“GANGS of feral children are roaming around town”, verbal and physical abuse, a “criminal element” dealing drugs are part of a “worrying problem in Haverfordwest, a county councillor claims.
Haverfordwest councillor David Bryan said that he understood that eight-year-olds had been offered drugs at the skatepark and a woman had been “jostled and called every name under the sun” by a group of young people near Iceland recently.
He was speaking at Pembrokeshire County Council’s policy and pre-decision overview and scrutiny committee on Tuesday (March 16) where a Notice of Motion calling for the skatepark and Picton Playing Fields to be an alcohol free zone was discussed.
The motion had been signed by all five Haverfordwest councillors with Cllr Tom Tudor highlighting the need for youth service provision to also be considered, with a recent drop-in centre near Wilko lacking the room and facilities need for a youth club.
He said children in Haverfordwest had “been dealt with unfairly” and not had a proper facility for some time.
This was echoed by Cllr Rhys Sinnett who said its “not just enforcement” that will resolve the issue adding youth outreach had had great success over the years in engaging with young people and “providing alternatives that do not involve walking the streets in gangs.”
“Enforcement is not the answer but a broader package of measures and engaging with the parents of these children as well,” he added, reiterating concerns about “displacement” if children are simply moved on from the skatepark and surrounding area.
A scoping exercise will be carried out to see if there is a need to consider making a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Haverfordwest town centre which would include evidence of crime statistics and complaints, to “bring a comprehensive picture together.”
A public consultation would also be required.