Parents in Crowland have been warned to know where their children are and what they are doing after a spate of ‘shocking’ anti-social behaviour in the town, including hate crimes against the elderly and disabled.
The warning has been issued by the area’s top policeman, who says increased patrols in the area will result in prosecutions and injunctions against youths if the problems do not desist.
Inspector Gareth Boxall has urged people to report crimes and hand in any private CCTV or ‘dash-cam’ footage they may have. He also said some parents of youths involved in anti-social behaviour had “not been supportive”.
In a statement released this evening, Inspector Boxall said: “Crowland has suffered an ongoing problem with youth-related anti-social behaviour in the last few months.
“In response to this South Holland Police and South Holland District Council have been working hard to not only deal with the offenders and support victims but also work with partners to tackle the causes of those problems.
Despite this work, these problems have continued and last weekend saw a significant increase in crime and anti-social behaviour in the town.
“The youth-related anti-social behaviour is shocking though. These young people have targeted some of the most vulnerable in the community and we have investigated several hate crimes as a result. We completely recognise the impact that such crimes have on victims and the community and the misery that anti-social behaviour causes.
“On Thursday evening, I and a local officer met with parish, district and county councillors to provide an update on what action we have been taking and plan to take. We are grateful for the support that local councillors are giving us and their offer of help in solving these problems.
“We have a significant increase in officers patrolling Crowland currently but this is only one way that we can solve these problems. We investigate all crimes reported to us and my plea to the local community is:
• Report incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour to us (at the time it is happening if possible).
• Inform us of any information you might have about who is responsible for specific incidents.
• Tell us if your own private CCTV or your ‘dash cam’ captures any footage.
“Even where a criminal offence has not occurred, we are determined to tackle anti-social behaviour and we have a stepped procedure in place for doing this. Where young people are involved in anti-social behaviour, they are subject to a staged warning process and, where their conduct does not improve, would find themselves subject to a formal injunction placed by a court which can enforce measures such as curfews.
“Throughout that process we work with youths and parents to address behaviour. Many parents are supportive but I am disappointed that some are not. I repeat my message to parents:
• Know where your teenage children are and what they are doing.
• If we come knocking at your door; we are there for a reason. Anti-social behaviour causes real misery to people’s lives.
• Support us in tackling your child’s behaviour. If warnings aren’t taken seriously by youths and you their parents, and that behaviour continues, there is a real chance you will be standing with your son or daughter in court whilst they are issued an injunction or prosecuted for a criminal offence.
“We will continue to have increased patrols in Crowland but will also work with our partners to address the behaviour of individual offenders and seek to educate all young people in the area of the impact that anti-social behaviour has on victims and the wider community.”
• Inspector Boxall added that a spate of thefts from vans in Crowland last weekend was not connected to the anti-social behaviour issues. He said: “We believe the thefts from these vans were carried out by criminals visiting the area specifically for the purpose of committing these crimes and may be related to recent thefts in other towns and areas throughout south Lincolnshire in recent weeks; we have a wider plan in place to deal with that problem.”