Is St Austell a safe place? First Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy for Cornwall

As part of the Safer St Austell partnership, people are being asked to speak up and report anti-social behaviour so further action can be taken and people feel safer.

The partnership, which includes the voluntary sector, public services and the local business community, is responding to local concerns about anti-social behaviour, rough sleeping, drug use and street drinking in the town. However when compared to towns of a similar population St Austell has an average amount of recorded crime when looking at the rate per population.

In February this year a walkabout by partners found that of those who had seen or experienced anti-social behaviour many hadn’t reported it.

That first walkaround came just weeks after St Austell was under an unfortunate spotlight after the murder of homeless man Steven Bull in a children’s playpark in January.

Three men were found guilty of his murder last month. At the time, Steve Double MP called for Cosgarne to impose a curfew on it’s residents to curb anti social behaviour in the town.

Statement from Steve Double MP on Cosgarne Hall and St Austell: Calls for curfew, rejects that cuts are responsible, Council should do more

The research by the Safer Cornwall partnership found that people just post about incidents on social media rather than report it to organisations which can actually help.

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So last week partners undertook another walkabout, talking to local businesses and residents, encouraging people to report incidents of anti-social behaviour and street drinking and providing a leaflet with contact details to make a report.

Safer Cornwall has just published the consultation draft of a first Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy for Cornwall

“As a partnership we want to introduce a strategic mechanism to identify and facilitate further development to address key priorities linked with ASB” said a spokeperson. “It is important that we work together to exercise our responsibilities in order to protect the rights of those living, working and visiting Cornwall”.

Our overarching aim of the stategy is to ‘Reduce incidents of anti-social behaviour through focusing on the key priority areas identified’ which include –

  • Alcohol and Drug Misuse
  • Perceptions of ASB
  • Targeted Response
  • Vulnerability
  • Young People

Furthermore Safer Cornwall has identified five key strategic outcomes under which they will manage anti-social behaviour over the coming 3 years.

They will seek to ensure that:

  • Reoffending is reduced in the most persistent offenders through a coordinated partnership approach
  • Residents feel that the ASB issues that matter are being tackled effectively in their local area
  • Reduced impact of ASB on communities by targeting hotspot areas as they occur
  • Those at greatest risk of harm are identified and protected
  • Young people are referred and engaged at an early stage to address factors which contribute to their anti-social behaviour

‘This bridge is listed for a reason. It is part of St Austell’s heritage and its loss would see another part of town’s history gone’

In the exercise in St Austell the leaflets provide information on reporting anti-social behaviour, street drinking or discarded needles so that people can report incidents to the organisations that can then take action.

Details of who to contact to help individuals sleeping rough are included in the leaflet. The leaflet also explains that those street drinking are not necessarily rough sleepers and gives information about other organisations that are providing support locally to vulnerable people.

Sarah Necke, Community Safety Officer at Cornwall Council and representative for Safer Cornwall said: “The walkabout was a really positive way for us to talk to people, understand their concerns and tell them about the work of Safer St Austell. Street drinking and anti-social behaviour, such as abusive language and offensive behaviour, happens in many UK towns. If people see an incident we really encourage them to report it using the contacts on the leaflet, so we can understand what’s happening and decide how best to respond. ”

David Pooley, St Austell Town Council’s Clerk said “The walkabout in St Austell last week was a great opportunity for partners to be seen out in the town and working together. It was good to talk to people, hand out the leaflet and explain how people can report incidents of anti-social behaviour and dangerous rubbish such as broken glass or needles. I hope that people will also help by contacting Streetlink if they see anyone sleeping rough.”

The Safer St Austell partners have found that since they formed earlier this year they are working better on a daily basis, and are more effective at sharing helpful information. Over the coming months the partnership will continue to work together on initiatives such as continuing to patrol St Austell, developing the work already being done to reduce the levels of high strength alcohol in the community and provide Substance Misuse and Retail Training (SMART) for licensees. They will also continue to provide outreach work to help rough sleepers and those who require drug or alcohol treatment.