PUBLIC MEETING AT ST JOHNS CHURCH ATTENDED BY OVER 200 RESIDENTS ON ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR IN FARNCOMBE
Before I get into a summary I just want to thank everyone who attended and participated in the session. I also want to specifically thank the representatives of the police on the panel, the police and crime commissioner David Munroe and also those attending from local schools.
The session was chaired by Cllr Penny Rivers and was attended by many other towns and borough councilors in the audience. I was on the panel as Leader of Godalming Town Council and deputy leader of Waverley Borough Council.
This is a very quick summary but there will be formal minutes fairly soon for those who were unable to attend.
Police Inspector Gary Smith introduced the event and he and his colleagues discussed the situation in Waverley with specific reference to Farncombe.
Residents related their own personal recent experiences and provided ideas they had to address the situation. There were numerous questions also about the powers of police available for, councillors, and others to act?
These included some very brave speakers (including parents of some of the children involved).
The provision of CCTV was discussed for key points in Farncombe. Cllr Rosoman informed residents this was something on which she was already working with the Police.
The police and Crime Commissioner discussed some legal options which could be considered and I will follow up with him on some of these.
Youth service provision was discussed (and the meeting was joined by Andy Paulson of the Trinity Trust). There was a call for volunteers to help with this and the town councils’ new youth services group. There appeared to be a very positive response to that call.
We discussed the continued importance of reporting incidents to build up a full picture for police and to justify additional resources. Also raised was the reporting adults who are helping to enable the situation with both drugs and alcohol.
Godalming’s Town Clerk discussed the possibility of funding increased youth services by the town council and asked if residents in the room thought it was something worthy of a tax rise to fund?
As political leader of the town council, and noting the many previous studies highlighting that local youth services were considered key by residents but had been chronically underfunded, I pledged to formally issue a consultation to the electorate of Godalming and Farncombe to ask if such a tax rise at town council level to exclusively fund some serious youth services projects is something that they want? If it is, then I have pledged to deliver that.
I have also taken a number of actions relating to matters of national policy (such as curfews) which I have taken an action to raise with our MP when I meet him at Waverley in a few weeks time.
The meeting then closed just after 8:30pm. If I have missed anything please do let me know – and proper minutes coming soon (huge thank you to Cllr Adam Duce for taking the minutes).
A great deal of very positive conversations with residents after the event too.