Police action on underage drinking

Regular readers will remember I raised the problem of underage drinking at Smannell Road open space and the resultant nuisance to local residents and litter it caused. See the previous items at
http://lengates.mycouncillor.org.uk/2010/06/28/litter-at-smannell-road-open-space/  http://lengates.mycouncillor.org.uk/2010/06/21/call-time-on-24-hour-drinking/

I am pleased to report the police have been dealing with this and as a result have served a closure notice on Tesco Stores Limited in relation to the Tesco Express at Compton Square. This is because the shop has failed two under age alcohol test purchasing operations within the last three months. The police have the power, and have decided, that the shop will not sell alcohol between 1200 hours Friday 27 August to 1200 hours Sunday 29 August, i.e. the Bank Holiday weekend. Tesco have accepted the closure notice and will not be contesting the decision.

While this will inconvenience some shoppers I am sure they will all agree that the time has come to take firm action to control the indiscriminant sale of alcohol. Ever since the Labour government relaxed the licensing laws supermarkets and pub chains have cynically boosted sales with no care for the effects on public health or law and order.

The coalition govenmment is already looking at changes to the licensing act  but the existing legislation does already provide significant powers to deal with problem premises, I am pleased to see the police are using these powers.

Litter at Smannell Road Open Space

The clean and tidy environment at Augusta Park (story below) is a complete contrast to the mess I saw when walking back to town past Smannell Road open space.

Litter at Smannell Road

This weekend the open space hosted one of the regular visits by funfairs which obviously will generate some litter. I was appalled however at the amount of litter around the site and in particular by the number of empty broken beer and wine bottles strewn around the play areas. The area has now been tidied thanks to prompt work by both the fair operators and, following my email to them, Test Valley Environmental Services.

I wonder how much this cleaning costs local taxpayers and will be speaking to both environmental services and the police and wardens about how illegal drinking in and the subsequent littering of this area can be controlled.

Call time on 24 hour drinking

I am pleased to see the coalition government is to tackle the problems caused by the Labour party’s introduction of uncontrolled 24 hour sale of alcohol. Plans include proposals to make licensed premises pay for the cost of anti-social behaviour and violence their premises cause. Local councils will also be given much more power to control the numbers and extent of licenses issued.

As an ex-member of Test Valley’s licensing committee I can say with some experience this is long overdue. The 24 hour licensing laws, claimed to allow a continental style cafe culture in the UK, were in fact no more than a sell out to Labour’s supporters in the drinks industry allowing them to boost sales with no thought of the consequences. Local licensing authorities are almost powerless to prevent anyone anywhere from selling drink with no thought of the consequences to local communities. The rules are so heavily weighted in favour of licencees the committee merely rubberstamps applications.

I have been on patrol with police in Andover on Friday nights and seen the results – drunkeness, violence and vandalism extending into the early hours of the morning. And the bill is met by local residents who pay for the police overtime and for the council workers who clear up the mess afterwards. No only is the town centre blighted so too are every route out of town used by late night drinkers on their noisy and often destructive trek home. Meanwhile the drinks companies rake in the profits.

Enough is enough. I have no objection to late night drinking as such but uncontrolled sales of alcohol and the resultant crime and disorder it promotes must be stopped. I fully support the Association of Cheif Police Officers and the Police Federation in their calls of a review of the licensing laws and look forward to it being and an early review.

Trajan Walk/Hadrian Road residents’ meeting

Hadrian Road

Last Saturday I chaired another meeting of residents from Trajan Walk, Hadrian Road and the surrounding area. My thanks to residents for organising and attending the meeting, to the church for allowing us to use their hall and to Sgt Noble and his neighbourhood policing team for attending.

Positive police action has lead to a reduction of incidents of anti-social behaviour in the area but there are still some issues to be resolved. The police recommended and we discussed  the setting up Neighbourhood Watch schemes. If you would like to get involved let me know and I will pass your details on to the organisers.

We also discussed a number of issues relating to security, lighting and community involvement in the area which I will follow up on over the next two months.

A summary of the meeting is attached here – residents-meeting-notes-12-june.pdf

The next meeting will be on Saturday 4th September at 3:00pm.

Residents meeting

Regular readers will remember that  I organised a meeting for residents of Trajan Walk and Hadrian Road in April. The meeting was to discuss vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the area and was attended by local police and our mp Sir George Young.

At the time it was agreed to hold a follow up meeting in June. This has now been set for 5:00 pm on Saturday 12th June. Sorry it could not be held any earlier in the day but it will definitely be finished before the football starts at 7:00 pm. As before the police and local councillors have been invited, including your newly elected town councillors.

