Berwick residents have raised concerns over antisocial behaviour at a public meeting with the Chief Constable of Northumbria police.
Speaking at the meeting in the town hall last week, Chief Constable Sue Sim praised her “excellent” team in Berwick, and said the area was an extremely safe place to live.
Berwick has one of the lowest crime rates in the whole of the UK. But the police insist this does not make them complacent, and have pledged to tackle issues residents may have, despite government cuts which have slashed the force’s budget.
Chief Constable Sue Sim said: “You have a very safe area, but if you have a need to have resources up here to address issues you will have them.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, who also attended the meeting, added: “You do live in one of the safest places in the UK.
“The figures are cheering when we go through them in the office, but it’s important that we come out to find out what’s happening here.”
Antisocial behaviour was the main issue raised by members of the public, with residents voicing concerns over underage drinking, groups of young people ‘misbehaving’ and ‘boy racers’.
One Spittal resident said: “I think the anti social behaviour problem in Berwick is a lot worse than has been made out today. The problems started off small and are slowly getting bigger and nastier.
“There’s a group of 15 young people miss behaving on a regular basis. There’s problems with groups of young people between the walls, in the shopping areas and in the shops themselves. It’s been a long standing problem.”
Berwick Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Garrick said that anti social behaviour was one of his priorities. He explained that there was a staged approach to tackling it, and that there were some process ongoing currently with some individuals.
“We don’t want to criminalise young people from the off,” he said. “First we will talk to the young folk. Sometimes they aren’t aware that their behaviour is causing someone else distress.
“The first thing is to speak to them and maybe visit their parents. We wouldn’t want our children criminalised from the very first moment.”
Insp Garrick urged residents to report incidents of inappropriate driving after one resident said that cars had been “flying along” Main Street at Spittal.
“We’ll target areas where we’re told there’s a problem,” he said.