Officers work with partners to address anti-social car meets in Basingstoke
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Hampshire Constabulary has been working with partners to address the anti-social use of vehicles in Sainsbury’s car park on Wallop Drive.
Following a number of recent reports of anti-social behaviour at the site, a permanent ANPR camera has now been authorised for installation.
This will result in drivers receiving a £100 fine if a vehicle enters and remains in the car park for more than 10 minutes after the store has closed.
In addition, both Sainsbury’s and the security firm that oversees the site, Mitie, are exploring traffic calming measures that could be introduced to the site later this year.
These measures have been brought in after officers became aware of an increase in anti-social behaviour during car meets in the town.
While the majority of car enthusiasts are passionate but law-abiding, we have seen car meets recently where a minority have acted irresponsibly and illegally.
Unfortunately, the temporary ANPR camera that had been installed at Sainsbury’s was damaged and on Saturday 5 March, there was a large car meet that saw vehicles being used in an anti-social manner.
This caused significant amounts of disruption to local residents.
Police attended and restricted access to the site that resulted in the vehicles dispersing.
Meanwhile, on Saturday 12 March, a static car meet took place at Brighton Hill Retail Park.
This group remained stationary, with their engines off, allowing them to respectfully examine vehicles without causing distress to local residents.
We want to be clear that car meets themselves are not an issue as long as they are conducted lawfully and with respect to businesses and residents.
However, we will not tolerate anti-social use of vehicles. Not only is this disruptive to local residents, but it also puts other road users at risk.
We will not allow such behaviour to go unchallenged and have a robust plan in place with resources allocated to it.
Officers will use available legislation and take action where necessary, which can include seizing vehicles, penalty notices, notifying insurance companies of illegal modifications, dispersal notices and arrest and prosecution where necessary.
We would like to reassure residents that we are doing everything we can to tackle this problem.
We are working with our partners at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to bring a halt to the anti-social use of vehicles that are occurring at these kinds of incidents.
We are also supported our colleagues in the Roads Policing Unit who, at a recent car meet, took action for the following:
Two vehicle registrations failing to conform to requirements
One set of tyres with insufficient tread
One individual driving without insurance resulting in the seizure of their vehicle
One individual who was driving otherwise than in accordance with their licence
Two incidents of driving without due care and attention
We would like to encourage residents to continue reporting anti-social use of vehicles through the 101 line so it can be filtered down to local policing units. This can also be done online at www.hampshire.police.uk.
You can also report vehicle crime through Hants SNAP, which is a police initiative aimed at dealing with traffic offences caught on camera.
PC Bex Mason, from the Basingstoke Neighbourhood Team, said: “Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in Basingstoke.
“I would like to thank our partners and Sainsbury’s and Mitie for introducing these measures that will hopefully act as a deterrent for drivers looking to cause a disturbance.
“We have a plan in place to deal with this type of disorder, and we will continue to work with our partners to combat this issue in the longer term.”
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Interim Executive Director for Residents’ Services, Tom Payne, said: “While the majority of people attending car meets are law-abiding, a small number behave in an anti-social way causing distress and nuisance to local residents.
“We have worked closely with our police colleagues to address this problem and we welcome the action that Sainsbury’s and Mitie have taken by installing these measures to prevent further incidents taking place on their land.
“Anyone who attends such events in the borough should behave in a considerate and responsible way and not cause a disturbance to residents and other road users.”