Residents asked to back crime fight

By Annie DavidsonRESIDENTS are being encouraged to keep records of anti-social behaviour as part of a clampdown on nuisance youths by a town council.

By Annie Davidson

RESIDENTS are being encouraged to keep records of anti-social behaviour as part of a clampdown on nuisance youths by a town council.

Frinton and Walton Town Council has sent out witness incident report forms to every house in its area, asking residents to fill them in to report anti-social behaviour.

The forms will be handed over to the police and it is hoped they will help officers bring youths to court to be served with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.

The action comes as Frinton and Walton prepare for a team of police community support officers to start patrolling in the two seaside towns and surrounding villages.

It had been planned for the officers to be on patrol by now, but a delay means they will not begin until October.

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Frinton and Walton mayor Mark Cossens said the anti-social behaviour reports could be handed in at the council offices at the Triangle Shopping Centre in Frinton, where extra forms were available.

"There has been problems with a small part of the youth population in the Frinton and Walton area," he added.

"They are causing problems in certain areas and there is a drop in police numbers nationally, so the town council took a lead in getting community support officers onto the streets.

"The council hopes this will address the lack of a visible police presence on the streets and the perception that if people don't see police officers they feel more in danger.

"The officers have not got on the streets as early as we had hoped, but it was important we selected the right people for the jobs and it is important they are trained properly before they go on the streets."

Mr Cossens said there were certain places in the area that were "hotspots" for anti-social behaviour, including Frinton railway station, bus shelters and some seafront shelters.

"The worse thing is when we get threatening behaviour towards local residents, but we also get criminal damage, graffiti and the bus shelters being used as a lavatory," he added.

"There are 1,700 under-18s in the town council area and the group which has been really identified would number no more than 30, but it is amazing what the minority can do.

"We are having a large clampdown against a small minority and we will be actively seeking Anti-Social Behaviour Orders against those who are actively spoiling it for everyone else. We will be after them in a big way."

Taxpayers in the town council's area voted for a small increase in council tax to cover the cost of the community support officers.

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