Police inspector says 'let's work together' after spike in crime and anti-social behaviour on Hartlepool estate
“Let’s work together” – that was the message from a senior policeman to residents after a recent increase in crime and anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhood.
Temporary Chief Inspector Mark Howarth appealed to families in the Belle Vue area of Hartlepool to work with Cleveland Police and partner agencies to help tackle local issues.
About 40 people attended a special meeting of the Belle Vue Residents’ Association on Thursday afternoon to discuss the recent spike in anti-social behaviour.
It includes a number of people being arrested and charged after an incident last week when police and members of the public in Kent Street and Kendal Road were allegedly pelted with eggs and other items.
Residents at the meeting in Belle Vue Community Centre also complained of people recklessly riding motorcycles up and down streets, being assaulted, drug dealing and youths climbing on roofs and trying to break off locks with screwdrivers.
One woman said: “I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never known this area so bad.”
Inspector Howarth said: “Let's work together all of us.
"This is the starting block. We all have a responsibility for making it a nice place to live.”
He said he understood residents’ frustrations and was not blaming anybody.
But he vowed to go after people and families that carry out and support crime and anti-social behaviour.
"We can’t have criminal damage, bikes going up and down the street, windows going out. It’s not sending the right message,” he said.
"I will target individuals that is allowing this behaviour to go on."
He asked for residents to start a youth group to work with police so issues and things for kids to do can be looked at.
He also promised to put police on the street on the estate saying neighbourhood policing was one of the new Police and Crime Commissioner Steve Turner’s priorities.
Mr Turner who attended the meeting said: “I am the public’s voice within Cleveland Police.
"I want to understand the depth of feeling, what the team is doing and what I can do to support everybody to make sure we get the life we want to live without fear of crime or reprisals.”
One man, a Belle Vue resident for 10 years, said it was a “postcode problem” saying: “The people who can do something about it aren’t affected because they don’t live here.”
But one woman questioned why police had brought her six-year-old grandchild home.
She added a number of youngsters have been barred from the community centre for being "cheeky” and end up on the street with nothing to do.
PCSO Vanessa Hocking said she was happy to engage with youngsters a number of suggestions had been made including for a skatepark and basketball court.
Inspector Howarth said a new CCTV camera is due to be installed in the area next week and an anti-social behaviour group had been sent up recently.
Residents association secretary Kevin Cranney said: “Hopefully, we can go forward from today.”
Ward councillor Darren Price said afterwards: “It cleared the air a little bit. There’s a lot to be done.
"People are afraid to walk the streets in the day as well as at night.
"We need the police, council and people to work together and I think today was a good start.”