Taunton, Deane MP Rebecca Pow brought together a wide range of stakeholders in a special roundtable meeting last Friday with the focus on tackling anti-social behaviour in Taunton, the first of its kind in the area. This was prompted by an increase in incidents over the summer, with shops broken into, windows smashed and items stolen leaving some local business leaders thousands of pounds out of pocket and staff also feeling for their safety.
Over the Summer, the glass frontage of the Brazz restaurant at the Castle Hotel was smashed whilst customers were enjoying their breakfast inside; the Rocket and Bird was broken into; windows at the Little Wine Shop were damaged and The Shed Café in Taunton was also broken into on two separate occasions.
Those attending the roundtable included: the Taunton Chamber of Commerce; Avon and Somerset Police; Somerset County Council; Taunton Town Council; Visit Somerset; Taunton Pubwatch, Ark Inspire; together with many business owners who recounted their experiences.
Local MP Rebecca Pow said:
“I was pleased to instigate our first-ever anti-social behaviour roundtable with a wide range of stakeholders to discuss some of the unacceptable issues our valued business owners have been facing around our county town over the Summer. It was a really constructive meeting and very useful to all come together to work on coordinated efforts to tackle this issue.
Key areas raised included: the potential for the council to use the powers available to it to more effectively to tackle antisocial behaviour; closer working with the community police teams; specific town centre security representation; ensuring CCTV cameras are in the most relevant locations; and knowledge sharing amongst the stakeholders. Particular concerns were raised about how to tackle those allegedly responsible for the anti-social behaviour incidents including the homelessness sector and a youth element.
All were unanimous in agreeing. It was a much needed and constructive meeting and we agreed to a follow-up meeting to report on progress on the way forward. This work builds on the Prime Minister’s commitment to address this issue through his recently launched anti-social behaviour plan.”