Using powers given to him under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014, Greg triggered an Anti-Social Behaviour Review, working with organisations such as Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Community Safety Unit, Kent Police, the Safer Town Partnership, Town & Country Housing, the CCTV Partnership, Kent Youth Justice and Kent County Council Education Department, to stem the wave of Anti Social Behaviour hitting Tunbridge Wells.
It is important that any resident that witnesses anti-social behaviour - or is a victim of it - reports it to the police as this will strengthen Greg's hand in ensuring action is taken.
A full timeline of the actions Greg is taking is here:
13th September 2023
Writing in the Times of Tunbridge Wells Greg demanded that more action is taken against the wave of anti-social behaviour that has spread across Tunbridge Wells town centre, Southborough, Sherwood and Paddock Wood.
In the article, Greg says:
"The peace of too many people in our community has been ruined by anti-social behaviour carried out by a specific, increasingly lawless group of young people over recent months. Before the school holidays much of their activity was centred around the St John's area, but during the summer aggressive, destructive and intimidating behaviour has spread to area including the town centre, Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, the Nevill cricket ground, and Southborough, Sherwood and Paddock Wood.
"The actions are criminal: vandalising property, harassing members of the public (including people working in shops), threatening people, and spraying graffiti. In my view, not enough has been done to end this. We now need a more robust response from the police and the Council....
"The time has come for a stronger grip to be taken on the problem of anti-social behaviour in our area. ASBA provides for a ‘Community Trigger’ – where a citizen can trigger a review of the handling of anti-social behaviour in an area if there have been three or more incidents of concern over a 6 month period. We have had many more than that. So I have written today to the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to trigger this escalation. The resulting independently chaired Anti-Social Behaviour Review will assess the adequacy of the response made to date and require further action that should be taken to restore tranquillity to our area.
"I hope this will provide the catalyst for a more effective resolution of the wave of anti-social behaviour that has hit us these last few months, and make our community safer and more enjoyable for all residents."
A copy of Greg's full Times of Tunbridge Wells article can be found here
Friday 29th September 2023
Greg met with the Community Safety Unit of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and its Police Inspector Ian Jones. The meeting was triggered by Greg exercising powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014 to force a Case Review, also known as a Community Trigger. He outlined in a letter to the Chief Executive of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, copied to the Police, examples of the behaviour that have been reported to him that he described as ' an unacceptable blight on the peace enjoyed by the residents of our Borough.'
During the meeting the two discussed current measures being taken and what more needs to be done.
Greg also met with the Chief Superintendent of Kent Police West Division, Neil Loudon, to discuss the wave of antisocial behaviour that has been hitting Tunbridge Wells, Southborough and Paddock Wood and the Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) review,
27th October 2023
Greg took part in a crunch meeting held to halt the wave of anti-social behaviour that has affected Tunbridge Wells and surrounding areas this year. The meeting was triggered by Greg exercising powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014.
The organisations that met were Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Community Safety Unit, Kent Police, the Safer Town Partnership, Town & Country Housing, the CCTV Partnership, Kent Youth Justice and Kent County Council Education Department.
The meeting accepted Greg’s case that the Borough had been suffering from an unusually high level of anti-social behaviour. It identified the cause as being a number of groups of young people who, in combination, had committed acts of intimidation, criminal damage, theft and assaults throughout the last six months. What is particularly notable about this outbreak is that the perpetrators are younger than typical offenders – mostly 12 to 16 year olds - and include girls as well as boys, and operate during daytime hours more than at night.
Participants agreed that an action plan would be jointly produced including consideration by the Borough Council of uses of its powers such as allowing Enforcement Officers to gather evidence from body-worn cameras and to issue fixed penalty notices for anti-social behaviour.
Speaking after the meeting Greg said:
“I was pleased that my use of the Community Trigger has had a galvanising effect. All the agencies agreed that the problem of anti-social behaviour has surged this year and needs to be gripped. Some immediate actions are already underway – such as the increase in police numbers. But it was accepted by all that many more measures can be taken to stop this wave of disorder, to turn the situation around and to make sure it does not happen again.”
A full update can be read here.
12th January 2024
Following action he triggered last year, Greg today met with the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, the Police, the CCTV partnership, business representatives and other partners to discuss the plan to tackle it.
The meeting looked back at anti-social behaviour data which demonstrated that there was a big increase in these acts compared to the year before.
Despite this, Greg was encouraged by the joint work being undertaken to solve this and concrete action which has been taken so far. This includes more police patrols; new and improved CCTV cameras; and new sports sessions in the evenings for young people from next month.
Greg’s full update can be seen here.
8th February 2024
Greg recently met with headteachers to update on the situation in St John’s and to ensure that headteachers are given the support they need to keep their pupils safe.
Recent positive developments from these meetings has seen more police patrols; new and improved CCTV cameras; and new sports sessions in the evenings for young people, Greg met with local headteachers to include them in the important discussions that are taking place.
Greg was pleased to learn that all the headteachers were in agreement that they had started to see a reduction in antisocial behaviour in the St John’s area, which was particularly bad during last year, as a result of the measures taken.
Greg took away some actions from the meeting that were to:
- Secure the use of Town Safe radios that had been given to schools on a trial basis
- Arrange a meeting with the new Community Safety Inspector
- Write to the Police and Crime Commissioner and urge him to reinstate a Town Team and to increase the Child Centred Policing team
- Ask the Police to tackle the ongoing issue of shops selling vapes to children
The headteachers agreed on the importance on maintaining a joint approach, and to continue to work together to tackle these issues.