ANTI-social behaviour is still a major fear for people living in Vale Royal - and the borough council's community safety manager has admitted Winsford is a particular problem area.
A survey by the National Audit Office revealed one in four people across the borough consider anti-social behaviour to be 'a big problem'. Winsford itself has been plagued by disorderly youths and alcohol-related crime over recent years. And whilst police efforts have seen crime figures fall of late, many residents still feel the problem is blighting the town's image.
Vale Royal community safety manager John Roberts told the Chronicle: 'Everywhere suffers from anti-social behaviour but there are some areas that we receive more reports from and have more trouble from than others, and Winsford is one of them.
'There are certain parts of the town that are particularly troublesome, especially the Over and Wharton wards.
'We have a national target to reduce the number of people who consider anti-social behaviour a major problem from the current level to below one in five and we are hopeful of achieving that.'
Grange Residents Association chairman Mike Kennedy say closer community relations are needed to eradicate the problems. He said: 'I am pleased to see anti-social behaviour in some parts of town has dropped thanks to the pro-active measures taken by officers of the neighbourhood policing unit and the community safety partnership. But some areas are still blighted by anti-social behaviour that needs to be stamped out. This must be achieved by the closest of community liaison from all agencies. Anti-social behaviour will never be eradicated unless all agencies work hard with communities to adopt a zero-tolerance approach. The relative lull at the moment is down to the efforts of the police andthe community,notareversal in social decline.'
POLICE say they target specific areas when intelligence shows there is a problem with anti-social behaviour.
A spokeswoman said: 'People's perception of crime is not in line with reality - the fear of crime is in fact greater than crime itself.
'In Winsford and indeed across all of Cheshire, anti-social behaviour is treated seriously. There are
always operations running to tackle any problems which exist. These operations not only involve the use of high-visibility patrols and enforcement action such as arrests and fixed penalty notices.
'Measures such as Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and Acceptable Behaviour Contracts are also considered and put to good use by police and partner agencies.'