Councillor writes to authorities over rampant anti-social behaviour leaving Wigan communities 'under siege'
Parts of Wigan, including the town centre, are “under siege” from rampant anti-social behaviour, an alarmed councillor is warning.
Coun Lol Hunt, who represents Wigan Central, has taken the step of writing directly to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins.
Mr Hunt says offenders are operating in a “near lawless society” and lists a shocking catalogue of wrongdoing seen on the streets, including drug taking in broad daylight, residents being threatened, beggars behaving aggressively and even people urinating in public.
However, Coun Hunt stressed he was not looking to blame police or the council, instead slamming the Government for budget reductions which have cut front-line services to the bone.
Recent figures showed Wigan Central is something of an anti-social behaviour blackspot, with 13 of the 15 locations with the highest numbers of problems located in the ward.
Coun Hunt said: “My residents are at the end of their tether and I believe enough is enough.
“Our town has a long heritage of community spirit which is under attack.
“We must act now before the very fabric of our communities is taken apart.
“In areas such as Wigan town centre, Swinley, Scholes, Whelley and Whitley I have witnessed public drug taking outside schools, urinating in the streets, threats to residents, aggressive begging, speeding vehicles, and so on. Like most northern towns Wigan is under siege from all forms of anti-social behaviour.
“Those responsible for this shameful behaviour believe they can do what they like, when they like, with little risk of prosecution.
“Quite frankly they know the police, our local council and drug rehabilitating teams are overstretched and denied the funds they so badly need.
“Our local police and council do a first-class job and must not bear any blame for the rise in anti-social behaviour.
“This central Conservative Government has callously decided to cut Northern towns’ budgets and their citizens’ wellbeing. It has failed in its duty to protect our residents.
“My residents are continually writing to me and raising the issue of anti-social behaviour. I have seen issues rise year on year with no respite.”
Coun Hunt is now asking for police resources across the town to be reviewed and hopes increased numbers on the beat could bring down the disproportionately high levels of anti-social behaviour.
Problems in the town centre and surrounding areas have hit the headlines on a number of occasions recently.
A Scholes mum hit out after finding drug paraphernalia and seeing someone injecting themselves outside a church, while footage of people under the influence in a frozen, zombie-like state on Standishgate caused considerable concern.
Criminal activity should be reported to police on 101 or through independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Anti-social behaviour can also be reported to the town hall using the council’s ReportIt app.