Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Play area out of action all weekend

Over the weekend I took a phone call from our Focus Team editor in Haughton, Alan Macnab. While out walking his dogs in Springfield Park he saw that the whole of the surface of the play area there was covered with broken glass. I went up on Sunday morning to meet Alan at the park. It was apparent that dozens of glass bottles (an empty 24-bottle lager case could also be seen) had been deliberately smashed and strewn across the whole play area. There were also a number of empty cans, takeaway food containers and plastic bags.

Local people out in the park told us the trouble had occurred on Friday night. Alan and I phoned the Council's emergency number and Street Scene came out and cleared the area.

Apparently, according to the locals, this is a regular Friday night event. Under-age drinkers gather in Springfield Park play area leaving the detritis of their session for unsuspecting youngsters to step on in the morning.

As it happens, the vandalism was so extensive - and so deliberate - that the play area was out of action most of the weekend.

The Council tell us that the events of Friday night were picked up by the CCTV camera which monitors the park. The police were informed. Apparently, there were 90 incidents reported to the police on Friday night. Clearly, since the police failed to visit the scene, they are under-resourced on Friday nights. And since the Council disbanded the anti-social behaviour team warden service, there is no-one else but the police to deal with this sort of incident.

Yet, at the last Council meeting, Cllr Dixon assured the Council that, although he didn't know how many police are on duty in the town on a Friday night (!!), there were enough to do the job. Clearly this isn't so!

And why, if the trouble was picked up by CCTV and reported to the police, was nothing done by the Council to clear the mess up until we reported it on Sunday afternoon? The play area was out of use for most of the weekend. Why didn't the CCTV control staff report the problem to Street Scene? Why weren't the Environmental Wardens informed? Don't different parts of the Council talk to each other over the weekend? Why didn't the local Haughton Councillors know about what had happened in their patch and get something done about it? What has happened to the "regular patrols" which are supposedly carried out in Springfield Park?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just as well that the Conservatives have a plan to deal with it