Action on antisocial youths still a top priority - police

POLICE officers assured Clevedon traders they are working hard to tackle the issue of antisocial behaviour.

The town’s police team spoke to business owners on Thursday after concerns about vandalism in the town centre and the effectiveness of CCTV cameras were raised during a meeting in October.

At Thursday’s meeting of traders held at The Hand Stadium and organised by the town council , Inspector Kerry Paterson said: “I want to give some reassurance that the crime levels in Clevedon are low.

“Antisocial behaviour is a big issue in the town centre. It is taken very seriously by the police.”

The area around the Morrisons supermarket off Great Western Road and Queens Square has become a regular haunt for a group of teenagers who have, in the past, smashed shop windows and overturned flower pots.

A string of incidents in October prompted traders to call for more to be done to tackle the problem.

Insp Paterson explained how a dedicated car patrols the Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead area six evenings a week, attending any calls relating to antisocial behaviour and checking on areas deemed hotspots for such trouble.

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Antisocial Behaviour Orders have been given to some teenagers responsible for persistent problems and PCSOs are also visiting primary schools to teach 10 and 11-year-olds about the consequences of crime.

In Queens Square, lighting has been improved and trees cut back to ensure CCTV cameras have a good view of the area.

Officers explained how valuable the cameras are to them when trying to tackle antisocial behaviour and other crime, using it as a deterrent as well as a tool to search for and identify people.

They can also ask CCTV operators to monitor certain cameras at a certain time when they know problems have occurred in the past.

PC Dave Hughes said: “Before we had CCTV the damage in the town centre used to be huge.

“We probably use the cameras four days out of five.”

In November, the Times reported how Clevedon town councillor Andrew Withers had called for the CCTV cameras in Clevedon to be switched off, claiming the money spent on CCTV would be better used paying for a dedicated town centre police officer.

PC Hughes said: “If you did take the CCTV out, we would be at a huge disadvantage.”