PCC agrees to meet Shefford residents after petition calls for action over anti-social behaviour

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A petition calling for police action in Shefford over anti- social behaviour is already seeing results.

The town has seen a dramatic rise in anti-social behaviour over the past few months.

The final straw followed incidents on Sunday where drivers were pelted with snowballs as they drove through the town.

There are also claims a police patrol car called to the incident, was also pelted.

The petition follows on from a front page Chronicle story in July when the town’s Mayor called on the police to take action against teen yobs.

More than 1,800 people have already signed the petition and Beds Police Local Community team was in the town on Wednesday night.

Campaigner Lee Searle said residents wanted a public meeting with Beds Police commissioner Kathryn Holloway.

And he said he was thrilled with the response to the petition with almost half the town signing up so far.

“I have an elderly friend who won’t go out at night now,” he said.

”And talking to a couple of people locally they won’t walk round the town at night because it’s intimidating and scary.

“All the public of Shefford are asking for is for the PCC to come and hear what we have to say.”

Using social media Mrs Holloway said she had offered to speak to the town council and had asked for dates, but Mr Searle said residents were demanding she meet with the public.

The petition says: “We the people of Shefford, are currently experiencing a severe case of anti-social behaviour by a small handful of young residents.

“Their behaviour has now gone past a nuisance factor and these reckless actions are putting lives in real danger.

“In recent weeks we have seen a stabbing, we have seen two men violently assaulted and we have seen many numerous, daily examples of menacing and intimidating behaviour on our quiet streets.

“As a result many of our residents are scared to walk on our quaint country high street, causing an impact on the local economy and a fear factor in this small town. There are elderly and vulnerable people scared to leave their homes to visit the local shops, library or community facilities in this sleepy little town.

“Today in periods of heavy snow our local residents driving their cars were pelted with snowballs on the main road causing a real danger to driver and pedestrians, the police were called and yet even when these yobs threw snowballs at the patrol cars these police officers reportedly failed to take any action.

“When our own drivers stopped and asked the teenagers to stop they received very hostile and intimidating treatment.

“This has now gone too far and intervention is required. With a stabbing and severe assaults by this small collection of teenagers it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed.

“We the residents of Shefford insist that action is taken in way of regular patrols and meaningful police intervention.

“To that end we ask that the PCC attends a public meeting to discuss the residents concerns, ideally with our MP Nadine Dorries in attendance.”

People have been explaining why they are signing the petition.

One said: “As an ex-police officer I agree totally with the comments made.

“I am aware of the despair of local residents & some recklessly willing to ‘take the law in their own hands’ to their own detriment. The small group of delinquent drug dealers need to be dealt with properly by the police.

“If this isn’t done soon there will be a fatality I have no doubt.”

Police presence has increased since the petition was launched.

The Local Community Team tweeted a picture of its police van out in the town centre on Wednesday saying; #Shefford you will have seen your Local Community #Policing Team walking about today and you’ll be please to know we shall be here throughout the evening also, taking a zero tolerance to ASB.

A police spokesman said: “We, along with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, are liaising with the stakeholders and residents of Shefford to arrange a meeting to discuss local concerns.

“Once a date has been confirmed, appropriate representatives from the force will be attending.”

>The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/pcc-bedfordshire-pnn-police-uk-callfor-action-by-kathryn-holloway-for-shefford