Street drinking petition upsets some members and puts question mark over future of Wisbech Citizens' Patrol
PUBLISHED: 16:10 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:10 31 August 2017
It's been widely welcomed, has found and returned lost property and sometimes diffused difficult situations but its founder, Councillor Steve Tierney wonders if Wisbech Citizen's Patrol has a future.
Membership since it began 18 months has been as high as 30 but Cllr Tierney says they are upset by some of the views bandied around about street drinking.
He believes a petition to ban street drinking, now with 2,000 signatures, “has escalated the matter and quite frankly has made it out to be a lot worse than it is”.
Cllr Tierney says that is not to deny there are problem areas – which he feels the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) could resolve – but he believes ‘extreme’ views on some social media sites have gone too far.
In June four members of the volunteer group met Fenland police following an incident that had halted patrols for a short period. ]
Following that meeting the group said they were “confident that the police understand the concerns of the public on this issue and are taking appropriate action to deal with it”. Patrols were resumed.
Citizens’ Patrol was a big part of the Wisbech Rock Festival team, adding volunteers to the stewards / litter pickers / packing up crew throughout the day.
At the beginning of August two off duty patrol members encountered a difficult situation near Tillery Fields.
It was reported on the WCP Facebook page that some teenagers were having “an almighty to-do, screaming at each other, crying, threatening to kill one another, swearing and being broadly loud and unpleasant.
Onlookers were aghast at the scene which seemed to be escalating rapidly”.
WCP members eventually tried “a polite and friendly intervention” but in the end called police.
“To their credit, police were there within a couple of minutes, and very ably deescalated the whole thing,” the WCP reported.
Cllr Tierney once commented about WCP and noted that “sometimes we are there when something might happen and because we are there it does not happen. “Sometimes we are there when somebody needs a little help. And sometimes we just find lost and valuable things. It’s all good”.
Last Christmas the patrol was joined one evening by police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite.