Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has called time on young thugs making life a misery in Shenstone.
Matthew Ellis told the ‘Phoenix’ enough was enough, “the police must come down on them hard!”
The small hard core of around eight local youths responsible for three years of mayhem should not underestimate his determination.
Police on notice
Nor should the police, whom he said he had, “put on notice”, about the absolute necessity for the problem to be dealt with.
Residents claim that some of the thugs’ parents are as bad as their children.
One adult was seen hurling abuse at a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) from the window of a car.
The lone woman PCSO was said to be in an impossible position after her call for uniformed support went unheeded as a gang of around 60 youths descended on the village playing fields to terrorise the neighbourhood.
‘Unable to resource’
The residents’ spokesperson was appalled when a police official told her later, “we were unable to resource this incident”, and, “I really hope you do not lose faith in Staffordshire Police.”
The culprits have been waging war on their own village since 2013.
The resident’s spokesperson, said: “The ringleaders were brought to the police’s attention when they were only 14-years-old.
“Since then there have been endless complaints but no one has been willing to help stop their criminal behaviour.
“They have just carried on with complete impunity.
“They continue causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.
“They’re minors. The police know what’s been going on. Yet the youths have been allowed to get away with openly taking drugs such as ketamine and cannabis in an area where very young children play.
Drugs and alcohol
“We have evidence the youths are also being sold tequila by a local retailer.
“They scare decent people away from the playing fields by intimidating and hurling foul-mouthed abuse at them.
“Elderly people in the area are terrified of these youths.”
Matthew Ellis has already been involved in funding security measures at the sports field and its clubhouse.
He said local PCSOs had made every effort to resolve the problem.
The Commissioner also praised the people in the playing field committee who had been fighting against the odds to provide facilities for their community.
But he said that despite everything that had been tried, the youths’ ringleaders had failed to respond.
He was deeply concerned that their, “low level thuggery”, was eroding public confidence in the police.
And he believed a failure now to meet the problem head on would result in worse being stored up for the future.
US criminologists use the term ‘The Broken Window Theory’, which comes from a book by professors James Wilson and George Kelling.
The academics say people walking past un-repaired windows conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge.
The same applies when youths are allowed to carry on putting communities in fear.
Former New York City Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, adopted the professors’ view that, ‘the little things matter’.
‘Quality of life crimes’
His community policing policy focused on tackling minor, ‘quality of life crimes’, including littering, harassment, smashing windows and graffiti daubing, referred to in the UK as, ‘anti-social behaviour’.
Giuliani’s belief that theses seemingly insignificant offences were a tipping point into violent and serious crime proved to be true.
When he bore down on the, ‘little things’, crime rates overall fell dramatically. The cost savings in policing his simple measures delivered were enormous.