Kirkby locals air fears over bad behaviour

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POLICE have pledged to crackdown on anti-social behaviour in part of Kirkby after residents aired concerns about groups of youths.

At a meeting on Saturday police said problems with teenagers were emerging as being among the biggest issues for some local people.

Residents at the coffee morning, planned by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, said Hartley Street and Forster Street had recently become hot-spots for stone and egg throwing, among other issues.

Ashfield District Councillor John Baird, representing Kirkby West, said: “There are youngsters causing problems in those areas and the concern is there are a lot of elderly people who live around there.

“The problem seems to emerge at night with young people causing rowdiness and noise and we have had some of them stepping over the mark.”

Sergeant Carl Holland, neighbourhood policing sergeant for Kirkby, said tackling anti-social behaviour seemed a priority for many residents due to its imapct on ‘quality of life’.

“I’ve re-assured residents that we are on to it and we aware of the group involved. We are taking positive action against them,” he said.

“We are aware of a group of 12 to 14-year-olds and reports of throwing stones, eggs and general anti-social behaviour.

“We are dealing with the ring leaders and we are working with our partners including Ashfield District Council and speaking to parents and trying to divert those involved.

“But we will ultimately use the full extent of the law.

“We are using high-visibility patrols and re-visiting vulnerable victims.”

Figures show overall police have been making progress with the problem, with the total number of anti-social behaviour calls across Ashfield north down 20.4 per cent year on year.

Added Coun Baird: “The police are doing their best with the resources they’ve got.

“Most of the people causing these problems are known by the police already and they have been targeting the ringleaders.”

Police officers have been coming to the regular coffee mornings scheduled by Ms De Piero as a way to deal with residents’ concerns.

“Issues which have so far been raised range from anything from people not getting bin collection calenders to crime and policing, “ said Ms De Piero.

“It’s good to have these informal get-togethers and meet people on street corners - I can’t do my job without knowing what the issues are.”