A councillor has claimed that wards in Gedling borough represented by Conservatives are being neglected when it comes to investment for measures to tackle anti-social behaviour.
During a virtual meeting of the Labour-run Gedling Borough Council last Wednesday (January 27), Conservative councillors called for greater resources to help reduce anti-social behaviour in the areas they represent following a rise in incidents.
They claim Labour-represented Wards like Arnold and Porchester have already received funding for CCTV and additional neighbourhood wardens.
Areas currently represented by Conservative councillors include Burton Joyce, Stoke Bardolph, Gedling, Mapperley Plains, Calverton, Lambley, Woodborough, Ravenshead and Newstead.
Taking part in the meeting was Councillor Sam Smith, who represents the Trent Valley Ward and is chief whip of Gedling’s Conservative Group.
He said: “COVID and lockdowns have distorted recent Anti-Social Behaviour figures because all COVID breaches are logged as ASB but in pre-covid times, in our wards of Plains, Dumbles, Calverton, Newstead and Trent Valley, we have seen an increase in ASB, such as damages to our parks and littering.
“The Portfolio Holder for Public Protection has said that CCTV cameras and an increase presence of Council Wardens support the fantastic work Gedling’s Neighbourhood Policing teams are doing and lead to a reduction of ASB.”
Councillor Smith then went on to ask the Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, Councillor David Ellis if he plans to introduce these measures in Conservative Wards?”
Councillor Ellis responded.
He said: “The council keeps ASB under review and I’m happy to discuss with members particular issues in particular wards.”
Commenting after the meeting, Councillor Smith said: “Gedling’s Neighbourhood Policing teams are doing a great job at keeping us safe and this Council has measures, such as CCTV cameras and Council Wardens, to supports them in their efforts.
“The Council has recently introduced these measures in other areas, such as Arnold and Porchester, but we are yet to see them introduced in areas that are represented by Conservative Councillors. So, I am pleased the Portfolio Holder for Public Protection has agreed to work with my Conservatives Councillor colleagues and I to address this.
“We will be engaging with the Portfolio Holder and hope to see measures introduced soon that will drive down crime and Anti-Social Behaviour.”
Deputy Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor Michael Payne said he was ‘disappointed’ that the issue had become political.
He told Gedling Eye: “At Full Council, Councillor Smith called for more to be done to reduce anti-social behaviour in wards where there were Conservative Councillors, not where there are issues with anti-social behaviour.
“One of our main priorities is to reduce anti-social behaviour, crime and the fear of crime in all of our borough. We will continue to work hard to keep our communities safe while responding to the pandemic. We have worked with the Police to identify key areas where we know that anti-social behaviour is an issue and the measures we have introduced are working.
“It is disappointing that Councillor Smith has politicised what is an important subject for all of our residents and to suggest that ASB is on the rise when, in fact, it has reduced significantly during lockdown is also concerning. We will work with anyone in any area where there is evidence of anti-social behaviour.
Inspector Chris Pearson, Neighbourhood Inspector for Gedling, said that crime is continuing to fall across the borough.
He said: “We categorise all Covid-related reports under the ‘ASB’ code on our system which has had an obvious huge impact on anti-social behaviour figures.
“Crime is down considerably in nearly every single category apart from drug dealing arrests which is a local pro-active priority boosted by the new Op Reacher team. This is great news for Gedling and reflects our local partnership efforts.”
The Portfolio Holder for Public Protection Councillor Ellis has now arranged a meeting to discuss ASB in these areas and discuss measures the Council can introduce to reduce it.