Police launch new operation to tackle anti-social behaviour in Andover
Main article content
Andover officers have launched a new operation to tackle and reduce anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
Operation Solar aims to work with partners in a more co-ordinated way to tackle anti-social behaviour in Andover town centre, using a number of measures to help divert young people away from causing this type of disruption.
Over recent weeks, officers have been working jointly with partners including Test Valley Borough Council, Andover Town Council, the Chantry Security team and local charities to look at ways we can tackle these issues and make communities safer.
Teaming up with police, the council’s community safety officers and street rangers will be patrolling the area, to engage with young people, businesses and local residents, ensuring everyone’s safety.
The Chantry’s security team will also be looking to challenge groups or individuals acting in an anti-social manner in the area and assist officers in identifying those involved.
Officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s licensing team will continue to carry out test purchase operations in premises licensed to sell alcohol.
On 26 February, eight licensed premises achieved a 100% pass rate during a test purchase operation in Andover under Operation Solar. Staff in all eight premises challenged two 17-year-old volunteers when they tried to buy alcoholic drinks. When the volunteers couldn’t produce the appropriate ID, the premises refused the sale. We carry out these checks to make sure venues have the right training and processes in place. Operations like this one reduce the risk of young people being involved in anti-social behaviour, becoming a victim of crime, or being taken to hospital for medical treatment.
Officers also have Section 34 dispersal orders available for use in instances when anti-social behaviour has taken place. These orders give officers the power to disperse people involved in anti-social behaviour out of an area for a 48 hour period with no return. It also gives officers the power to seize anything used in the commission of anti-social behaviour.
Those under the age of 16 will be spoken to by officers and taken to their home address. Follow up work will then be carried out with their parents or guardians and practical advice offered on how to help this issue.
We have been working closely with the Yellow Brick Road Projects, a local charity who work with young people and help divert them away from crime and anti-social behaviour. Recognising each individual’s abilities, strengths and interests, programmes are developed to meet the needs of each young person, providing them with the opportunity to develop, network with others, learn life skills and enhance career opportunities. To find out more about Yellow Brick Road Projects, head to their websitehttps://yellowbrickroadprojects.com/
By launching Operation Solar, we are highlighting our commitment to tackling anti-social behaviour together with our partners to make communities safer.
Inspector Chris Taylor said “Tackling anti-social behaviour remains one of our priorities as we know it has a negative impact on communities and can make people feel unsafe.
“Andover has a strong sense of community and is a place where people should be able to go about their daily lives without feeling intimidated by large of groups of people in the town centre.
“We have been working hard alongside our partners in Andover to look at measures we can implement to tackle anti-social behaviour and help divert young people away from causing it.
“I hope that the launch of Operation Solar reassures our local communities that we take anti-social behaviour extremely seriously and through this more co-ordinated approach with our partners, it demonstrates our commitment to tackling these issues, making Andover a safer place for residents, businesses and visitors."
Cllr Barbara Long chair of Andover Town Council said "Andover Town Council support operation Solar. It is important that people feel safe in Andover Town Centre and steps are taken to tackle antisocial behaviour. We fully endorse the measures the police can implement to tackle anti-social behaviour and help divert young people away from causing it."
Steve Godwin, manager of Andover’s Business Improvement District (BID) said “We fully endorse Operation Solar and are working closely to support the police, Test Valley Borough Council and other agencies in stamping out any ASB problems. Andover Town Centre is predominantly an attractive, safe and caring place for people to visit and do business and it’s important that members of the public feel safe. We wish to send a clear message to those displaying antisocial behaviour that we do not tolerate bad behaviour here. Our Town Centre Ranger service, manages the widely used two radio system, ensuring close contact with retailers and the licensed trade, and we have an active Shopwatch and Pubwatch scheme working closely with other agencies”
We continue to urge anyone who witnesses anti-social behaviour to call us on 101 or report it to us online at https://www.hampshire.police.uk/as this information helps us build a picture of what is going on and where and plan our resources.