Neighbours battle for anti-social solution

Patrick McPartling, chairman of Waterloo Ward PACT group.
Patrick McPartling, chairman of Waterloo Ward PACT group.
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Residents across the Fylde coast are still having their lives blighted by anti-social behaviour.

Youngsters causing problems in the street, boarded up windows and worries about drugs are some of the biggest concerns for people across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.

Despite Lancashire police being praised for its handling of the issue - and total incidents in central Blackpool down 14.5 per cent in the last year - it remains one of the problems most frequently raised at the area’s PACT meetings.

Patrick McPartling, Waterloo ward PACT chairman, said: “Anti-social behaviour is still a big issue in Waterloo ward.

“I was speaking with someone down the road last week and they had their car sprayed with paint, and it cost £1,250 to fix.

“We also recently had an ex-hotel which had a cannabis factory in it. Residents are frustrated.”

Anti social behaviour and crime surrounding houses in multiple occupation on Osborne Road is one of the key priorities for Waterloo ward.

In Talbot ward, all three of the PACT priorities currently relate to the issue, with residents complaining about prostitution on Central Drive, cycling on pavements on Whitegate Drive and drugs problems at certain addresses.

And PACT chairman Dave Blacker said close work between residents, the neighbourhood police team and the council was the key to tackling the issue.

He said: “Anti-social behaviour takes many different forms and a lot is what you would consider low-level crime.

“For me the key is neighbourhood policing and we have a very good attendance at our PACT meetings, and if we stand together we can get things done.”

In total, between April 2012 and April 2013, there were 4,687 incidents across the central Blackpool area, a reduction of 798 - 14.5 per cent - from the year before.

And Insp Jason Richardson, Blackpool central geographic inspector, said: “At Blackpool central over the last 12 months we’ve had a significant reduction of 14.5 per cent which means there are 798 fewer victims of anti-social behaviour.

“But it remains one of our key priorities despite this reduction, we know it is still concerning for the public and we are looking to focus attention on vulnerable and repeat victims.”

Coun Eddie Collett, Blackpool Council cabinet member for crime and community safety, said: “It’s pleasing to see that instances of anti-social behaviour in central Blackpool are down.

“But there is still more to be done. Regardless of numbers falling, that is no real consolation to victims of crime. Despite the improved figures, we won’t become complacent and will keep working to continue this downward curve.”

Last week it was revealed a report by Cardiff University had ranked Lancashire the top performing constabulary in Britain when it came to dealing with anti-social behaviour.

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