Local residents will be leafletted with more details over the next week or so. Follow the link below for notes of the previous meeting in April.

Notes of April’s meeting

Roman Way residents meeting

On Saturday 10th April I will be chairing a meeting called to discuss vandalism and anti-social behaviour on Roman Way.

This meeting has been called by local resident Vic Pain and others in response to recent problems including the vandalism to car tyres widely reported last month. Also there will be Sgt Andy Noble of Andover North safer neighbourhoods team, other members of the police and council crime prevention officers. This is an opportunity for residents to raise issues and quiz the police on what can be done to deal with them.

The meeting starts at 3:00pm at St. Pauls church centre, Smannell Road. All are welcome.

Phone scams

I have recently received the following note circulated by Hampshire Constabulary.

There are many scams where companies will ring mobiles for up to two rings leaving a missed call on your phone. If you dial the number to find out who it is you may well get an answer phone message which will cost you anything up to about £10.

One of the latest companies doing this is one called management15, the answerphone states they are MI5.

If you are not sure who the call is from do not ring it back especially 0800 numbers.

And another issued by trading standards

“I received a call from a ‘representative’ of BT, informing me that he was disconnecting me because of an unpaid bill. He demanded payment immediately of £31.00 , or it would be £ 118.00 to reconnect at a later date.

The caller wasn’t even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental!

I asked his name – the very ‘English’ John Peacock with a very ‘African’ accent – & phone number – 0800 0800 152. (this could change of course).

Obviously he realised I wasn’t believing his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. I asked how & he told me to hang up & try phoning someone – he would disconnect my phone to prevent this.

AND HE DID!! My phone was dead – no engaged tone, nothing – until he phoned me again. I think they keep their phone off the hook

Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. I asked how the payment was to be made & he said credit card, there & then.

I said that I didn’t know how he’d done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn’t believe his name or that he worked for BT.

He hung up.”

Please be very cautious when speaking on the telephone.  You have no guarantee they are who they say they are.  If you are left anxious after a call, use one of your own bills to obtain the telephone number of the organisation and ring them to ask if they made have tried to make contact with you.

CCTV decision to be reversed

A report to Test Valley Borough Council’s cabinet is recommending reversal of the previous decision to transfer monitoring of Andover’s CCTV network to Lyndhurst.

The original decision met widespread disapproval in Andover and was  heavily criticised in the Andover Advertiser. I would like to thank Dick Bellringer of the Advertiser for raising the matter and advising me and other councillors of the public concerns.

In response to these concerns I asked that the matter be reviewed by the council’s scrutiny committee and asked that the committee consider the following

  • A report on the the decision making process with particular reference to consultations with the police, the Chantry centre, Andover Business Against Crime (ABAC) and other stakeholders.
  • An assessment of the impact of the decision on the effectiveness of exisiting crime prevention measures with particular reference to the ABAC radio network, reported reduced levels of monitoring of existing cameras, reduced local knowledge of the operators and the failure to extend CCTV to Andover’s car parks.
  • A response to public concerns that the decision will have a negative effect on the local economy.

That report was made to the committee and officers agreed to review the decision in the light of public concerns. I also requested that a future report on the topic be in the public domain as the previous  confidential report increased public fears that the decision was ill-considered and unsound.

I am pleased to see that the fresh report to cabinet has answered these concerns and is open to the public. The new proposal is to retain monitoring in Andover means a retention of the existing effective service and closer co-operation with local police and businesses. What a pity the proposals weren’t thought through in March.

Police street meets

I was at the Crew stand on Cricketers Way on Monday and also visited the police  at their street meet on Roman Way. This is a great opportunity for residents to meet their local beat officers and raise any issues with them.

These will be a regular feature around Alamein ward and northern Andover  over the coming months and I wish the police every success in the project. The details of when they’re around are below.

Roman Way playing field: first Thursday of every month 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

King Arthur’s Way Entertainer car park: last Monday of every month 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

Artists Way Stubbs Court: third Wednesday of every month 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

Enham Alamein will have a mobile police station on the third Tuesday of every month from 2:00pm.

Action on motorcycle nuisance

Dark Lane, Icknield Way

Following complaints from residents about uninsured and unlicensed motorbikes using Dark Lane between Andover and Enham I contacted police and neighbourhood wardens for action

Patrols were increased in the area and as a result two offenders were issued with warning notices. Police are confident they have solved the problem in the short term and that the offenders will move on to more suitable locations. In the meantime they will continue to monitor the area.

If you see a repeat of motorcycles using the lane or any other footpath please advise the police on 08450 454545 or dial 101 to report the offence. All calls are treated in confidence and all reported offences will be logged and investigated.