Penzance councillors have voted unanimously to explore with Devon and Cornwall Police ways in which the Town Council could support recruitment and retention of special constables.
The decision was made during a crisis meeting at St John’s Hall yesterday evening to tackle antisocial behaviour (ASB) in the town.
At the meeting, attended by about 200 people, more than 20 members of the public spoke on their experiences of ASB in Penzance.
Councillors also voted to consult members of the West Cornwall CCTV Group, made up of other town councils, over funding additional daytime active monitoring of town centre cameras.
It was also resolved the council would work with Penzance Business Improvement District (BID) to create a campaign to promote the reporting of ASB offences not sufficiently urgent or serious to justify a 999 call, and explore with Cornwall Council and Penzance BID the potential to locate Cornwall Council ASB staff in a prominent, easily accessible, town centre location with a future town manager. The Penzance ASB Officer is currently located at Tolvaddon.
A recommendation to trial Community Safety Patrols to improve the reporting of ASB to the Police and Cornwall Council did not receive enough support to be passed.
Crime statistics for the previous 12 months show Penzance East, which includes the town centre, as having the highest level of antisocial behaviour of any post code area in the Duchy with an offence rate of 347 per cent of the national average.
Councillors report that with the arrival of spring and improved weather, there has been a dramatic increase in aggressive begging and intimidatory behaviour by street drinkers and overt drug dealing.
A meeting between Penzance Town Mayor Dick Cliffe, Cornwall councillors, Police and Cornwall Council’s Community Safety Team on 5 June concluded that the less serious incidents of antisocial behaviour were not getting reported to Police. It was felt this made Penzance appear less needy of Police resources resulting in the town receiving a smaller share of available resources.