Hucknall: call to stop 'blame game' over rise in town trouble that is a 'deep-rooted' issue

A conflict is brewing around who is to blame and whose responsibility it is to tackle a flurry of concerning anti-social behaviour (ASB) currently plaguing Hucknall.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 8:43 am

Members of the ruling Ashfield Independents at Ashfield District Council have responded by blaming the police and Labour and the Conservatives.

But members of the public have rubbished this, called it ‘political point-scoring’ and say the Independents are in power in Ashfield and have as much of a role to play.

As reported by the Dispatch, the town has seen a spate of incidents of late, including criminal damage, vandalism by teenagers and violence.

There has been a sharp rise in ASB in Hucknall in recent weeks (stock image)

The Dispatch contacted all political parties, the police and the town’s MP, Mark Spencer.

Of the responses received, Coun Lee Waters (Ash Ind), a district and county councillor for the town, said: “The reality is that Hucknall has been badly let down by both the Conservatives and Labour.

"The Tories promised 20,000 new officers in the General Election in 2019 – they have not delivered anywhere near that – while Labour, under Paddy Tipping (former Nottinghamshire PCC), shut Hucknall Police Station.”

Coun Jim Blagden, who represents Hucknall Central on the district council, said: “Towns like Hucknall are being let down by a lack of frontline, visible officers – closing the town’s police station was a massive, massive mistake.”

Coun Lauren Mitchell says the problem is a 'deep-rooted issue'

And Coun John Wilmott (Ash Ind), also a district and county councillor, said: “The police should be doing more and listening to our call to bring back a permanent policing base in our town – this should be a priority.”

And Coun Dave Shaw (Ash Ind), also district and county councillor, said: Ashfield District Council is doing its bit and it should be matched by the police and at the moment they are letting Hucknall down big time.

"I am calling again for a public meeting in Hucknall, we need to bring people around the table to discuss a way forward.

"Hucknall MP Mark Spencer also needs to be asked whether he thinks the Government is doing a good job protecting Hucknall residents?

"He can also say if he backs the Ashfield Independents’ campaign to bring back a permanent policing base in the heart of Hucknall.”

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But some members of the public have hit out with the following comments, some of which criticise the Independents:

“I have not seen a single PCSO in Hucknall West in the last six years. The AI councillors are doing their usual trick of blaming everybody else in an attempt to distract from their empty words and inaction.”

"The AI comments are just political point-scoring.”

"OMG, blame everyone but themselves, but always take the glory for the good things, especially if they haven’t done the work, or had the ideas.”

"Pass the buck, blame someone else and don't take any responsibility.”

"There has been zero investment in any form of youth projects in Hucknall since they took office, nor is there anything at all for the young in their spacial masterplan. Small wonder they wander the streets and get into trouble.”

Coun Lauren Mitchell (Lab), who represents Hucknall South on the district council, said: “I understand that anti-social behaviour is a big issue for many in Hucknall at the minute.

"The causes of anti-social behaviour are part of a wider, deep-rooted social issue which requires early intervention – it isn’t a simple matter of blaming political parties or individuals.

"I don’t think labelling young people who might have a wide range of issues influencing their behaviour as ‘yobs’ is helpful either.

"Studies show that there is a link between young people facing difficulties at home who commit anti-social behaviour, so it is important that we don’t demonise these young people and instead, work with them.

"This is where the council should be investing its money if it is serious about tackling anti-social behaviour.”

The Dispatch has contacted Mr Spencer and Conservative councillors for comment.