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Will skateboarders be banned from Church Square?
7:00pm Wednesday 22nd January 2014 in News
SKATEBOARDERS could be banned from Church Square after reports of damage to buildings and a number of “near misses” with pedestrians.
Police submitted a file of evidence to St Helens safer communities team last year requesting a bye law that would restrict the activity in parts of the town centre.
Officers have described a growing issue with youngsters gathering on the pedestrian zone, near St Helens Parish Church over the past 18 months.
Now a consultation process – which is to set to include youngsters who use the area – is to take place.
Large crowds of skateboarders often gathered there, particularly in the early evenings.
Many are said to be well behaved, but it is believed there have been occasions where youngsters performing acrobatic twists and turns have come close to colliding with pensioners who gather to use the square’s benches.
Police have also linked the presence of youths to criminal damage, abusive language and drug use.
The Star understands there have also been concerns that the skateboards cause damage to benches and stonework in the square.
A report put before the Safer Communities scrutiny panel at St Helens Council read: “Whilst it is recognised by Merseyside Police and the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) that there are young people who attend the area who cause no problems, the police have experienced difficulties in dealing with some of the group as they have no specific powers to move skateboarders away.
“Over this period, anti-social behaviour and criminal acts have been reported to the police, which have included criminal damage (graffiti & smashed glass in various business premises), possession of controlled drugs, the use of abusive language and ‘near misses’ between elderly pedestrians and skateboarders.
“It is the behaviour of some of the skateboarders that has the potential to cause injury to others that is of a concern.
“The neighbourhood staff responsible for policing the town centre reports difficulties dealing with the volume of people attending the area, including cyclists, who appear to be in the area in support of skateboarders.
“In July 2013, Merseyside Police submitted a file of evidence to Safer Communities proposing a bye law to prohibit the use of skateboarding at various locations within the Town Centre.
“As of December 2013, this proposal is still under consideration. Consultation is now underway with various stakeholders including the young people who use the town centre, local ward councillors and departmental heads within CYPS.”
The findings of the consultation will be reported back to St Helens Council in the near future before a decision is taken.
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