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Supt Gilbert Houalla 'concerned' by some calls made to the police
WYCOMBE’S top cop wants a debate on what constitutes 'anti-social behaviour' after becoming increasingly concerned by some call-outs.
Superintendent Gilbert Houalla stresses Thames Valley Police takes anti-social behaviour very seriously but he is pleading for residents to ask themselves if the problem they are calling about is actually a crime.
He said officers receive up to 20 calls a day about ASB and, while 90 percent of reports are legitimate, the others waste police time and potentially build barriers between officers and sections of the community.
Supt Houalla said: “If we’re not careful, we’ll end up with neither group happy.
"Police will attend a call and the people we’re dealing with will say, for example, ‘I’m a young kid playing on a playing field, I’m sorry if I’m a bit loud’.
“Police will see the sense in that and not take the actions that the person who reported it wants us to take. Kids have got to be kids.
“But if an officer calls over a child innocently playing with their friends, it will impact upon that child for years to come just because someone has reported him.
“I’m not advocating letting them run riot or making noise outside houses at 11pm, but when there’s three or four children playing in a designated area in the daytime, why are you reporting these kids? It’s a little too far.
Supt Houalla added: “There are also certain events – big football matches, the Queen’s Jubilee – where you know there will be people in a garden having a barbecue and they are going to make a bit of noise.
“I’m not saying don’t report ASB, on the contrary, I want people to report it because they shouldn’t put up with it - but we need to make sure what is being reported is actually ASB.
"A bit of common sense and tolerance please.”
Supt Houalla wants to launch a discussion about what is and isn’t ‘anti-social behaviour’ and will hold a live webchat with residents about the issue – and he is particularly keen to hear from the district’s younger generation.
He said: “If we don’t have the debate and have the public increasingly asking us to attend incidents which are clearly not ASB, it could ruin the relationship between police and the people.
“That ten percent is worthy of a debate because we’re talking about a high volume part of our work, so that ten percent of all calls is quite a substantial figure.”
The debate will be held on Thames Valley Police’s page on the Cover It Live website and Twitter on Thursday, October 25 between 4pm and 6pm.
Tweet your questions or thoughts to Supt Houalla ahead of the debate via @TVP_Wycombe
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