Welwyn Garden City police threaten to ban badly behaved youths from McDonald’s and other locations
PUBLISHED: 15:24 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:32 18 February 2019
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Police in Welwyn Garden City are stepping up efforts to tackle antisocial behaviour in the town over the upcoming half term holidays.
Beginning today (Friday, February 15), officers from the Safer Neighbourhood Team will be increasing patrols to help deal with those responsible for nuisance behaviour.
Where offenders are identified, officers will work directly with the council’s antisocial behaviour and housing teams to take proportionate but firm action.
PC Alex Smedley, from the Welwyn Hatfield North Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We know that residents are concerned about young people committing antisocial behaviour in Welwyn Garden City and we are serious about making this an issue of the past.
“Anybody looking to commit antisocial behaviour should know that my officers are able to monitor CCTV across the town, both from within the station and when on patrol too.
“Over the past months, we have obtained the telephone numbers for the parents of those identified as being involved in antisocial behaviour and this means that every officer has the ability to contact their parents should they be spotted on CCTV continuing with this behaviour.
“Every report of antisocial behaviour, or every incident we come across during our patrols, is logged and recorded, with details of the offending young people so that we can build up a picture and take appropriate action.”
Such action may involve visits and letters to parents.
Since the start of February, the parents of two young people have been contacted and given guidance around the consequences of their children continuing with antisocial behaviour.
These consequences can range from the youth meeting with police to discuss their behaviour to being issued with Community Protection Notice once they are over 16.
The parents who have been contacted have also been advised around placing certain conditions on their children, such as introducing curfews and ensuring that their children are attending school or college.
PC Smedley continued: “We will be firm but fair.
“There’s been a number of reports of antisocial behaviour at McDonald’s, The Howard Centre and Gosling Sports Park in particular.
“We are working with these areas and will issue Banning Notices for these areas if the problem persists.
“This means that individuals will be banned from attending the location, with or without their parents and will be liable to civil action from that venue.
“I would also like to make clear that actions such as running on rooftops or breaking in to use facilities will not be tolerated and action will be taken against those carrying out such activities.
“I would like to urge any parents whose children might be doing this, to remind them that while it may seem like harmless fun, gaining unlawful entry is a criminal offence and quite often these free-running or parkour activities can be very dangerous.
“We are continuing to work with the council and local organisations to explore the possibility of new facilities for young people to attend where they would be able to take part in free-running.
“If ASB continues, we have the power to issue Section 35 dispersal orders which means that we can order anyone to leave the area for a period of time up to a maximum of 48 hours.
“I would like to add that this is a last resort, however, I would like to reassure any worried residents that should it be necessary, it will be used.”
•Anyone with information about antisocial behaviour should call the non-emergency number 101. Remember if a crime is in progress or someone’s life is in danger, always call 999 straight away.