Home Knowsley Better Together Partners come together to tackle criminal damage in Huyton Village Centre

Partners come together to tackle criminal damage in Huyton Village Centre

by Jonathan Kearney

Partner agencies across Knowsley, including Knowsley Council, Merseyside Police, Livv Housing and local schools, are working with local businesses to combat recent incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour in Huyton Village Centre.

Millions of pounds of investment have been ploughed into Huyton Village Centre through the Shop Front Improvement Scheme and by new businesses who have decided to open up in the Village Centre.  And even more investment is planned over the coming years as part of the Council’s ten-year delivery plan.

However, a small minority – CCTV images show the issues being caused by a small number of young people – are intent on carrying out mindless acts of vandalism.

Multi-agency meetings have taken place and CCTV footage is being examined in order to identify the offenders.

The damage in the Village Centre predominantly involves windows being smashed, although there have also been reports of theft.

To date, 11 arrests have been made – predominantly of young people aged under 16 years.  The arrests are for a number of offences, including criminal damage, Section 47 assault, anti-social behaviour, burglary, theft, and drug offences.

In addition, 12 Acceptable Behaviour Agreements have been issued, one Notice of Intent is being explored to issue a Civil Injunction, and 4 Warning Letters have been issued.

In recent weeks, six Dispersal Notices have also been implemented.  Dispersal Notices are used to break up groups or two or more if Merseyside Police believe that their behaviour is causing a nuisance, harassment, or distress.

As a result of the ongoing investigations a review of CCTV footage, further interviews will be taking place over the coming days.

People visiting and working in Huyton Village are also being encouraged to report any incidents and CCTV continues to be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The CCTV operators have a direct link to Merseyside Police and can alert them immediately to any incidents.

In addition, high visibility patrols, as well as “plain clothes” patrols, have been stepped up in the area to provide a reassuring presence to the overwhelming majority of local people who simply want to be able to use the facilities in their town centre.

Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, said: “We are doing all that we can to identify those responsible for these mindless acts of vandalism and incidents of anti-social behaviour.  There has been a lot of investment in Huyton, with more to come, but we are also having to waste public money to repair the damage being caused.

“We know from the CCTV images that a number of those responsible are young people and I would encourage parents and carers to ensure that they know where their children are and what they are doing.

“Local residents have asked for better facilities and we are investing in our town centres to deliver just that.  But nobody wants to continue to plough the public’s money into our town centres only for the improved facilities to be vandalised by the children of the very families who want better town centres.

“We are asking our communities to ensure that our town centres and neighbourhoods are not targets for a minority intent on spoiling it for others.  We all need to play our part in this.”

If you have any information about the incidents of criminal damage or anti-social behaviour in Huyton Village Centre, please share it with Merseyside Police by ringing 101 or through Merseyside Police’s online form or through social media @MerseyPolice.