October 30, 2020 5.03 pm This story is over 42 months old

Renewed calls for Boston park to be locked at night over crime fears

Residents say they don’t feel safe

Councillors in Boston want the town’s Central Park gates to be locked overnight in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour and reassure residents who feel unsafe in the town.

A review into the town’s economy before scrutiny at Boston Borough Council on Tuesday also calls for tougher measures around alcohol licensing.

A number of recommendations will see the council lobby government for further action.

The closure of the park has been a controversial issue, with residents saying it will combat incidents such as where individuals were seen urinating or defecating in the area, sleeping there overnight and other alcohol-related anti-social behaviours.

Council leaders, however, have previously said there was a lack of evidence and a potential increase in costs associated with the move.

They include:

  • Banning the sale of alcohol during licensing appeal periods
  • Licensing the sale of tobacco
  • Closing businesses in breach of licensing conditions “immediately” until an official hearing
  • New fining powers for police and senior councillors
  • Increasing alcohol licensing fees
  • Increased public reporting of anti-social behaviour figures

The report suggests a four month trial period.

The review took in feedback from more than 150 people, as well as crime and safety officials.

A report to members next week said: “The feedback provided a very clear insight into the key concerns held by the public and their perceived fears and frustration in respect of licensing activity and police enforcement within Boston.

“Representation by the various support services within the town all agreed certain areas identified within the consultation including ease of access to strong alcohol, and ongoing pharmaceutical misuse drive fears.

“However, they also confirmed reductions of ASB and aspects of such, within the town centre.”

Residents said they did not feel safe in Boston. Pictured is West Street. Photo: Google

A recent Police and Crime Commissioner survey saw 46% of residents score Boston as 5 or less out of 10 in relation to how safe they feel, while 58% said their community was “becoming less safe”.

Meanwhile, data in the report shows “significantly higher” enforcement action in Boston than in Skegness and Horncastle combined pre and post COVID-19 lockdown.

The report said the majority was youth-related.

Another report from a previous meeting said issues were raised around drug taking, large groups loitering around off licences, worries about violence, “genuine fear” about going out and a “continued lack of respect by some European nationals”.

“Residents felt that Boston had no-go areas / ghettos within the town that were unpoliced, and there appeared an overall lack of confidence in the police and council,” said the report.