Councillor Wendy Brockie asked:
With particular reference to the problems with anti-social behaviour, drug abuse and related criminality in Newcastle Town Centre, could assurance be given by the Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing that full, measurable pressure would be asserted upon the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire to address the shortcomings of the services as they affected Newcastle under Lyme.
The Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing stated that creating a vibrant and inviting town centre had been a priority of this administration for the past four years and would continue to be so. Whilst the town centre did suffer to some extent from rough sitters, addressing the challenges was not purely a matter for the police. The Council had employed two street marshalls who had been in post for over a year. There was also a new Town Centre Ranger who was visible around town.
Consultations had been carried out on Public Space Protection Orders for the Town Centre and a report would be taken to the Licensing and Public Protection Committee on 18 October.
The new policing model had seen a significant increase in officers on the ground with a clear priority on town centre issues. The Portfolio Holder was confident that the new policing model and the continuation of the strong partnership working with the Council, tangible improvement would be delivered.
Councillor Brockie then asked:
Could the Portfolio Holder agree that significant monitoring of the local situation regarding offender management, on which the recent inspection of the service had rendered offender management inadequate. Could the Portfolio Holder assure everyone that the secure monitoring, currently in place would be continued and upscaled in order to ensure that the lives of residents and the future chances to whom better support services would make a difference, was continued.
The Portfolio Holder stated that the majority of the supplementary question had been answered in her previous response but reiterated that she would continue to put pressure on the Police and Crime Commissioner through her involvement with the Police, Fire and Crime Panel.
Councillor Brockie asked a further question:
The Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Wellbeing was asked if she could provide assurance that the concerns of residents about safe parking in their streets, including the pursuit of infringement where they occurred would be supported with a suitable allocation of resources.
The Leader stated that this was a County Council matter and asked that Councillor Brockie contact him after the meeting to be put in touch with the County Council.
Councillor Brockie asked the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Town Centres and Growth to provide assurance that repairs and renovations to the shops in Merrial Street, particularly number 6 and nearby properties on that side would be visibly costed and that the future of the buildings would be clarified in order to reassure proprietors and encourage potential businesses to occupy premises in the area.
The Portfolio Holder confirmed that everything had been costed on that street.
Councillor Mike Stubbs asked:
In light of the recent inspections of both Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and Staffordshire Police, which had found both services inadequate in a number of areas and consequently saw HMI issue improvement notices on both services, could the Leader inform Council what measures had been taken since the publication of the very concerning reports to ensure the communities of Newcastle, Kidsgrove and villages inbetween were kept safe.
The Leader stated that regular meetings had been held with Ben Adams about local policing matters, particularly the new policing model that was rolling out across the Borough. The Leader also held monthly meetings with the local Police Commander, John Owen. The Commander had been very proactive on issues relating to the town centre and issues across the Borough. Since the new model had been introduced, there had been a 30% reduction in reported incidents. The Police had also issued a number of Section 35 dispersal notices, prohibiting certain individuals from entering particular areas for up to 48 hours.