For some years, parts of our ward, Petersfield, suffered from anti-social behaviour, which was largely related to groups of people drinking in the street, particularly on Mill Road.
The Liberal Democrats, who ran the council prior to 2014, refused to do anything about this problem. However, when Labour was elected to take over, we immediately took action.
Firstly we created a Cumulative Impact Zone for the area in and around Mill Road. When a shop applies to the city council for a new licence to sell alcohol within this zone it is turned down. Applicants can appeal to the local Magistrates Court but with the police backing up and recommending refusal, appeals do not succeed. The creation of the zone has helped prevent the sale of cheap high strength alcohol in the area.
The Co-op are opening a new store on the corner of Covent Garden and Mill Road and have applied for a licence to sell alcohol. As this would undermine the Cumulative Impact Zone and lead to applications from others we have opposed it, as have many local residents.
Another measure we introduced was a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) covering drinking of alcohol in three specific places: Mill Road Cemetery, Ditchburn Place Gardens, and Petersfield Green. Such orders are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from antisocial behaviour.
The PSPO gives the police more powers to require street drinking in these places to stop, and is effective in enabling them to disperse groups of people. Unfortunately there have been instances where the police have not made use of these powers but we have a team of Community Safety Officers working on antisocial behaviour issues and they liaise with the police to ensure that appropriate action is taken.
By working together the community team and police have also been able to tackle problems such as a group of men who drank and begged aggressively on Mill Road, and another group with similar bad behaviour on Hills Road.
Nicky Massey is our candidate in May’s Police and Crime Commissioner election for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and as Labour councillor for Community Safety is responsible for overseeing the council’s work on anti-social behaviour. Her belief is very much that prevention work is vital to prevent problems arising in the first place, and the current PSPO on Mill Road is part of that work of prevention. Partnerships, including with residents, are key in this. It is essential that we hear the voices of residents, so we can be clear what their priorities are especially as regards policing matters.
If you encounter anti-social behaviour this can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please copy your councillors in so we are aware of the problem.