The Mayor stated that he wished to speak on the following issues:
The Mayor stated that anti-social behaviour was an issue across the whole of the country. Although progress had been made in some areas, anti-social behaviour was still too high in Middlesbrough.
The Mayor advised that there had been longstanding issues with anti-social behaviour in the Hemlington area. Many of the issues were mainly due to a small group of people who were committed to carrying out acts of anti-social behaviour. The police were unable to police the area 24 hours a day and there was a limit to what they were able to do.
The Council could spend more money on youth services, but more needed to be done. There needed to be consequences for bad behaviour. The Mayor urged people to continue to report anti-social behaviour and crime in the area, so that the police had enough data/evidence to prosecute the offenders. Twenty four new security cameras had been ordered, and were due to be installed throughout the Hemlington area. The delivery had been delayed due to Covid, but they were due to arrive in three weeks. It was anticipated that the cameras would deter crime and capture any incidents in the area. This would assist in any action being taken against the offenders. More resources would be allocated to Hemlington in the near future.
The Mayor stated that every Ward had some elements of anti-social behaviour/crime, but by continuing to report it, hopefully the perpetrators would be caught and prosecuted.
The Mayor advised that it was anticipated that BOHO X would be completed in the following ten months. The Council was currently in advanced discussions with those interested in occupying the site.
The Mayor advised that Tollesby shops had been derelict and an eyesore for a number of years and the site had attracted anti-social behaviour and damaged people’s mental health. Following the Council’s acquisition of the Tollesby shops, there would be new apartments for retired people and shops for the community would be put in place of the old shops. The Mayor urged people to get in touch if they had any issues regarding sites that had become an eyesore and the Council would try and deal with the issue.
The Mayor advised that the Council had purchased the Cleveland Centre for two reasons. The price of the centre had fallen from £100m to £12m and the rental that the Council received from the occupiers of the Centre, exceeded the cost of the loans and the interest that the Council had to pay. Doing nothing was not an option, and the centre needed to be looked after.
Captain Cook Square Shopping Centre
The Mayor advised that the builders were currently on site in the former T J Hughes store. A private company had taken over the premises. The plans for the site, included an indoor Go Carting/Golf/Bowling Centre which would be open from 10.00am until 2.00am. It was anticipated that the facility would open in April 2022.
The Mayor advised that he had appointed two new Executive Members. Councillor Luke Mason had been appointed as Executive Member for Young Adults and Political Engagement, and Councillor Tony Grainge had been appointed as Executive Member for Neighbourhood Safety.
Holocaust Memorial Day
The Mayor reminded people that the following day was Holocaust Memorial Day. He urged members to think about the Holocaust and also to remember the people caught up in the conflict in Ukraine.
Jobs and the future
The Mayor stated that the television and the press were full of negative things. Utility bills were due to increase and this would hit the poorest people hardest and the Government and the Council needed to plan for that.
The Mayor advised that he had recently attended a jobs fair, and had been informed that there was difficulties in filling all of the vacancies. He advised that the opportunity to work had never been so vast.
Councillor M Storey stated that in respect of the Holocaust, everyone need to reflect on the event, He advised that it was getting to the point that there would be nobody left alive who had suffered as a result of the event and lessons needed to be learned.
Anti-social behaviour was a major issue, and although the focus was currently on the Hemlington area, there needed to be a strategic policy on anti-social behaviour and crime to cover the whole of the town. The PSPO currently only covered the Central and Newport Wards and this was an issue as all Wards were experiencing anti-social behaviour and crime, which was why a strategic policy that covered the whole of the town was required.
Councillor Storey also stated that it was good that the Mayor was speaking about the lack of police officers. 500 police officers and 50 PCSOs had been lost. The Council had lost 40% of its budget from Central Government. The Mayor needed to speak out more about funding received from Central Government. The Mayor needed to understand community triggers,
Councillor Storey stated that he was pleased with the proposed developments at Tollesby shops and he congratulated Councillor Dean with regard to all her previous work in pushing for improvements at the site.
News about the Helepad was pleasing.
In terms of the Cleveland Centre, Councillor Storey stated that it was pleasing to see that the Cleveland Centre would be brought back into use.
Councillor Storey advised that in terms of the increase in utility bills, the Labour Party had a policy of scrapping VAT on bills.
Councillor Uddin referred to anti-social behaviour in the town and he stated that the family of the children committing anti-social behaviour needed supporting. He stated that prison was not the answer.
In response to the comments about anti-social behaviour, the Mayor advised that prison sentences did work as a deterrent to others. A prison sentence would take people off the streets, it would warn others that there were consequences and so would act as a deterrent in the future. There had been too little enforcement in the past.
Councillor Mawston advised that everyone should remember the Holocaust.
The referred to the Endeavour ship that was previously located in the Cleveland Centre.
In terms of anti-social behaviour, he advised that he and Councillor Davison reminded people to report anti-social behaviour and crime but many were afraid of retributions.
The Mayor stated that the he would be happy to discuss the Endeavour ship.
Councillor McTigue stated that more effort needed to be made to get the perpetrators of crime off the streets. The current Criminal Justice system needed to be scrapped. Parents should be fined for the actions of children committing anti-social behaviour and crime.
Councillor Bell stated that he agreed with the comments about anti-social behaviour in Hemlington. Parents needed to be held responsible for the actions of their children. Detention centres needed to be brought back so that the parent and the child who had committed anti-social behaviour would have to attend at certain times of the day. Councillor Bell advised that the Neighbourhood Safety Officer was working with the Police and Thirteen were working together to tackle the issue.
Councillor Cooke stated that the root cause of many of the causes of anti-social behaviour was because of organised gangs. It was the leaders of these gangs that needed to be targeted.
The Mayor stated that the issue in Hemlington was different to that in Gresham. In Hemlington, it was a small number of 15 to 16 year olds that were causing the issues. If more cameras and wardens had been committed to the area four or five years ago, the situation might not be as bad as it was at the moment.