Dispersal Order issued for Fegg Hayes and Packmoor

A new dispersal order is to be put in force by Staffordshire Police and Stoke-on-Trent City Council at the end of this week.

The Section 30 Dispersal Zone will run in the Fegg Hayes and Packmoor area from 1 April 2011 to 1 October 2011.

To complement this, a number of activities are available for young people to access on various nights of the week including the Hoppa Bus at Whitfield Valley Centre; activities at Packmoor Youth Club and free boxing sessions at James Brindley High School.

A Section 30 is to help people not feel frightened or discouraged from using
Public places because of the behaviour of groups of people, and is also intended to protect children and young people from the risks of being unaccompanied on the streets late at night.

The boundary of the Section 30 Dispersal Zone will be as follows:

Along Mellor Street to Birchenwood Road to the junction of Colclough Lane; down to Zodiac Drive down to St Michael’s Road, along Roseberry Street up to Clement Road; across to Johnson Place to the junction with Oxford Road.
Along Cumberbatch Avenue to Biddulph Road, along the recreation ground up to Handley Street to the junction with Mellor Street.

A Section 30 Dispersal Zone gives the police the following powers:

To disperse groups of two or more people;
To take young people under the age of 16 years home after 9pm.
To order that person to not return within 24 hours, if they do not live in that area

If individuals refuse to follow the direction to disperse they will be committing an offence. This could result in a fine up to £2,500 or imprisonment, or both.

Tony Oakman, Director of Adult and Neighbourhood Services at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:

“Complaints from local residents have lead both ourselves and the police to the point where the dispersal order was the most appropriate measure.

The order prevents groups of two or more people gathering and acting in an anti-social way like drinking and being noisy and abusive to local residents.

This is an good example the council working in partnership with the police to stop those people who disrupt other people’s lives and ruin communities.”

PC Jaime Isaacs, neighbourhood officer for Fegg Hayes and Packmoor, said:

“The introduction of a Section 30 Dispersal Zone is the latest tool to be implemented to tackle anti-social behaviour in Fegg Hayes and Packmoor.

Our officers have been working closely with other agencies and the community itself to address issues in the areas concerned and there has been improvement in the behaviour of some young people. Despite this, there are a number of people who continue to cause nuisance and distress to other members of the community by their actions.

Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated by Staffordshire Police and we will continue to work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and other partners, to address such matters.

Have you been affected by anti social behaviour? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Or, Perhaps youare a teenager and have been accused of antisocial behaviour. how do you think these measures will impact on young people. Get in touch we’d love to hear your views.

ASBO granted after threats to community

Stoke-on-Trent’s Safer City Partnership has been successful in its application for an Anti Social Behaviour Order against a woman who threatened residents in Brindley Ford.

Margaret Wooliscroft, aged 55, was told she must not shout, swear or use abusive language or insulting or threatening behaviour directed at any person in Bull Lane and Stadmoreslow Lane, Brindley Ford.

District Judge David Taylor granted the ASBO based on Mrs. Wooliscroft’s behaviour in the last six months. During this time, the court found she had:

* Used a wooden tool to damage the front door of a property in Bull Lane and the car parked outside.

* Shouted abuse at another resident of Bull Lane.

* Used foul and abusive language to a police officer and caused distress to a PCSO by shouting at her in Bull Lane.

* Caused alarm and distress by assaulting another female in Bull Lane.

* Caused alarm and distress to residents of Bull Lane by wailing and shouting whilst holding a wooden stick in an angry and aggressive way in Bull Lane.

{quote=Councillor Ross Irving, cabinet member for community safety, partnerships and the Local Strategic Partnership, said] “There was a real need for us to pursue this case due to the weight of evidence that had been gathered over the past few months.

“Abusing the police and threatening members of the public is unacceptable, and causing physical damage to other people’s property is equally reprehensible.

“Communities need to feel safe and secure, and that can’t happen if flagrant threats are made to residents on a consistent basis.

We work very hard with the police to gather evidence in these cases and we are very pleased that another application has been successful.”[/quote]

The Safer City Partnership, including the city council, Staffordshire Police, and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service was successful in 13 applications over the last 12 months.

In praise of the New Government

I was talking to a friend about feelings to the new Government. I told him how impressed I was with the vigour in which a coalition Government had set about its task although having my ideological doubts about some aspects of the administration.

