Frustrated Crowland parish councillors have been warned there is no “overnight fix” for the problem of youth crime in the town.
The warning came from Inspector (Insp) Gareth Boxall, community policing inspector for South Holland, who was due to have met district and county council officers yesterday for talks about low-level crime and disorder in Crowland.
Patience wore thin during Insp Boxall’s 50-minute meeting with parish councillors on Monday when complaints were made about disorder after the annual Crowland Show on Saturday, June 24.
At least one claim was made that youths had climbed on top of a marquee at Snowden Field, where the show was held, and slid down it, before the marquee itself was vandalised during the night.
Coun Bryan Alcock, Crowland parish and district councillor, said: “There was a need for police during the day of the show and they did a very good job.
“We have to accept that the damage to the marquee was done at night and part of it was done with a knife which is a bit disturbing.
The gap left by one group of youths seems to have been filled by another group and the problem is well up on our radarInspector Gareth Boxall, community policing inspector for South Holland
“But there are at least two or three youths who have been an habitual nuisance since this problem started and, having sat around this table for a number of months, these talks sadly seem to be futile.
“If the activities (after the Crowland Show) are acceptable to anybody, I find that difficult to understand.”
Insp Boxall told the meeting that seven reports of anti-social behaviour, two thefts and two cases of criminal damage had been reported across Crowland in June, compared to a total of 18 cases of the same crimes for June 2016.
He added: “Anti-social behaviour is an ongoing problem for the town and it has been for a couple of months at least.
“Prior to me arriving as inspector for South Holland, the local officers here felt that we had made some progress.
“But the gap left by one group of youths seems to have been filled by another group and the problem is well up on our radar.
“We’ve been making their parents aware of what they’ve been involved in, issuing warning letters that have usually been heeded.
“However, I can’t give you any assurances that every criminal act in Crowland will be prosecuted and I can’t promise that the problem is going to be sorted out overnight.
“We can only work within the confines of the law.”