The Richmond Society is deeply concerned at anti-social behaviour and crime in the town and surrounding area as COVID-19 lockdown measures have eased. We intend to work closely with the Council, police and others to deliver improvements.
In the meantime we urge you strongly to tell the police about further incidents. You should register incidents online at www.met.police/uk. If you seek police attendance call 101 and the police will register the call and decide the priority. If you need support right away call 999.
The Society’s Trustee responsible for the town centre, licensing, anti-social behaviour and police liaison is Peter Willan. He writes:
Richmond has always been a magnet for visitors from all over London during the summer. Now it risks being the destination of choice for visitors who, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cluster and create disorder and intimidate, threaten and scare residents and other visitors. They fight and brawl, and violence erupts.
Urination and defecation in open spaces and close to homes has reached crisis levels. Noise and music disturbance, sometimes to 3:00 am, has escalated. ASB, disorder and crime in Richmond’s evening economy have risen seriously.
A large virtual public meeting arranged by the Council Leader, Cllr Gareth Roberts, with a presentation by the Police Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar, was attended by Society members. Members of the public, including two Trustees and other members, asked questions. A video recording of the conference can be viewed here.
Pro-active intervention and deterrence by the police and the Council’s Parkguard last weekend using dispersal and other powers reduced the number of more serious incidents and the edginess that pervaded the Green, the Riverside and the Terrace and Terrace Gardens on Richmond Hill.
The re-opening of pubs, bars and restaurants this coming Saturday and the Government’s easing of licensing laws could result in Richmond’s streets and open spaces becoming one large beer garden.
We are discussing with the authorities the lack of lavatories and the prevention of the more serious incidents of crime and disorder including drugs dealing. Disruptive people must be discouraged from coming to Richmond. The supermarket supply of alcohol to under-age drinkers is also a high priority for attention.
The Society seeks a much-needed update of the Council’s 2011 observational study of Richmond’s evening economy. We are also reviewing the application of legal powers of dispersion and Public Space Protection Orders. We are discussing with the authorities fixed and mobile CCTV coverage, and signage informing people of ASB laws and penalties.
We will continue to update you and welcome your observations about any part of the town and its surrounds that need attention. Please send any comments to us at www.richmondsociety.org.uk/contact.