He agreed with me. It is the speed and the confidence with which they seem to move that is breath taking. Take one issue, which appeared in the news this week, the question of removing the age barrier of 65 for workers. The Government did this in the face of groups such as Institute of Director’s and the Confederation of British Industry. They did it within a few months. Like that sorted.

When one looks at the way in which New Labour dealt with age discrimination in the work place with voluntary codes before deciding on legislation which came into force in the autumn of 2006, 9 years after they came to power. The pace was leisurely. I have to admit that I have a particular interest in the issue because I suffered from difficulty in finding work since I hit my 40s. I was interested in seeing the social injustice of people being thrown on the scrap heap when they reached a certain age addressed. I had hoped the Labour Government would approach it with some dispatch. I was to be disappointed. If there seems to be one thing that characterised New Labour was its hesitancy and is unwillingness to upset powerful interests such as the CBI. unless one counts the Trade Union Movement.

This directness of the new Government of is refreshing and already the list promised for new acts and legislation is impressive especially when one considers this is a minority government dependent on Liberal Democrat support.

In Education they have already have legislation in place.

In Health the proposed changes are far more sweeping than was ever envisaged by Mrs Thatcher in her pomp when she took on the reform of the Health Service in the late 1980s.

In Law and Order ASBOs have been done away and the Government is pressing ahead with a root and branch review of the Police service. It has also put forward rather pungent changes to the prison service.

A referendum is promised on voting reform for next May when all we had from Labour was the drawn out Jenkins Review on PR of the late 90s before New Labour had a death bed conversion to the principle in the dying days of the Brown Government.

The new Government has successfully sold the idea that wholesale cuts will be required.

Today the Government is setting out its proposal to reform the benefit system making it more simplified and attempting to remove the poverty trap that bites when people move from benefit to work

And in the Big Society the Government seems to have hit a nerve in that people were generally irritated by the “nanny state” approach of the last administration. I experienced myself when I took my 3 month old daughter to a Sure Start Centre in Ellesmere Port in the spring of 2004 to a baby massage treatment to be told by some health visitor that white men do not know how to look after their children. I think the Big Society idea reflects that unfortunately that there were too many agents of the sate who took the view that ordinary people could not be trusted to organise their own lives. And of course it was all backed up with the target culture.

The problem with the Labour Party that all too frequently it helped to put in place some of the structures on which the new Government will build. I signed up to a facebook page that wanted to build a national protest against the new Government’s changes to the NHS. But did not Labour encourage greater use of the private sector into the NHS? Which Government pushed through Foundation status for Hospitals? Who weakened patient rights by abolishing the Community Health Council’s? Was it not Labour who continued the use of the Private Finance Initiative when they came to power in 1997? I seemed to recall Frank Dobson the first Health Secretary quietening critics by saying that PFI “was the only show in town”.

It cannot be helped that Labour has yet to choose its leader, but I consider the choice to be less than overwhelming and all with the exception of Abbot are deeply implicated in the policy decisions of the Labour administration. And in terms of personality the senior figures of the new Government seem to work well together and we do not have the grotesque farce of the eternal triangle of Blair-Brown-Mandelson continually played out consuming so much energy and time.

At the head of the Government we have David Cameron and I feel that his performance on the whole has been superlative. There was his impressive response to the findings of the Saville Inquiry on Bloody Sunday. His more reasoned approach to Britain’s relationship with the US so refreshing compared to the fawning attitude of Blair. His condemnation of the Israeli action against the Palestinians again to Blair’s apologist response to the disproportionate military action in the Lebanon in 2006. I also think that Cameron is right about the Turkish membership of the EU.

I am not a Tory supporter or am I likely to vote Tory but I am pointing out one unvarnished truth to the Labour Party that you use power to get things done and done quickly. The time and energy that New Labour spent in trying to win over the Daily Mail readership in the end was wasted effort. In the end it is about class and promoting your class interest. Labour left office with an indifferent record made the more miserable when one realises that poverty increased to levels last seen in the 1920s despite the much vaunted target on Child Poverty.

The new Government has presented a test example of the Churchillian adage of “action this day”

5oo Words – John Nicholls Non Aligned Candidate Norton & Bradeley

**Archive Story From 2010 Election**

Why should you vote for me?

Living and working in the area of Norton & Bradeley I meet many residents both young and old who raise many issues about what they would like to see improved in their local community.

To me the most important part of being a Councillor is listening to the community of people they serve. I know that I am unable to do everything alone so working alongside people who give their time in voluntary organisations for the community is one of the top
priorities for me.

