Harborough’s new police chief vows to redouble efforts to eradicate trouble at one of the town’s parks

He spoke as beat officers will go out on patrol at Little Bowden Recreation Ground tomorrow night (Saturday)

Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:23 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:24 pm

Market Harborough’s new police chief is vowing to redouble efforts to eradicate trouble and rowdyism at one of the town’s major parks.

Insp James Purdie is also pledging to work alongside residents living around Little Bowden Recreation Ground to tackle anti-social behaviour there head on.

He spoke as beat officers based at the town’s Fairfield Road police station will go out on patrol at the troubled park off Northampton Road between 7.30pm and 8.30pm tomorrow night (Saturday).

Insp James Purdie is pledging to work alongside residents living around Little Bowden Recreation Ground to tackle anti-social behaviour there head on.
Insp James Purdie is pledging to work alongside residents living around Little Bowden Recreation Ground to tackle anti-social behaviour there head on.

Insp Purdie has issued a statement today just 48 hours after a virtual public meeting was staged on Wednesday night to listen to and address fuming local people’s issues and concerns.

The public forum went ahead after a wave of incidents involving heavy drinking, drug-taking, loud music and rubbish being strewn around at the park over the last few weeks.

The online get-together was held just four days after Keiran Silcott, 21, of Lubenham, was stabbed in Market Harborough last Saturday night (June 12).

The shocking attack has stunned the town as a furious woman who lives near Little Bowden rec told the Harborough Mail that the area was being turned into a “hellhole”.

Today Leicestershire Police said: “Concern understandably has also been raised following an incident on Saturday evening where a 21-year-old man was found injured in St Mary’s Place.

“Two teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent in relation to the incident and since released on bail pending further enquiries.”

Insp Purdie, who’s just replaced Insp Siobhan Gorman as Neighbourhood Policing Area Commander for Harborough and Wigston, said: “We are aware of the concerns which have been raised and we are working with you, our residents, and listening to these concerns.

“This included at a residents’ meeting held this week.

“It is our priority to tackle these concerns and we are continuing proactive patrols in the area, including in the parks at peak times.

“We will also be holding beat surgeries in the parks at peak times to allow us to continue to talk with you about your concerns and the approaches we are taking.”

He added: “We will take action where it is required and will continue to enforce use of orders such as Public Spaces Protection Orders where required to help keep our area safe.

“Officers, along with our partners, also continue to work with young people to raise awareness of the dangers and harm which incidents can cause and to show where help and support can be accessed if needed.

“In the Market Harborough area, we have been working hard over the past year in relation to drug offences and specifically County Lines (drugs gangs), including working with the British Transport Police, and have seen success in terms of reducing this offending in the area,” said Insp Purdie.

“We have also seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour incidents.

“However, as always, we very much continue to work to address the issues being raised.

“We ask that you continue to work with us and continue to report your concerns to us as well as to provide information to us in relation to any criminal activity you are aware of.

“I would like to thank everyone who attended the meeting on Wednesday for sharing your concerns with us and to everyone who continues to work with us to help keep our local community a safe place to live, work and enjoy.”

Reports can be made by calling 101 or visiting www.leics.police.uk

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

An angry former police officer whose home overlooks Little Bowden rec is telling police to do much more to protect frightened local residents.

“I’ve lived here for 11 years and the situation here started to get much worse two years ago.

“Living here by the park has become hell day in day out.

“Drug dealers are coming in from outside Market Harborough and plying their evil trade here week in week out,” said the ex-Army medic.

“We’ve got a very serious problem with very dangerous and sinister County Lines drugs gangs moving in.

“Little Bowden rec has become a big drop-off and pick-up point for drugs – and people for miles around know that.

“We desperately need more police patrols.

“But we also need more CCTV cameras in the Britannia Walk alley to deter and catch these criminals,” said the woman.

“I can’t sit in my garden on a lovely summer evening because the smell of cannabis is so strong, it’s over-powering.

“Kids blast out ear-splitting rap music full of the worst swear words on most nights.

“We have families with children and elderly people living around here.

“This is totally unacceptable,” she said.

“I’ve ventured out into the park many times to try to talk to these louts but I just get sworn at and told to F off.

“Drink is another huge issue.

“The kids get their hands on everything from beer and lager to cider and vodka.

“And they then proceed to get drunk and fight with each other, threaten each other,” said the woman.

“I’m at the end of my tether – and a lot of other people here are too.

“I suffered severe combat PTSD after doing scary tours of Afghanistan with the Army.

“And this constant noise, fighting, drugs and drinking is sending me round the bend.

“The police and the council have to get their act together now.

“We hear about poor mental health all the time now – but what are they doing to safeguard our fragile mental health?

“I was very shocked but not surprised when the poor young man was stabbed near here on Saturday night.

“This has got to act as a massive wake-up call for the authorities.

“I grew up in Newham in London’s East End in the 1990s.

“That whole area’s becoming a no go zone after being taken over by violent drugs gangs armed to the teeth.

“We don’t want the same to happen here in our lovely town of Market Harborough.”