Praise as task force helps reduce crime in town centre

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Residents have been thanked for playing a part in ensuring Whitley Bay’s future.

Following concerns last September from residents about a perceived increase in anti-social behaviour and crime, a Whitley Bay Community Task Force was established by Mayor Norma Redfearn.

This is a major step forward for Whitley Bay and what you have done is going to make sure that Whitley Bay is a place that people can be proud of.

Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor

More than 50 people volunteered to work with North Tyneside Council, Northumbria Police and Nexus to tackle the problems.

And in the 111 days since, crime in the town centre has dropped 22 per cent and incidents of anti-social behaviour are down 43 per cent.

The mayor said:“You pointed out some issues that you were not happy about and have worked with use to help us do something about it because your community really matters to you.

“This is a major step forward for Whitley Bay and what you have done is going to make sure that Whitley Bay is a place that people can be proud of.”

An action plan has now been developed, in partnership with the residents.

Three priority areas targeted are to support the right businesses in the town and clampdown on those adding to problems; target addresses associated with anti-social behaviour; and target disorder on the Metro.

The next step will see Task Force members help rally wider community action and support future improvement of their town, by continuing to work to improve Whitley Bay with Big Local.

Residents have been rallied to help a project to revive the Whitley Bay Carnival of the 1950s and to get the community actively involved in sprucing up the seafront through replanting schemes, including on The Avenue site, in the interim period until development gets underway.

Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, of North Tyneside Area Command, told the meeting that the town centre’s crime and anti-social behaviour rate has moved from being the worst to the best in the sector.

He added: “I’ve been impressed by the level of support from many residents for the Whitley Bay ASB Taskforce.

“It shows that people care about this issue and are prepared to provide local information which is essential for the police and North Tyneside Council to effectively tackle the problem.

“We are working with our partners at North Tyneside Council to act on this information and this approach is now delivering improvements for the town.”

Tobyn Hughes, head of Nexus, said: “Whitley Bay’s Metro station is a huge asset for the town centre but one which can sometimes, as a result, be vulnerable to anti-social behaviour.

“Nexus and the DB Regio which manages trains and the station on our behalf, have played a full part in the task force’s work.

“Joint police and staff operations have targeted troublesome elements, the station has been given a deep clean, and we will continue to work with local people on projects to refresh the surrounding neighbourhood.”