I am a straight talking person, easy to contact and will
always be honest with people. If elected I will work to keep services based at Local level and help to improve them. It is far from ideal at the moment where residents have to make long bus journeys or make phone calls to
faceless people based in the Civic Centre.

I make you this promise should I get elected I will do everything in my power to work in partnership with all
sections of the community and agencies to make Norton and Bradeley a safer and a better place to live and work.

Anti-social behaviour is a top priority for residents ASBO’s are one answer but we have to do more to improve and
provide more youth and play facilities for our young people. These need to be supervised in an organised manner so that not only the young people benefit but also the wider community by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and making everyone feel that they are part of the community.

I look forward to being involved in the decision making process at the Civic Centre and I make this promise that I will not shirk any responsibility and make sure that I
get the best outcome for our community. I truly believe that the community of Norton and Bradeley comes first and the Politics of NEED not GREED is my top priority.

John Nicholls

Iron gates are only deferring permanent solution to ASBO problem

It comes to something when you have to block alleyways behind houses off with great iron gates so that residents can live in peace.

At the Cobridge end of Hanley, The Sentinel reported today, the neighbourhood association has just backed plans to install blockades at each end of the “backsies” to stop antisocial behaviour, burglary and vandalism.

Well it’s a pretty sad day. Whilst I am sure that the locals in the Portland Street, Century Street, Winifred Street, Mulgrave Street, Waterloo Road, Rutland Street and Lowther Street, are delighted to hear that the apparently rife problems with gangs, children drinking and with fly-tipping in the alleys, it’s a real shame that it has come to this.

The fact that the poeple living in the area have backed the idea and the council is setting aside £16,000 to install the gates means that the problems are out of the control of police and community support officers who can do little to halt the behavioural problems. And the only way to stop the crime and vandalism is to fence off the area permanently.

Considering that police claim how safe the streets are and how crime is diminishing locally, this kind of action is a bit of a damning reflection on things. Not all that many years ago, these were the very kind of alleys me and my BMXing pals used as a weekend playground. They were havens for kids up to a bit of mischief in the midst of a summer that seemed to last forever. A little nostalgic perhaps, but these labyrinths that ran amongst the rows of terraces were in my childhood, far from the scenes of terror now described by residents of lower Cobridge.

These designs have already been used successfully in Knutton and, in fact, I am in no way inferring that they should not go ahead with putting them in place, now that the antisocial behavioural problems have run out of control. But what I do stress is that rather than having to create an iron blockade, we should be expecting the police to be empowered with the wherewithal to rid the area of its problems. Because all this solution succeeds in doing is blocking the problem out of one back street and onto another unlucky enough not to be furnished with 6-foot iron gates.

And if we were to roll out the project throughout all the terraces of Stoke to ensure that the problem is erradicated, the city will begin to fall from its already mocked appearance into what resembles a ghetto.

Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll

By PnP Contributor, Mr Sugar

In the media this week it has been reported that a 48-year-old woman from the Sunderland area has been remanded in custody for noisy love making with her husband. Her application for bail was turned down by Magistrates and she will now spend ten days in prison before her trial.

This follows her conviction by Magistrates on April 17 for five breaches of an “abatement notice” for which she was fined a total of £515 and an ASBO was issued banning her from making excessive noise, knocking, shouting, screaming or vocalisation that can be heard in neighbouring properties or outside the house.

This all stems from action by her local council that issued her with the original abatement notice that would enable her neighbours to enjoy a quiet life in their own homes – a basic human right we all have.

In Stoke-on-Trent our council seems far less concerned with helping people have a quiet life in their own home. Drug dealers and boozers are allowed to continue to blight people’s lives daily in many parts of our City as they litter the place with fag ends and empty tins, shouting at each other without a care in the world, yet the response from our local police and councillors is that nothing can be done. It seems these people have their rights too and are thus entitled to hang around other people’s homes conducting their illicit trade seven days a week from early in the morning till late at night only punctuated by the arrival of the bigger dealers in their cars heralded by the sound system pumping out the “Ëœtunes’.

Locally our council is set to introduce £50 on-the-spot fines for litterers, no doubt with the focus being in Hanley town centre where they will be hunting the generally law abiding citizen that drops the odd sweet paper or fag end as they do their shopping. I wonder if there is the vision within the council and the police to focus the powers that they have to give a hard time to the people that are blighting people’s lives on a daily basis in order to curtail the state-subsidised layabout lifestyle that these choose to lead and impacts so much on others. I am sure they could come up with something that would be eminently more popular than hunting the occasional sweet-paper-dropping shopper.

