06:47PM, Wednesday 29 July 2020
A dispersal order has been issued for Kidwells Park after reports of noisy groups gathering there until the early hours of the morning.
The order was authorised today (Wednesday) by police Inspector Tracey Croucher, and will run from 7pm on Friday to 9am on Sunday.
She said: “Young people and children have been locked up now for over three months, nightclubs are closed and there’s no loud music allowed in pubs.
“This is one of the reasons we have seen an increase in illegal raves and gatherings.
“I have to balance this with local residents' needs, for a good night’s sleep and for their children to be able to sleep, without hearing shouting, loud conversations and that irritating back beat that pounds through your floors.
“We have received complaints for the last four weekends of groups gathering in Kidwells Park, playing loud music, sometimes until 3am.”
The order will not affect those using the park for ‘normal activities’, Inspector Croucher added.
The anti-social behaviour in Kidwells Park has been called a ‘huge nightmare’ by a ward councillor.
A nearby resident, who did not wish to be named, reported earlier this month of groups holding ‘loud, boozy parties’ in the park in Wilberforce Mews.
These usually took place at night over weekends, they added, with shouting also becoming a problem for those living in apartments overlooking the park.
Nearby residents have also complained that groups gathering in the park are ignoring COVID-19 guidance.
Cllr Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s) said it was a consequence of people having more freedom post-lockdown.
But she said residents were tired of the noise and added she has since been communicating with council officers, and the police, to get the issues resolved.
“It is a huge nightmare for us,” Cllr Stimson told the Advertiser on Tuesday.
“Coming out of lockdown I think everyone has gone slightly crazy – and I am talking in terms of relieved.
“This place [Kidwells] is like a bowl because it reverberates the sound around.
“I have been in touch with the local police and my residents also phone them, either 101, or they will get in touch with our community officers.”
She added: “We can’t let this go on, otherwise we might have to close the park.
“We are only in the foothills of this I am afraid. It is so difficult because someone might go down and tell them to be quiet, or shout down (from their apartments) and then they get sworn at. My residents aren’t being unreasonable; some of them have work early in the morning.
“This is kids making a noise, being out of the frustration of lockdown. I am aware of it, it is deeply unpleasant.”
PS Ryan Powell, Problem Solving Team Sergeant at Thames Valley Police, said: “The local policing team in the Royal Borough continue to work hard to disrupt anti-social behaviour and any breaches of COVID legislation, in line with national guidance.
“We have been working with community groups in public spaces following our borough- wide ‘Public Space Review’ last year.
“This sought the views of residents and applied crime prevention measures to look after our public spaces.
“We have also used ASB (anti-social behaviour) legislation such as dispersal orders in response to COVID-related disorder to support communities and deter crime.
“We continue to work with the community so would encourage members of the public to continue reporting your concerns to us online in non-urgent situations, or via 999 if a crime is taking place at that time.”
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