Plungington residents call on police to tackle 'out of control' antisocial behaviour

Residents in Plungington are reportedly 'selling up and moving away', with the elderly and vulnerable 'avoiding the shops out of fear of being mugged' according to a letter sent to MP Mark Hendrick.

By James Holt
Friday, 15th October 2021, 9:58 am

Calls are being made for police to step up patrols and tackle levels of antisocial behaviour in Plungington, with some residents labelling it 'out of control'.

In a poll shared to a local Facebook group for the area, called 'Plungington's Community PACT' last week, antisocial behaviour came out top as the main issue that needing desperately tackling in the area.

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Plungington has been plagued by antisocial behaviour in recent months

Concerned residents were quick to point out the issues, labelling them as 'horrendous' and even suggesting that 'unruly minors' should be given a 10 pm curfew in a bid to curb the consistent problems.

The group's founder Michelle, who set up the page 18 months ago to support the local community, wrote directly to Preston MP Mark Hendrick this week, claiming she felt that police efforts were not sufficient enough to tackle the ongoing problems.

The letter referenced examples of recent incidents, including children allegedly walking around with weapons, setting bins and benches on fire and intimidating elderly residents.

She said: "We need a lot more help from the police as they're not helping us at all. People are selling up and moving away.

Local councillor Pav Akhtar said more needs to be done but police budgets are stretched

"The elderly and vulnerable won't go to the shops in fear of the drink and drug addicts mugging them. Other residents are made to feel intimidated by the same group of kids that are running amok.

"The same kids who think it's acceptable to walk around with weapons and to set bins and benches on fire.

"Although we have local councillors in the group we feel we need more help from the police. We need to fight more and more for the Plungington area now as we're getting nowhere fast."

MP Mark Hendrick responded, saying that he had written to a Chief Inspector at Lancashire Police requesting that the force investigates residents concerns further.

Residents have called for increased police patrols

Local Labour councillor for the Plungington ward, Pav Akhtar, told the Post that more needed to be done to tackle the issues.

He said: "We regularly ask local residents opinions about policing and safer neighbourhood priorities through doorstep conversations, direct contact from residents, reports from the police, and from our fantastic Facebook group which has more than 1,300 Plungington residents who actively sharing with us what is going on.

"Clearly, there have a been a significant number of problems in the Plungington area. We've suffered an influx of drug dens and anti-social behaviour that comes with that.

"We've seen the consequences of substance abuse spill out on the streets with aggressive begging, physical threats and actual violence and drug detritus left on the street.

"We've seen our young people suffer as a consequence of the Conservative government and Lancashire County Council leaders' cuts in youth services and activities.

"We're struggling with a lack of police presence because Conservative austerity and budget cuts have disproportionately hit hard communities like ours.

"We want the Police Commissioner - or his deputy, who is a member of our Plungington Facebook group - to respond to our efforts to engage with us, to come and see what is really happening on the ground, how out hard working police officers are struggling to keep up, and why he needs to lobby the government to fund our police service so we can get officers on the streets, investigating crimes, and making our communities feel safe again."

Lancashire Police confirmed that the force was aware of the resident's concerns regarding antisocial behaviour in Plungington and confirmed the neighbourhood police team have been asked to tackle the issues.

A spokesperson said: "We are aware of residents’ concerns regarding anti-social behaviour in the Plunginton area, the local neighbourhood policing team and the neighbourhood policing Task Force team has been tasked to tackle the issues. We will continue to engage with our communities and listen to their concerns and respond according to the issues raised.

"Your local council, the police and other community safety partner agencies, such as the fire service and social housing landlords, all have a responsibility to deal with anti-social behaviour and to help people who are suffering from it and we work closely with partners to address community priorities and what will be done to tackle these.

"Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of unacceptable activity that blights the lives of many people on a daily basis. It often leaves victims feeling helpless, desperate and with a seriously reduced quality of life. Anti-social behaviour can involve harm to an individual, to the wider community or to the environment.

"This could be an action by someone else that leaves you feeling alarmed, harassed or distressed. It also includes fear of crime or concern for public safety, public disorder or public nuisance.

"Everyone has the right to live a life free from anti-social behaviour.

"If you are experiencing problems with anti-social behaviour, or have any concerns about it, or other community safety issues, you should contact either your local council or call the police on the non-emergency number 101."

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