Whalley residents call for increased police presence and CCTV to tackle anti-social behaviour
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The plea folllows a trail of destruction in the historic grounds of Whalley Abbey left by gangs of youths congregating and wreaking havoc, including damage to the gardens, fences smashed, flowers trashed and obscenities shouted.
During a recent meeting of the Ribble Valley Council's parish liaison committee, borough councillors Ged Mirfin and Ricky Newmark quizzed police officials over funding for the area in a bid to install more CCTV cameras, as well as the impact of the new rural taskforce.
The new chief constable for Lancashire, Chris Rowley was also present at the meeting and said CCTV was a cost effective tool for the prevention and detection of crime and that he would be supportive of attempts to deliver more extensive CCTV coverage across the Ribble Valley.
Meanwhile, Ribble Valley's Insp. Andy Ainsworth stated that one of his key priorities in the short term would be to conduct an immediate evaluation of the borough's existing CCTV system to get a first hand view of its capabilities and to recommend enhancements.
Coun. Newmark welcomed comments by the police chiefs explaining that there had been requests from a number of Parish Councils for stand-alone systems across the villages of Ribble Valley with the borough council agreeing to support the implementation and source funding for the provision of CCTV. He welcomed any help that Lancashire Constabulary could provide in recommending how the existing CCTV system could be improved and the benefit that could be provided to Ribble Valley Police in supporting efforts to deter and fight crime through the use of CCTV.
Coun, Newmark’s comments have taken on an added urgency in Whalley following several instances of large scale anti-social behaviour on the Sands, in the Abbey and in the centre of the village following recent England football games.
Coun. Ged Mirfin, who represents Whalley and Painter Wood, stated that Whalley Parish Council had submitted a request to RVBC to upgrade its existing system including enhanced high definition cameras specifically to better recognise faces and car number plates, as well as more extensive coverage across an increased number of sites in seven additional locations across the village where anti-social behaviour was concentrated.