Special meeting set to decide on policy to tackle bad behaviour

Community leaders have called a special meeting tonight to decide how to tackle anti-social behaviour problems which have plagued an east Suffolk market town this summer.

Saxmundham Town Council’s extraordinary meeting will take place at 7.15pm at the Market Hall purely to consider future facilities for the area’s young people.

Council chairman Roger Plant last week met with Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore, to discuss the situation and look at possible solutions.

Mr Plant, who showed Mr Passmore some of the damage caused in the town and explained the council’s ideas for dealing with it, will report on the talks.

He said: “We are an expanding town with lots of new houses and younger people moving in.

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“We need to do something about the anti-social problems quickly – before they get worse, but also to provide somewhere for our young people to go, things for them do to.

“We have earmarked £60,000 over two years to do something and the report we have received from Ormiston Families has been very helpful. Now collectively we need to take a decision.”

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The council had also set up a small working party to look at the Ormiston report and possible other ideas.

Mr Plant said the crime commissioner had funds which might be available to help with solutions.

He said: “I think enforcement is an issue and we may need to consider CCTV in certain places or funding a PCSO if that was a possibility.”

In the past few weeks irresponsible children and young people have been blamed for a series of incidents – including defacing and vandalising a teen shelter, repeatedly smashing bottles on a play site, causing solvent cans to explode, and interfering with a contractor’s machinery.

The Ormiston report found that 73% of youngsters interviewed felt there was “never anything to do” in the town, and 88% of parents described the provision of facilities and activities as “poor”.

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