New police powers promised to tackle antisocial behaviour in Shirebrook

Shirebrook residents march on Sports Direct.
Shirebrook residents march on Sports Direct.

Councillors and police in Shirebrook have promised more action on yobbish behaviour in the town centre, admitting current rules are not enough.

They say they had already decided on a new strategy before the latest incidents of violence sparked protests and calls for councillors to resign.

New Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) have been applied for to give police wider powers to arrest people for drinking and urinating in the street.

They will replace the Direct Public Policing Orders (DPPOs) which can only stop people drinking in the street if it is deemed ‘irresponsible’.

This week Shirebrook Town councillors have defended their role in tackling violence and anti social behaviour in the town.

A clash of cultures has been blamed after residents complained about feeling threatened by gangs of Eastern European men drinking in the street.

Coun Brian Murray Carr was among the six councillors who were called on to resign after being accused of complacency.

He said Bolsover District Council has applied for Public Space Protection Orders for the whole of Shirebrook.

He said: “These are more stringent and make it an offence to drink in designated areas.

“They are a completely different approach which empowers an officer to take appropriate action.

“If a person does not comply with instructions the officer for example can take cans off them and has the power of arrest.

Currently a Direct public Policing Order (DPPO) is in place to deal with ‘irresponsible drinking’ but does not amount to a drinking ban

Coun Murray Carr admitted The DPPO is not strong enough to address current issues.

“We failed to recognise the less stringent orders would not be successful because of the continuation of the problems,” he said.

He said the District Council will first introduce the DSPO on Footpath 18 a footpath off Sookholme Road which has a long history of people starting deliberate fires, urinating and defecating, nuisance behaviour and drug use. The footpath will be fenced off at both ends.

Coun Murray Carr was among the six councillors the demonstration organisers called to resign.

He told Chad: “I believe there is nobody who has done more in recent years to address the problems that have arisen with the migrant Eastern Europeans who came to work at Sports Direct.

“I was one that initiated a successful bid for a cohesion worker and securing funding.

“I was previously cabinet member for community safety for 12 years during which we brought in alcohol control zones - a marked zone where it was an offence to drink alcohol.

“With recent Government directives they did away with them and brought in DPPOs which had reduced powers.

“I just can’t understand why there should be a demand on me to resign.

“When have I not done what I should have and what have I not done well?

“There may have been things I did which were not done as quickly as was necessary.

“I can understand why we have community tensions in the town centre , it is my ward.

“I have tried to address the tensions there

“I am very concerned about the recent alleged stabbing - there is no way you can justify it.”

Coun Murray Carr pointed out there have also been attacks on Polish residents in Shirebrook.

He said; “The tension goes both ways and the problems go in both directions.

“Most people seem to have done their best to develop working with and problem cases are associated with really small numbers of people.”

He said when the Shirebrook Town Council meeting was held, a presentation was to have been given on the proposals for regenerating the Tesco and Portland Road areas.

In the event it did not go ahead.

“This is a clear indication of how much incidents of this type can influence potential developers in and around the Shirebrook area.

“One of my biggest fears is we are hell bent on getting development into Shirebrook.

“I honestly believe I work with my fellow councillors both district and town and our aim is to drive forward growth, regeneration and harmony in and around Shirebrook.”

Inspector Frank Burns said; “We had already decided to rethink our plans for our strategy for the area.

“It so happens we have had two incidents of violence.

“We had two incidents which were unconncted . There has been a knife used and that concerns me.

“In the last year these are the only two such incidents involving knives I have been aware of.

“We have increased our visibility in the are which we were going to do anyway.

“Some of the incidents we have had have not necessarily easy to deal with using the current legislation - issues we need to work with the council and the community on.

“As a result of people going to the local town council meeting there is a lot more interest and genuine energy to challenge in what way the police and our partners can work together for solutions.

“The public are our eyes and ears.

“We currently have a DPPO in place which people think is an alcohol ban.

“People drinking are not necessarily causing an offence.

“The new legislation the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) will give us wider powers to enforce no drinking and no urinating.

“We can deal with urinating on the street by issuing fixed penalty orders under the Littering Act.

“In terms of enforcing what is disgusting issue, it is more likely something that has been reported rather than behaviour found by a police officer.

“There are other issues like public toilets availability. That is a council thing.

“We have a good relationship with the community in Shirebrook.

“We have to get representation of the community as a whole including Eastern European people.

“It took us two years to get a multi-lingual cohesion worker to talk to Eastern European communities and she started four or five weeks ago .

“One of her roles is to contact people to be representatives and get them involved .

“We are talking about a minority of trouble makers.

“It is not an Eastern European thing, we have had them in our area for generations .

“They are equally disgusted with the behaviour.

“There are some people with discriminatory and racist views, but thee people of Shirebrook are generally very tolerant people.

“We have a real opportunity to solve some of the challenges by working together.

“We want to communicate with more Eastern European and younger people working with Sports Direct by monthly meetings with partners in a community cohesion group.”

@Shirebrook SNT