THE news that a security guard was needed for libraries in the summer holiday and the mindless vandalism of play equipment in Corringham has sparked an angry response from public protection portfolio holder Angie Gaywood.
Cllr Gaywood said: “I haven’t had the portfolio long, only since May, but in that time I have become increasingly concerned about the way the cuts in funding is hitting public services.
“We have heard that our library service had to employ a security guard over the summer break and that a superb sports and play area in Corringham – the AdiZone – has effectively been destroyed.
“All this, it seems, is down to young people behaving stupidly.”
She said: “I would like to make it clear that it is not all young people. I’m a mum myself and I know that the vast majority of youngsters are well behaved and a credit to their families.
“But some are not. No matter how few, their actions can have a huge effect on the rest of us, whatever our age.
“I want somebody to explain to me how cutting the number of police officers, around 7,000 nationwide over the last two years or so, can help decent, law-abiding people of all ages go about their decent, law-abiding lives and prevent these louts from spoiling things.
“I want to know how cutting local council funding is supposed to reduce anti-social behaviour or increase the number of affordable holiday activities for our young people.”
Cllr Gaywood said: “After I heard about what had happened in Corringham I called on local people to stand-up and be counted, to let the police and the council know who was doing these things.
“I stand by those comments. I also wonder whether – had Corringham police station been in use – local people would have come forward, whether police officers would have been on the scene. But it’s not open anymore. Officers are not based there. Is this an encouragement to those dim-wits? Sadly I think so.”
“Cllrs Phil Smith and Richard Speight have also raised their concerns with me on this issue and I am now calling a summit meeting to involve all three local councillors, representatives of the community forum, police and council anti social behaviour team.”