SPIKE IN TROUBLE: Ingleby clampdown zone welcomed
Ingleby Barwick Broomhill and Rings underpass, Image: Google Earth
A CLAMPDOWN zone to tackle a spike in trouble in Ingleby Barwick has been welcomed for its early effects.
But there have been concerns about how the unrest has affected the estate’s image.
Ingleby Barwick saw a 48 hour dispersal order imposed over the weekend in response to a rise in anti-social behaviour cases.
Frustrations about unruly youths were sounded at an Ingleby Barwick Town Council meeting last week – with reports of stone throwing, drug use, and assaults.
Estate councillors have broadly welcomed the impact of the Cleveland Police dispersal order so far.
Stockton mayor Cllr Kevin Faulks has been a councillor for Ingleby Barwick since 2005.
The west ward member said he’d spent last Wednesday morning picking up chairs, fire wood, and drug packets alongside volunteer litter pickers.
He said the dispersal area had worked but pointed to how more positive things were happening on the estate away from the trouble – with almost 500 people ordering tickets to a fun day at St Francis of Assisi Primary School.
Cllr Faulks said: “It isn’t a bad place to live.
“We’ve had a few bits of bother and it’s mainly out of character.
“This is happening on a daily basis in Thornaby and other parts of Stockton and Middlesbrough – there are dispersal orders there nearly every other weekend.
“There are good things going in Ingleby.”
A special meeting was promised on the back of the concerns aired at The Rings Community Hub last week.
Town councillors heard anger over families being spat at and drug dealing near homes – with the underpass between Bowood Close and Shapwick Place highlighted as an area of trouble.
Cllr Sally Ann Watson runs a hardware store at Sandgate Shops with fellow councillor Alan Watson.
She believed the dispersal order had worked.
“Whenever we were out and about, it was very quiet,” added Cllr Watson.
“We see an awful lot at Sandgate as that’s a focal point really.
“We came out of work just after 5pm on Friday and every night there are gangs of kids.
“There wasn’t then.”
Cllr Watson said ringleaders of trouble would be dealt with accordingly – but she believed problems may return when the “next cohort of ringleaders” emerges in the coming years.
However, the Conservative was keen not to overplay the trouble too much.
“We’re not Ingleby Bronx,” she added.
“All this stuff goes on Facebook but that’s giving the troublemakers notoriety.”
No peaks in trouble
A spokesperson for Cleveland Police said there were no further significant peaks of anti-social behaviour over the weekend.
She added: “We will continue to pro-actively target those responsible, monitor the anti-social behaviour and crime, and we will work with partners in doing so.”
Stockton Council ward profiles show both Ingleby Barwick’s east and west wards have lower rates of crime and anti-social behaviour than the borough average.
Cllr Faulks believed the shortfall in police officers in Cleveland compared to a decade ago wasn’t helping the situation.
His Ingleby Barwick Independent Society colleague, Cllr Ross Patterson, echoed the concerns – saying officer numbers had been “butchered” by the government.
Cllr Patterson also shared worries about the problem being raised at the town council – and believed it should have been dealt with “behind the scenes” given the image it portrayed.
He said: “In this instance, the dispersal order and all the rest of it makes Ingleby look cheap and nasty.
“The police were dealing with this behind the scenes – Matt, Ted, Sally Ann and Alan said that – and that’s how it should have stayed.
“There wasn’t any need for any of this.”
Cllr Patterson added: “Comments need to go into the Government to ask what the hell has been happening for 10 years, and why have they cut the budgets?”
Proof of the pudding
Last week, Cllr Ted Strike welcomed the dispersal order – saying something needed to be done to take action against the “unruly kids”.
The member for Ingleby Barwick east told the Local Democracy Reporting Service a man in his 30s had been targeted by a group last Wednesday who’d “tried to kick his dog”.
And he believed the “severity of the criminality” warranted action.
In the wake of the order, Cllr Strike said there was “nothing serious” happening around Sandgate Shops on Friday night – and welcomed the quick response by police.
“It certainly appeared over the weekend that things were quiet and the feedback I’ve got is there were no problems,” added Cllr Strike..
“Hopefully, it will have the effect the last one had three or four years ago when it calmed down for quite a long time.
“But the proof of the pudding will be in the eating so the next few days and weeks will tell us.”
Stockton South MP Matt Vickers will hold a surgery to discuss crime and trouble on the estate on Wednesday at 6pm at an undisclosed venue.
The Conservative was pleased to hear the order had reduced pressure over the weekend.
“However, we are under no illusions that this is just a temporary fix,” added Mr Vickers.
“I will continue to work with key stakeholders, including Cleveland Police and Stockton Council, to ensure that this criminal behaviour is dealt with and put to an end.
“The next step is to hear from as many residents as possible at our crime surgery on Wednesday so that we can deal with these matters as effectively as possible.”
Cllr Steve Nelson, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “We are working closely with the police and other agencies to tackle a recent increase in reports of anti-social behaviour in Ingleby Barwick and will continue to target patrols in this area.
“People can report anti-social behaviour by calling Cleveland Police on 101, or our civic enforcement team on 01642 528439.”
Slots for the surgery can be booked at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01642 956526.
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Demcoracy Reporter
Watch the channel on TV