Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place)
The Cabinet Member considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) which responded to a petition bearing 10 signatures, which had been submitted to the City Council on 12th July, 2018. The petition submitted raised concerns over; environmental issues, anti-social and criminal behaviour in an alleyway between Freeman Street and Stoney Stanton Road. The petitioners requested that the alleyway be gated at either end. The petition spokesperson attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of petitioners. The Police sent their apologies.
Local residents attended the meeting and commented on the rubbish they find which included needles and glass, fridge freezers and mattresses. They were fearful of letting children play in their gardens and walking through the entry. They were intimidated and they had experienced burglaries, people climbing into their gardens, people selling drugs and people staring to their houses.
This report detailed actions taken by the City Council and West Midlands Police to address the resident’s concerns.
The main issues concerned a spate of alleged incidents of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) in the alleyway between Freeman Street and Red House Park, mainly at night. Residents felt that the ASB and criminal activity in the area made it an unsafe place and the alleyway should be gated by the Council.
The report noted that recorded data regarding flytipping and litter complaints from July 2017 to July 2018 amounted to 31 reports directly related to Freeman Street. Freeman Street was patrolled regularly, at least once a week by officers from the Neighbourhood Enforcement Team and referrals were made to ensure the area was kept clean. Of the 31 reports mentioned above, 20 were as a result of council officers logging the issues whilst on these routine patrols. None of the reports were connected to the alleyway in question.
The Councils Street Cleansing Team carry out cleaning schedules once a week in Freeman Street. In addition, specific visits were undertaken to collect reported fly tipping from council land. All cases of littering and fly tipping were investigated, with the appropriate course of action depending on any evidence found at the scene and witnesses to the offence(s).
Police data for the period 01/01/18 – 19/08/18 showed a total of one ASB log for Freeman Street. This again was not connected to the alleyway in question. The Local Neighbourhood Police Sergeant stated, that crimes had been committed in Red House Park and that offenders had used the alleyway to make their escape.
In response to the petition, officers from the Council had made contact with the lead petitioner. The alleyway in question was a public right of way and although there was a procedure to close public thoroughfares because of public safety issues, they were only granted in exceptional circumstances. At this moment in time there were very few reports to the Police and Local Authority and this course of action was therefore, not the recommended option.
West Midlands Police and the Council would continue to monitor the situation. Extra patrols would take place as duties allow and individuals found to be causing issues were challenged and appropriate action taken.
The report encouraged residents to set up a Neighbourhood Watch in the area as there was not one in the area and report incidents of concern to Police as soon as they occurred.
RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities:
1. Request West Midlands Police and Council officers to continue their monitoring of the area and respond accordingly to residents requests for assistance.
2. Encourage residents to set up a Neighbourhood Watch in the area and report incidents of concern to the Police and the Council as soon as they occur.