Despite the vast majority of people thoroughly enjoying and taking advantage of the new facilities available in Kirkby Town Centre, Knowsley Council is disappointed to report that there has been a small minority who have engaged in acts of criminal damage – only a few months after the new facilities for local people have opened.
Knowsley Council and Merseyside Police are committed to taking appropriate action against this small minority, and will make full use of the powers available to them to ensure that a small group of people does not spoil the area for everyone.
The recent incidents have included newly planted trees being snapped, as well as glass panels in the multi-storey car park and one of the new retail units being smashed. There is excellent CCTV coverage in the town centre, and it is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The footage of the incidents has been reviewed, and, as a result, three young people were identified and arrested.
In addition to the arrests, 11 Acceptable Behaviour Agreements and 11 Warning Letters have been issued by Knowsley Council’s Crime and Communities Team to those suspected of being involved in anti-social behaviour in the area.
Merseyside Police continue to provide both high visibility and “plain clothes” patrols in the area, providing a reassuring presence and visible deterrent. If and when any further incidents of criminal damage occur, the clear CCTV footage will be reviewed, and action will be taken against those responsible.
Councillor Tony Brennan, Regeneration and Economic Development Cabinet Member, said:
“It’s really disappointing that our new facilities have been the target of mindless vandalism.
“The Council invested over £43m to construct the retail development, including improved landscaping in the area. Improved facilities in the town centre were something which local residents asked for and we have delivered, yet a small minority of people think it’s okay to destroy what has been created. It isn’t okay – they are spoiling it for everyone else, and what’s worse is that the majority of people who are doing this live locally.
“The cost of repairing the recent damage was around £15,000 – a cost which the Council is having to pick up, so local people are paying for it in other words. We have extended our CCTV network across Kirkby Town Centre and the high quality footage has been shared with Merseyside Police as part of their ongoing investigations. Arrests have already been made regarding a number of these incidents and footage of further incidents has been shared with Merseyside Police. We are hopeful that those responsible will be identified and arrested. Such behaviour just must not be tolerated – not just by the Council and the Police but also by the families and friends of those who are doing it. We will continue to work closely with our partners, including Merseyside Police and local businesses, to help to identify those responsible.
“If you are a parent, do you know what your children are up to and where they are? Our CCTV images show that those responsible for the recent incidents are all young people. It’s really important that we all do what we can to protect our Town Centre. I hope that we can all work together to stop those responsible. I do have to say that, in some cases, children have been returned home to their parents who have been horrified at their children’s behaviour, so hopefully those young people won’t reoffend. We won’t be able to afford the continued improvements to our Town Centre if they are just going to be a target for mindless vandals.”
If you have any information about those responsible for causing criminal damage in Kirkby Town Centre, please contact Merseyside Police on 101. You can also share information online through the Merseyside Police website or via social media @MerseyPolice.