Nemesis gets national recognition

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter

Nemesis, Staffordshire Police’s operation to shut down drug suppliers in Stoke-on-Trent, has collected an award for its role in tackling drugs.

The force has been awarded the “ËœBest practice against street level dealing’ award. It was presented to force representatives this evening, Thursday 30 April, at the Tackling Drugs Supply conference in Leeds.

Operation Nemesis was launched on 13 September 2007 following an undercover police operation which lasted over a year in Stoke-on-Trent.  Around 400 police officers attended the city’s King’s Hall at 5am that day to be briefed on the first of three major arrest operations over a three-month period.

In total 82 people were arrested in connection with the undercover operation which resulted in a 100% conviction rate and a total of 160 years imprisonment for offenders.

And following the arrests, planning with partner agencies, including the Primary Care Trust and City Council, ensured that services were put in place to support drug users to encourage them into treatment as their drugs supply vanished.

This had the aim of reducing the overall demand for drugs in the city as well as associated crime and anti-social behaviour.

Since the launch of Operation Nemesis over 750 raids on suspected dealers have taken place in the city – more than one per day on average. These raids have resulted in hundreds of people being put before the courts for drug related offences.

Ch Supt. Jane Sawyers, Commander for the Stoke-on-Trent Police Division, said: “Operation Nemesis has become a household name thanks to the support of officers, staff and partners involved in making it so successful.

“The community is showing its continued support and confidence in our work to tackle those involved in drugs with the sustained levels of information they directly provide to local officers or by calling Crimestoppers.

“The local communities affected by drugs are at the heart of why we will continue with Operation Nemesis – tackling the issues that matter most to members of the public.”

Job Centre Misery Continues

By Pits’n’Pots Reporter

Local residents in Northwood are livid about gangs of people gathering to drink on the streets since the building of a new Job Centre in the area. And I just happen to be one of them.

The Job Centre Plus on Upper Huntbach Street opened last March has been in the news several times, because of the strange phenomenon of visitors to the centre using the surrounding area as a place to meet, drink, shout and swear, fight, and allegedly, acquire and sell drugs.

Complaints about the antisocial behaviour have gone through the roof. And, although the council has made attempts to work with police to move the problem-causers on, they invariably return as soon as the threat has disappeared.

Last week, the usual intimidating revelry turned into an all-out fist fight, which attracted the appearance of a squad car. But the officers never actually got out of the car. As soon as they drove up, the people dispersed and they left it at that. No words were had, no arrests, warnings, or fines were even considered. And of course, the same people returned as soon as they knew it was safe.

When I moved into the area of Northwood, it was a quiet place and, although hardly the most celubrious of places in the city, was a nice place to live, without any antisocial behaviour, since a great deal of the local residents are of the more mature variety – in both senses of the word. Now, since the addition of this eyesaw of a building and all that has come with it, the atmosphere has changed considerably. Elderly residents and basically anyone who isn’t able to stand up to a band of drunken hooligans are now intimidated on what was once a nice short stroll from their front doors into Hanley. And visitors to the health centre, and shops in the area have suffered as a result. A mortgage advisor’s, has actually shut its doors and moved to pastures new as a result of the troublemakers.

But what can you do? On the majority of occasions, these unruly lot, despite their irritating and menacing behaviour, are not doing anything against the law. You can’t report them to police, since they are technically not doing nothing wrong, at least nothing you can prove. There were considerations that the alcohol-free zone that spans the city centre could be extended so that it would include the area outside the Job Centre – which is only one block away from where the restricted sector currently ends. But according to the most recent reports, this idea has now been abandoned – for some unknown reason.

One option available to worried homeowners concerned for themsleves or indeed the value of their homes, is to report any bad conduct ot the council’s antisocial behaviour team – something which has been done prolifically by various residents. They sent me a pack a couple of weeks ago after an influx of calls from local people, asking me to note down every time I witnessed an act which could constitute antisocial behaviour, and then file my reports to them. Does the council really think I have the time for this? Evidently this system was put in place for curtain-twitching complainers without anything better to do.

The problem of Job Centre visitors causing these kind of problems is not new. But the Job Centre used to be in the town centre. Now that it has moved to Northwood, the problem has been moved – from the precious streets of Hanley the authorities so want to improve for ‘tourists’ – to the doorstep of a large and now, unhappy, community which can’t do the slightest thing about it.


