Leighton Buzzard streets suffering the worst anti-social behaviour revealed

Johnson Drive, Leighton Buzzard    (Google Street View)
Johnson Drive, Leighton Buzzard (Google Street View)

A street in Sandhills has been highlighted as the worst area for anti-social behaviour in Leighton Buzzard.

Johnson Drive comes top of a list of “high demand” locations [where there have been three of more incidents] that police have been called to between July-September 2016, according to a report which has been presented to Leighton-Linslade Town Council.

In all there were 12 anti-social incidents in the three-month period, with the rest of the top five hotspots made up of

Vimy Road (8), Parsons Close Recreation Ground (7), Grove Road (6), and Leighton Buzzard High Street (6).

However Beds Police say the volume of offences means it is a “low level” problem and point out that anti-social incidents across Leighton-Linslade have dropped by 20.1% on the same three-month period in 2015. In July 2016 there were 130 incidents reported (151 in July 2015), August saw 96 incidents (160 in August 2015), and September the figure was 99 (97 in September 2015).

Reports categorised as rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour saw the biggest fall from July-September 2016 compared to the previous year, with a 78 decrease in incidents (157 compared to 235).

Conversely the biggest increase was in abandoned vehicles which rose from 18 to 37 between the periods.

Leighton Buzzard also had by far the best ratio of residents to recorded anti-social incidents when compared to other Central Bedfordshire towns.

During the July-September 2016 there was 1 incident for every 134 residents. Houghton Regis’s ration was 1:60, Dunstable 1:62 and Biggleswade 1:76.

For total recorded crime there has been a 1.8% drop in incidents when comparing July-September 2016 to same period in 2015. The most high demand ‘all crime’ location was listed as The Lancer in Lake Street with seven incidents, followed by the High Street, Morrisons, Parsons Close Recreation Ground, Tesco and Waitrose (five incidents at each).

The July-September 2016 ratios were 1 crime for every 78 residents in Leighton Buzzard, bettering Biggleswade (1:72), Houghton Regis (1:52) and Dunstable (1:44).

PCSO Elliot Weedon’s report to the council also listed incidents of note from July-September 2016. These include nine robberies, rowdy behaviour at a homeless shelter, an elderly couple having problems with youths, a newly-arrived sex offender stop checked, youths using a building site in Theedway as a BMX track, complaints about youths in Mentmore Park, and problems with street drinkers and shoplifters.

Sgt Clare Thomas, Central Bedfordshire Priority ASB team leader, told the LBO that Johnson Drive was not having serious issues.

She said: “It’s 12 incidents in three months, that’s four a month, we are taking very low levels of anti-social behaviour. We review on a daily basis all reports we have and direct resources accordingly.

“Officers will be tasked with patrolling an area when appropriate. We find the fear of anti-social behaviour is often worse than the reality.”

Town and Central Beds councillor Amanda Dodwell, who sits on the police liaison committee, said: “I have been aware of low level anti-social behaviour from youths in Johnson Drive and around Astral Park Pavilion over past two years or so. Unfortunately, it only takes one or two individuals to cause a problem in what is otherwise a pleasant and quiet residential area.

“The problems have been worse in the summer with the lighter evenings. In the past, the town council has funded additional patrols through Operation Dodford to increase police presence on the estate. I hope that with the increased resources provided through both Operation Sentinel and the promised strengthening of the local policing team that the police will be more visible on the estate and local residents will be reassured.”