Wednesday, 17 August 2016
Newspaper column 17 August 2016 - St Austell editions - Addressing anti-social behaviour in St Austell
As was highlighted in the local papers last week, the issue of anti-social behaviour in St Austell town centre is a growing problem in the town. My office is based on Fore Street and so both myself and my team regularly see examples of anti-social behaviour.
I am pleased that following my phone call to the local Police Superintendent last week there was a swift response to the current issues with a number of arrests the next day. However, this needs to be maintained and I will continue to work with the Police and local council to ensure we continue to address the concerns of local residents and businesses.
We do need to also consider some of the wider and underlying causes of these issues. It is quite clear to many local people that the cause of much of the antisocial behaviour and low level crime in the town is a direct result of the number of ‘halfway houses’ that are located in very close proximity to the town centre. I believe the time has come to have a serious conversation about the placement of these facilities, not only for their current service users, but also for those who subsequently leave, for whatever reason and remain in the community.
Simply put, I think these residences are too close to the town centre. I have in the past objected to the placement of these facilities in their current locations and certainly think that a change in their way of operating now would do a lot to remove the cause of the anti-social behaviour we see.
Some people have laid the blame for these issues at the feet of the government, citing the cuts to Police funding. It is true that tough decisions have had to be made to ensure that we as a country live within our means and do not continue to rack up uncontrolled debt for future generations. It is also worth noting that, along with other MPs, I fought to ensure that the Police budget was not cut in last year’s spending round and I will continue to do all I can to ensure our local Police Force gets its fair share of funding.
Having said that it is clear that our Police face a number of challenges. The nature of crime in changing with more being committed online. All of us are far more likely to now be a victim of crime through the internet than we are in our homes or on the streets. As a result it is right that our Police adapt in order to face the challenges of modern Britain.
Locally we also face the impact of the thousands of tourists who come and spend their holiday here. Of course they are essential to our local economy but as we are all aware it also places greater demands on our local services including Policing. In my view it is wrong that the funding for our local Police does not reflect this increase in demand and this is something I am continuing to challenge the government on.
As always, my team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please contact me on either 01726 829379 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events