Additional security staff have been drafted into Shrewsbury’s Quarry park amid increasing concerns for the levels of anti-social behaviour in the area.
The park, owned by Shrewsbury Town Council and renowned for holding major events including the Shrewsbury Flower Show, has seen usage rocket during the pandemic as the public at large looked for areas to exercise and socialise. As the Lockdown Roadmap has lifted restrictions in people meeting up in public places, the area has become increasingly busy.
Helen Ball, town clerk, said: “Over the course of this last year, we have seen our footfall going through the Quarry higher than in previous years despite not hosting any major events. This has shown us how the local public values the area. This has brought its challenges with keeping track on wear and tear and also disposing of exceptional levels of rubbish. Whilst the majority of people use and look after the park, there is a minority that do not and are spoiling it for everyone.”
To help address the levels of anti-social behaviour, and particularly amongst young people congregating, the Town Council resorted to employing security staff from late afternoon until after dark to educate and encourage young people to take care of the park and, where necessary, seek the support of Police.
Police were called to the Quarry on Tuesday evening [June 1] to disperse a gang of 300 youths and a number of Dispersal Orders were issued.
Leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, Councillor Alan Mosley, said: “The levels of anti-social behaviour, including underage drinking and drug taking, is extremely worrying and has caused us to take the necessary steps to increase the security presence and stamp out this type of behaviour. Our message is clear, we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in the park. The Quarry is a safe place for everyone and anyone carrying out activity that stops the wider public enjoyment of this area will be brought to account.”
Inspector Saf Ali, the Safer Neighbourhood Team Inspector for Shrewsbury, reiterated that there will be a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour. He added: “For many years, we have enjoyed a good working relationship with Shrewsbury Town Council as part of Team Shrewsbury and Police staff work closely with Town Council staff.
“Of late, the commissioning of security staff in the park has proved valuable to the Police in ensuring there are resources to combat these unprecedented levels of anti-social behaviour.
“There is currently a Dispersal Order in place in the Quarry and town centre until 5pm on Friday [June 4], although this may be extended. Officers and PCSO’s from the Safer Neighbourhood Team, as well as patrol officers, will be covering the town and anyone causing anti-social behaviour, or other related issues, will be directed to leave the area under the Dispersal Order.
“Our officers were utilising body cams on Tuesday evening and my team is reviewing the footage to identify those involved. Those who are identified as ‘persistent offenders’ may find themselves the subject of further Police intervention and prosecution.
“We have been successful in securing Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO’s) against persistent offenders to exclude them from entering the town centre.
“Whilst we want everyone to have fair access to the town and enjoy the facilities, anyone causing ASB or disruption to the wider public may find themselves the subject of such sanctions.”
If anyone sees any anti-social behaviour, they are advised to report it either on 101 or 999 or the West Mercia Police online reporting channels.
Published 3 June 2021