12 February 2008
Caerphilly Skate Park, near Caerphilly Leisure Centre has in the past been the frequent focus of complaints from local residents, after a series of incidents involving older youths congregating in the area, drinking alcohol late at night and preventing skaters from accessing the park.
Resulting factors have included criminal damage to the Leisure Centre itself, general disorder and associated litter that, it is believed is linked to alcohol consumption.
In recent weeks however, following a number of targeted operations by Gwent Police in partnership with Caerphilly County Borough Council, the amount of complaints made to the police has vastly reduced, to just 2 in the past 6 weeks.
PC Ezra Huckle of Gwent Police said, "By undertaking these operations in partnership, we are putting out the consistent message to the youths responsible that such behaviour will not be tolerated. It is evident that we are making significant progress in tackling the problem by the decrease in the number of complaints made. The real test however will be ensuring that this good work continues, particularly as spring and the Easter holidays are fast approaching."
The Skate Park, which was part funded by the Sports Council for Wales and is run by Caerphilly County Borough Council's Park Services, is considered by many to be one of the best-accessed skate parks in the county borough, and has diverted large numbers of skaters away from Caerphilly town centre, resulting in a real decrease in anti-social behaviour in that area.
PC Karen Gifford of Gwent Police said, "In addition to attracting skaters from Caerphilly, the skate park also attracts many youths from Machen and Bedwas, diverting the skaters from these villages also."
There has also been significant contributions by the local Youth Offending Service to the Skate Park, who are heavily involved with carrying out ongoing reparation work in the area, such as litter picking, removal of graffiti and painting. Recently the Leisure Centre has had CCTV cameras installed to the rear of the building, which is hoped will act as a deterrent.
Future plans for the site include the installation of floodlighting in the area, which is subject to funding, as is the idea of installing a youth shelter in the area.
Caerphilly County Borough Council's cabinet member for the environment and community safety, Cllr David Poole said, "It is important to continue maintaining the skate park because of the marked decrease in anti-social behaviour in Caerphilly town centre and surrounding areas, not to mention it would be a great shame to lose such a popular youth facility in the area, but at the same time it is important to take into account the views of local residents, and look at further ways of reducing anti-social behaviour within the vicinity of the skate park."
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