'Name and shame' campaign to be launched in battle against yobs in Birkenhead

Wirral Globe - 02 Oct 2017

Might I please report back on the campaign to counter crime and anti-social behaviour in Birkenhead?

We had a really good meeting last Friday, at which a number of key Birkenhead councillors relayed to senior police officers how deserted decent citizens feel when they see nothing being done about their reports of crime and antisocial behaviour.

The police were presented with concerns from some parts of Birkenhead over a lack of a visible uniformed presence.

In other areas, residents have been more vocal about criminal activity being reported to the police but not being acted on, or followed up – last week, a family told me that they had been driven to their wit’s end by this and, as a result, were selling their home and leaving the area.

However, all is not lost.

On the back of the Globe’s recent exposure of these problems, the police have begun to take a much more proactive approach.

A raid in Newling Street, for example, led to two arrests and the seizure of drugs. Similar action has been taken in recent weeks on Derby Road, Trinity Street and Oriel Road.

We made a plea at Friday’s meeting for this sort of action to become the norm, not an exception.

As a next move, we asked to receive frequent evidence from the police of a much more proactive, co-ordinated attempt at stamping out crime and antisocial behaviour, and of ensuring residents’ concerns are properly acted on and followed up.

All of us present at the meeting were only too aware of the swingeing cuts that have been made to police budgets.

But we were also anxious that even with limited resources, there are moves that can and should be taken to make residents feel safer in their own homes, and on their own streets.

One suggestion was for an urgent rethink on the way in which resources are allocated.

Because some people in the worst affected parts of Birkenhead have given up reporting things to the police, those areas do not appear to the police as ‘hotspots’.

As police resources tend to be linked to ‘hotspots’, they could actually be failing to meet residents’ needs where the problems are, in fact, most severe.

Another suggestion was for the police and local authority to begin reassuring residents over the actions they are taking, by regularly issuing notices in prominent locations.

It was agreed at the meeting that these notices should name and shame the thugs who have been causing problems, and provide details of their activities and the punishments that have been dished out.

It was agreed also that for under-16s, this should involve publishing silhouettes, rather than full photographs.

But with the description of the activities and punishments, everyone in that area will know what is being spoken about.

Residents will then be able to help the police ensure the terms of the punishment are being met, not breached.

Anti-social behaviour continues to be a source of distress and annoyance for too many decent people in Birkenhead.

I will continue fighting on their behalf and will also report back with any further developments.