Security brought in after teens target hall

November 24 2021

TEENAGERS wearing balaclavas have been harassing and threatening staff and users of a community hall.
The charity which runs Emersons Green Village Hall has had to pay hundreds of pounds for security guards in the evenings after a series of incidents.
Police say they have identified a group of eight or nine children, aged between 12 and 15, who have also been intimidating staff and customers at the library, shops and other local businesses.
In one incident some youths held automatic doors open while others ran into the village hall and tried to cause damage. During another, objects were thrown at a staff member’s car as she left the car park.
The hall in Emerson Way has now had to change its entry policy, keeping doors locked between activities.
Hall manager Viv Roberts said the incidents had taken place on three days during early November, two of them in the evening and one on the afternoon of an inset day for local schools.
She said: “We don’t know if it’s the same ones every time, because on the second and third times they actually wore balaclavas.
“They have got no respect. They like to come in and disrupt and intimidate – because we have lone female workers we’ve had no other choice but to get security guards in during the evenings.
“Because we’re a registered charity and self-funded, it’s going to knock us for six.”
Police neighbourhood officers are increasing patrols in the area in response to the reports of youths being abusive, shoplifting, riding bikes and scooters antisocially, and starting bin fires.
PCSO Supervisor Georgia Bush said: “We do take this seriously. Some of this behaviour – such as climbing scaffolding – puts the children at risk of harm themselves, while irresponsibly riding a bike through a pedestrian area could lead to injury to vulnerable pedestrians.
“We’ve written warning letters to parents and carers of some children, and others have been taken home by officers who have witnessed some of these issues.”
Officers are working with South Gloucestershire Council’s antisocial behaviour team to take action, including children signing Acceptable Behaviour Contracts with conditions such as agreeing not to go to trouble spots.
PCSO Bush urged residents to report all incidents of antisocial behaviour as they happen, by calling 101 – or 999 if a crime is underway or someone is at risk of immediate harm.
She added: “I would ask parents and carers to make sure you know where your children are, who they’re hanging out with and what they’re getting up to.”