.

The Howard Centre in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Howard Centre in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: DANNY LOO

Over the past few weeks, police have seen a spike in reports of antisocial behaviour, particularly in around the Howard Centre and McDonald’s.

In December, there were 35 calls to police about antisocial behaviour in the town.

This year there have been six reports so far, with none since January 4.

Complaints have included young people riding bicycles through the shopping centre, congregating outside the fast-food restaurant, intimidating passers-by and using foul language.

Welwyn Hatfield's Chief Inspector, Tannis Perks. Picture: Herts Police.Welwyn Hatfield's Chief Inspector, Tannis Perks. Picture: Herts Police.

In response to this, the Safer Neighbourhood Team have stepped up their patrols in the affected areas, first speaking to those young people responsible as well as issuing seven warning letters.

This is followed up by a home visit where those responsible and their parents or carers are spoken to about the matter.

Further police action is then taken in partnership with the council’s antisocial behaviour team if the behaviour continues, in the form of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts and Community Protection Warnings.

Last weekend, a total of nine dispersal notices were issued by officers in the town centre area, which meant all those engaging in antisocial behaviour – or those believed to be engaging in antisocial – were told to leave the area.

If they returned during the notice period, they could be arrested.

With regards to the ongoing work in this area, officers are in liaison with the shopping centre with a view to improving security, CCTV coverage and lighting in the surrounding area in the near future.

Welwyn Hatfield Chief Inspector Tannis Perks said: “I have now been in post for a year and during this time have seen some fantastic partnership work which has achieved a reduction in antisocial behaviour, making both Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield a more safe and enjoyable place to live and work.

“However I am disappointed that we have seen a recent increase in antisocial behaviour in Welwyn Garden City town centre over the past few weeks, particularly in the area near to McDonald’s, which involves a small minority of young people.

“Antisocial behaviour has a hugely detrimental effect on those living and working nearby therefore tackling this issue remains a priority for us.

“We have just welcomed a new Safer Neighbourhood Inspector, Wayne Nash, and he will continue the work already started to target those hotspot areas.

“Officers have been patrolling these locations using a variety of tools to combat the problem.

“We are also working closely with the Community Safety Partnership, in particular Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, to explore diversionary activities, signpost families to support services where required and liaise with businesses to provide crime prevention advice.

“My team will continue to do all in their power to crackdown on antisocial behaviour however I would like to appeal to the parents and carers of those who are causing these issues.

“I would urge you to speak to your sons and daughters and reiterate the message that this behaviour is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated.”

Police encourage people to always report antisocial behaviour to us so they can take action.

You can do so via the non-emergency number 101, online at www.herts.police.uk/report or via online web chat, where you can speak to a call operator in the force communications room.

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