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Bill Crosby

Councillor Crosby - Dr Pit Park

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It has come to my attention that there has been a lot said on social media concerning Dr Pit Park and the antisocial behaviour associated with it.

One of the main concerns is that the park is not locked overnight.  At the end of last year, I met with NCC Officers and West Bedlington Town Council (WBTC) to explore, amongst other issues, the possibility of having the park locked at night.  Following this discussion, NCC said they would go away and research how much it would cost to have someone open and lock the gates every morning and evening.  WBTC were quite happy to contribute to this but nothing has been forthcoming from NCC, so I have recently followed this up and am awaiting a response.

Another question often asked is why there is no CCTV in the park.  I have asked the Police and NCC about this and the reason given is that, in their opinion, the number of incidents reported in the park does not justify the installation of CCTV.  I understand that some residents have contacted the Police using the 101 system but have given up because they were on the telephone too long.  There are, however, other ways to contact the Police which have been pointed out by them many times at their ‘Cuppa with a Copper’ sessions; if the incident is not an emergency, it can be reported using the on-line system using the link below.

https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/advice-and-info/neighbourhood-issues/anti-social-behaviour-asb/

If any resident is genuinely aggrieved at the length of time they have been on the telephone to the Police without getting an answer then could they please let me know the date and time of the call, together with their telephone number, and I will ask the Police why that call was not answered.

If residents can justify the installation of CCTV, I will happily help by using my small schemes allowance but then we have the problem of who will be able to view it.  This is governed by various bits of legislation, to include RIPA 2000 and GDPR, and for that reason I would not be allowed to view it, neither would any member of the public, so If anyone can suggest how to get around this I will certainly explore getting it installed.

I will continue to try and get this matter resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, but we do need the help of the public as well and people do need to report incidents as they happen so that the Police can build up a picture of incidents in the park.  As an example, apparently no one actually reported last year’s fire in the Pavilion at Dr Pit Park to the Police so no official crime was logged and therefore there was nothing for the Police to investigate, despite many people allegedly witnessing it; we do need to consistently log calls so that the Police can build up a dossier of incidents/antisocial behaviour that would then warrant them dealing with the area as a ‘crime hot spot’.

With specific regard to the incident in the Pavilion, I understand that the Fire Service were called at 1.17pm that day and subsequently mobilised 3 appliances.  The first appliance was there at 1.24pm and the crew dealt with a small fire on the exterior of an external toilet door; this fire was extinguished at 1.31pm.  Supporting appliances were not required.  15 minutes was spent ventilating the Pavilion and the incident is logged as having been concluded by 1.45pm.  Whilst not wanting to detract from what could have been a very serious incident, the fire was not as extensive as that reported via social media.

Looking to the future, residents may want to consider trying to form a ‘Friends of’ Group.  People living close to and visiting Westlea Cemetery were encountering similar problems and they got together to form ‘The Friends of Westlea Cemetery’, who now meet on a monthly basis.  The formation of this group has given them access to funding and help from other sources and they have had a lot of success in resolving many of the problems they were encountering, to include antisocial behaviour.  If there are like-minded people in the surrounding area of Dr Pit Park, perhaps they could do likewise and I will do everything I can to help them get this off the ground.

If anyone would like to contact me regarding any  issues, you can reach me by private message on Facebook, Twitter @billbedeast,  e-mail at [email protected] or telephone/text me on 07779 – 983656.

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