DRUG USE: Trouble at High Grange Park in Billingham
The playground park off High Grange Avenue, Billingham, Image: Google Street View
Trouble with drug use and reports of an imitation handgun being fired on a youngster will be discussed next week.
Billingham North councillor Chris Barlow raised concerns about bad behaviour in High Grange Park at a meeting on Tuesday.
He praised improved communications with Cleveland Police of late.
But he told the executive scrutiny committee how behaviour problems had cropped up off High Grange Avenue in the last three or four months.
The Labour member said: “We’ve had incidents of drug use in the park, assaults on young people, and videos going around.
“I spoke to someone yesterday and their child got shot with a BB gun by another child – there was an imitation Glock which was taken.
“We’ve got a community meeting next Tuesday with the police and Stockton Council enforcement.
“Enforcement have been really great in making themselves available for that meeting.”
Cllr Barlow’s concerns came as members discussed an ongoing review of police communications with councillors.
Improvements were noted in recent months – and the panel was also keen to stress most young people across Stockton were well behaved.
After the meeting, Cllr Barlow said the area was “not the Bronx” – but he wanted to get everyone in a room together – including police – to find a way forward to address the problems.
The force said officers did attend community meetings – adding the police’s neighbourhood team was not aware of an incident with an imitation Glock.
A spokesperson for Cleveland Police said: “Stockton neighbourhood policing team is aware of pockets of anti-social behaviour and crime which they deal with on a daily basis across the local policing area.
“Community meetings are held routinely with police and local council. Where resources allow, the neighbourhood team always aims to attend to discuss any issues and look at problem solving.
“Members of the public are encouraged to continue to report any incidents of crime or antisocial behaviour on 101, or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“Always call 999 in an emergency.”
Councillors also discussed their experiences with police communications and behaviour in their own wards.
Cllr Pauline Beall said there were good things going on in the borough.
“It comes across at times as though we’ve got problems with adolescents or vulnerable people in Stockton,” she added.
“But what we forget to talk about is we’ve got some really strong communities and good people living in Stockton.
“That’s the element we forget.
“Yes, awful things happen at times.
“Wee get feedback about people coming to Stockton and towns within the borough and not having nice experiences.
“But what we don’t report a lot is people who come into our town and have a really nice time.
“I think we’ve got to have that balance. “
Former policeman Cllr Ken Dixon believed the vast majority of kids in Billingham were good.
He added: “I did a poppy appeal at Billingham and they were all dropping change into the bucket.
“At the end of the day, the vast majority are great – it’s just the odd one or two.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Carol Clark believed CCTV made a difference – referring to Grangefield Park.
“We had a lot of bother with vandalism, drugs and drinking,” she added.
I’m pretty sure they still drink and still take drugs – I know they do.
“But because of the CCTV we’ve had no vandalism for ages – that’s a good thing.”
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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