PCSP Meets Downs Road Residents Over Community Safety Concerns
Members of the Down Policing and Community Safety Engagement Committee met with residents from the Downs Road, Newcastle, on Tuesday 11 June 2013 in the Parish Centre to hear first-hand the problems they are facing in regards to community safety issues in particular anti-social behaviour.
Some of the issues raised by the local residents included excessive noise levels in the early hours of the morning especially in the play park, dog fouling and lack of support to disperse individuals after leaving licensed premises. The meeting provided an opportunity for Down Policing and Community Safety (PCSP) members and residents to brainstorm ideas for positive action that could be taken to help people feel safer and enjoy a better quality of life.
This included setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, reporting incidents of anti-social behaviour and CCTV. All agreed that it is important to utilise the support provided by all agencies who are represented on the PCSP.
Councillor Willie Clarke, Chairperson the Engagement Committee said: “As a PCSP member I am dedicated to meet with local people and I am keen to help local communities devise solutions that will make a real difference to people lives. Partnership working will be the only way forward in addressing these community safety issues and a joint up approach will make a real impact on improving people’s lives.
“The committee will meet with the residents in four weeks and inform them of how we have dealt with their community safety concerns.”
If you would like to talk to the PCSP about any community safety concerns you may have in your local area please contact on 028 4461 0800.
Earlier History of the issues
Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke had been previously requesting that Building & Estates committee increase the height of the existing perimeter fence and to lock the play park at night to deter people from entering the popular tourist play park. However Councillor Patrick Clark failed to win enough Council support to have a higher perimeter fence erected at the Downs Road Play Park.
The issue was then referred to the April meeting of the Policing & Community Safety Partnership because of the anti-social behaviour issues which Councillor Patrick Clarke had then raised in a tabled letter which was discussed by PCSP Members on 25th April.
“Since I became an elected representative in May 2011 for Newcastle area, the issue of anti-social behaviour and people easily entering the Downs Road Play Park because of a very low perimeter fence for non-recreational purposes late at night and in the early hours of morning has been raised with me by local residents.
“The crux of the matter is that the majority of concerns centre around the Downs Road Play Park and the low perimeter fence and easy access. I will continue to lobby for a higher perimeter fence and for the play park to be locked at nights.
“Local residents have been plagued by people coming off the beach area and from bars late at night during unsocial hours waking local and disturbing residents.”
“There is a deep sense of frustration that the PSNI are not engaging with Downs Road residents something which the PCSP Engagement Committee hope to discuss with the PSNI.
“There is also the drafting of the byelaws regarding open spaces, amenity areas, public walkways and playgrounds which are being finalised by Down District Council and would enable Council Enforcement Officers and the PSNI the power to regulate the use of Downs Road Play Park.
“Downs Road residents will also be updated on CCTV concerns, starting a Neighbourhood watch scheme with the local residents, having Council enforcement officers within the area late at night and in the early hours as well as the finalizing of the bye laws regarding play parks in the District, as well increased PSNI present in the area and the PSNI and PCSP contacting Down Road residents,” added Councillor Patrick Clarke.
Councillor Carmel O’Boyle Comments on Down Road Issue
Following the meeting, Councillor Carmel O’Boyle said: “Newcastle councillors are familiar with all of the concerns raised because we have been trying to address these issues for many years. Members of the PCSP Engagement committee included Cllr Willie Clarke (Chair), Cllr Patsy Toman, Cllr Desmond Patterson and Cllr Carmel O’Boyle.
“We have tried many initiatives in the past, including blocking off access points along the promenade in an attempt to deter anti-social elements from causing disturbance to local residents at night. Through the PCSP Engagement Committee we will again do our best to support the residents of the Down’s Road and in my capacity as Chair of the Recreation Committee, I will see what can be done to inhibit people from entering the play park on the Down’s Road at night.
“Hopefully, through a Newcastle Revitalisation Programme, we can improve the condition of the trees and flowers at the Down’s Road end of the town. The proliferation of anti-social and drunken behaviour in our streets at night is one of the greatest challenges we face as a community, but our PCSP committee will work closely with the residents of the Down’s Road, and other residential areas, to diminish this selfish behaviour. Parents need to know where their children are at night. Some of these young people remain on the streets of Newcastle until dawn, and therein lies one of the problem,” added Councillor O’Boyle.