Crimes going under the radar in Rodway ward
POLICE are not getting a true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in Staple Hill and Mangotsfield because many incidents are not being reported.
A meeting held to discuss residents’ concerns, held days after a vandal attack on a playground in Page Park, was told that recorded crime in the area was down 11 per cent on last year. But it also heard about problems police and council anti-social behaviour teams were unaware of.
They included several incidents involving a gang of youths on bikes, riding dangerously on the streets and intimidating pedestrians, which had not been reported.
About 30 residents from across Staple Hill and Mangotsfield came to the meeting at the Salvation Army in Broad Street. Councillors from South Gloucestershire’s Staple Hill and Rodway wards attended, along with representatives from groups including Friends of Page Park and youth group the You Foundation.
They raised a wide variety of concerns over issues including speeding, graffiti, vandalism, intimidation, flyposting and thefts from gardens by scrap metal collectors.
The meeting was chaired by Staple Hill ward councillor Ian Boulton. Joining him on the panel were Staple Hill police beat manager PC Huw Williams and Mark Pullin, stronger safer communities manager for South Gloucestershire Council, who is in charge of a council team tackling anti-social behaviour.
Mr Boulton said the area did not have the scale of problems that had led to dispersal orders being introduced to move on potential troublemakers in previous years.
There was a definite perception of problems, which had probably been “amplified” by social media, said the councillor.
But he added: “People just aren’t reporting it - if it’s a concern to you, then report it.”
Residents complained of problems getting through on the police 101 non-emergency line, and several said they believed cuts to police budgets meant officers had their “hands full” already.
One resident said: “I report less because nothing happens when I do.”
PC Williams acknowledged that there were sometimes delays getting through on the phone but urged residents to persevere, adding: “Putting it on Facebook isn’t reporting it to the police.”
Mr Pullin said the council’s anti-social behaviour team looked at and responded to every report it received but said it had had no reports of problems from Page Park logged on its system since April.
Who you should contact, and when
One of the main issues at the meeting was confusion over which kind incident should be reported to police and which to the ASB team, when to use the 999 emergency number and when to use 101.
999: If you see a crime taking place, can see a suspect nearby or there is a danger to life or threat of violence, call 999 for an emergency response.
101: If you are reporting a crime after it has happened and do not need an emergency response, call 101. Crime can also be reported on the avonandsomerset.police.uk website.
Anti-social behaviour team: If you want to report graffiti or have concerns over anti-social behaviour in your area, call South Gloucestershire Council on 01454 868582 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Police beat team: The Staple Hill beat team holds community beat surgeries every Wednesday. The next ones are at the Bean Tree cafe in Page Park on October 31, November 7 and 21, and Staple Hill Community Hub on November 14 and 28.