Majority don’t feel safe in Chesterfield town centre, poll shows

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Nearly three quarters of residents do not feel safe in Chesterfield town centre, according to an online poll by the Derbyshire Times.

Seventy per cent of respondents to OUR SURVEY said they felt unsafe in the area – amid continued fears about anti-social behaviour.

Sergeant Dave Nicholls and PC Stephen OCallaghan carrying out patrols in front of the town hall.

Sergeant Dave Nicholls and PC Stephen OCallaghan carrying out patrols in front of the town hall.

However, latest police statistics show reports of anti-social behaviour in Chesterfield town centre were down in June compared to the previous month.

The Derbyshire Times has repeatedly reported on residents’ concerns about yobbish conduct in a number of locations in Chesterfield, including the area around the town hall and New Beetwell Street.

On Monday, it emerged a warning was issued to an individual who set up camp in front of Chesterfield Town Hall and allegedly acted in a loutish manner with other people.

The person spent about two weeks in a tent which was pitched on the grass verge outside the prominent building.

This couple was seen getting it on in New Beetwell Street in broad daylight.

This couple was seen getting it on in New Beetwell Street in broad daylight.

A Chesterfield Borough Council spokesman said: “There was an issue of one person with a tent on council-owned land. It was in Shentall Gardens between the central path and the old magistrates’ court.

“The person was issued with a Community Protection Warning but has now left the area.

“They were there from mid-August and had gone by the end of August.

“There was one tent although other people may have been hanging around.”

Over the weekend, the Derbyshire Times received an email from a concerned resident who said: “Anti-social behaviour is getting out of hand in the town centre.

“I was walking up to the town hall from Queen’s Park and there were about ten people in a tent on the green outside. They all had beer cans and were shouting and swearing at 3pm.

“I’m a young woman and it’s getting to the point where I don’t feel safe here anymore.

“Why isn’t anything being done about it?

“I’ve reported things to the police numerous times and I’ve been met with nonchalance.

“The town centre is getting a bad reputation and it upsets me greatly.

“I dread to think what visitors think when they see people drinking on the town hall and people asleep on benches with cans all around them.

“I have lived here all my life and I have noticed it is getting worse.

“I hope it can be dealt with sooner rather than later.”

Meanwhile, a tent, people and a dog were spotted outside Chesterfield’s derelict magistrates’ court on Tuesday.

A shocked member of the public alerted the Derbyshire Times and we informed authorities.

The former courthouse, which is located between Rose Hill and West Bars, has stood empty for the last few years and become a hotspot for vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

The site received planning consent last year allowing it to be used for a variety of purposes including office, retail and leisure facilities. However, no development has yet taken place there.

Also this week, a woman told of her disgust after a couple apparently engaged in a sex act in broad daylight on New Beetwell Street.

She claimed the couple was ‘getting it on in full view of everyone who was off to work at 7.30am’ and added: “The area stank of weed and they had an empty bottle of vodka next to them.”

Commenting on the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook page, Adam Törincsi said: “Chesterfield town centre is getting incredibly bad. Soon we won’t attract tourists as we’ll be seen as a scummy town. The police and council have their heads buried in the sand.”

Emma Jackson said: “Chesterfield is going downhill. It used to be a nice town when I first moved here.”

Susan Grayson said: “I’ve not been to town for a long time – it’s not safe.”

Laura Warwick said: “It’s important that people’s needs are addressed.”

Sav Michael said: “Chesterfield, for me, is the safest place in Derbyshire.”

According to data on www.police.uk, 165 crimes in Chesterfield town centre were reported to Derbyshire police in June.

Of those, 86 related to anti-social behaviour – down from 95 in May.

Earlier this year, Sergeant Dave Nicholls, the man in charge of the team which polices Chesterfield town centre, told the Derbyshire Times: “In my view, anti-social behaviour is not out of control in the town centre. We don’t see it a lot.

“I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but personally I don’t believe it’s a massive problem.

“Saying that, one incident of anti-social behaviour is one too many and we’ll do all we can to tackle it.

“I want everyone to come here to enjoy this beautiful town and its facilities – but if you come here to create crime, we’ll do everything we can to make sure you can’t.”

Sgt Nicholls added that the area around the town hall, New Beetwell Street and the Crooked Spire’s grounds were ‘priority’ locations for police in tackling anti-social behaviour.

Report crimes to police on 101.