Well it seems that the issue of drinking in public just won’t go away,
I wonder why? Could it be that it is linked with most occurrences of Anti Social Behaviour? I have blogged before that this surge on our society needs to be tackled and a ban of drinking in public places would go a long way to stopping people felling intimidated whilst going about their normal lives.
Newcastle Borough Council have issued another 50 alcohol restriction zones, bring the total to 349. Anyone caught drinking in these restriction zones face a fine of up to £500.
Why oh why is it taking Stoke on Trent City Council so long to follow suit? In our city large numbers of honest residents witness countless episodes of anti social behaviour around our council and private estates, this problem has no respect of class or gender. Where I live in Meir Hay there has been loads of trouble with youngster congregating around our local Tesco convenience store and other shops where they hang around. Last year, because there was so much trouble around the estate and old people in particular were frightened and intimidated by these gangs and were often abused as they walked past them. I myself, witnessed a full on street fight where rival gangs the MHC (Meir Hay Crew) and the SHC (Sanford Hill Crew) were trying to beat several shades out of each other. The police were called and the gang dispersed.
Incidents like this prompted several public meetings instigated by Rob Flello MP and i have to say they were a tremendous success, even Mark Meredith was in attendance! These meetings gave people a platform to have their say and to take comfort in the number of people who wanted something done about this problem. Rob Flello persuaded the City Council to impose a section30 dispersal order on the Meir Hay/Weston Park estates. This order was in force for 6 months and it gave the police the power to disperse gangs of two or more young people, if they were caught more than twice in one day they were taken home, persistent offenders were eventually arrested and were made to sign behaviour contracts. No alcohol restriction orders were introduced, although Mr Flello talked about the possibility.
Recently i have noticed these gangs coming back onto the estates and i wonder if it will be a matter of time before the trouble starts again. Meir Park, Weston Coyney & Trentham are known to have similar problems.
There is no doubt in my mind that alcohol plays a massive part in anti social behaviour. It is so easy to obtain cheap beer and cider and some of the large supermarkets are to blame for this.
You only have to look at the case of Gary Newlove to see how dangerous alcohol can be in the wrong hands and i admit to being worried if a case like this will be seen somewhere in our city if we do not introduce Alcohol Restriction Zones and if Newcastle can have over 350 of these, why can’t our council before it becomes much, much worse? Is this a sledge hammer to crack a nut? Should we let young people drink alcohol in public? What would you do to defeat anti social behaviour?
Read the Sentinel Story on this by following this link:

Anti Social Behaviour – Again

Another example of Anti-Social Behavior is highlighted in todays “Sentinel” This particular story confirms to me that we have a City wide problem with this issue. Something needs doing now! If you haven’t read the story click here: http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk/news/Police-throw-book-stone-yobs/article-355127-detail/article.html

We live in Meir Hay and until recently we had a Section 30 dispersal order after a number of trouble filled months. We had quite a lot of young people both lads and lasses that had attached themselves to gangs. These gangs fought with the gangs off neighboring estates. Several Friday nights there were times that I was driving somewhere on would observe full on fights between these gangs and they would be all over residents gardens running in all directions. Police presence was regular and to be honest we could not have asked for better policing. The PCSO’s were particularly helpful at this time as the y were constantly on the beat and aware of any flash points. Old people were afraid to use the local convenience store as youths were gathering around these shops, insults and bad language were common place. The Section 30 lasted for about six months and allow the police to disperse groups of more than two under 18 youngsters, if they were seen more than twice in a day they were arrested and taken home. I know many gang members and other youths were given and made to sign “good behaviour contracts”. Mostly these worked and were effective but I also know of kids who were given these and had done no more than “just be out”. Some residents thought it was a sledge hammer to crack a nut! Rob Flello (MP for Stoke South) instigated many community meeting to tackle the issue of Anti-Social Behaviour and I attended all these and was really struck by how big a problem this was and what some people were going through. These meetings worked, with out a doubt and it got people together facing up to the issue and talking about it. This is something that needs to be done in Stoke North, So come on Joan Walley and the councilors involved get your fingers out and get cracking down on this now! It’s been a quiet twelve months around us but recently i have noticed gangs of youths hanging around the shops again, I’ll let you know what happens if anything. One thing that did come out of this was that there is absolutely nothing for the young people in our area to do and whilst this does not condone their actions, you feel that if they had some facilities they would not have to hang around the streets. Let’s all keep our eye on the Sentinel to see if this is going to be a bigger problem over the winter.