Peterborough pupils get extra CCTV and lighting for Central Park - as graffiti yobs target trees

Pupils at a number of Peterborough schools have secured extra CCTV and lighting for Central Park - as graffiti vandals have targeted trees in the park.

By Stephen Briggs
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 4:58 am

A group of students managed to secure the extra security measures after becoming concerned about the safety at the park.

The group of students were brought together by Peterborough Citizens – a chapter of Citizens UK that works within communities to empower residents and inspire social justice.

They included representatives from Nene Park Academy, Greater Peterborough UTC, St John Fisher Catholic High School, Arthur Mellows Village College and Peterborough College, and were led by James Mepham,from Thomas Deacon Academy.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Trees damaged by vandal. Pic: Richard Ferris

They met with Councillor Nigel Simons; Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, John Peach; members of the Friends of Central Park group; and representatives from Cambridgeshire police and the City Council.

Following the discussion, students managed to negotiate five portable CCTV cameras and increased lighting in Central Park via solar stud lighting.

Eva Woods, a student from Nene Park Academy who helped lead the project, said: “Being part of Peterborough Citizens has meant opportunities have come flying at me. From writing the agenda to speaking at Campaign Actions, so much autonomy was given to me as a student and it has such an impact on us as young people to see what our contributions can help achieve.

“Working on the project has been great. I’ve made some new friends who care about change as much as I do from all across the city and I’ve had a lot of positive responsibility. The feeling of knowing that you are directly responsible for achieving a safer environment for thousands of people is unmatched.”

Trees damaged by vandal. Pic: Richard Ferris

David Bisley, Principal of Greater Peterborough UTC, said: “Myself and the whole Greater Peterborough UTC community are extremely proud of the work done by our students alongside Peterborough Citizens.

“Their dedication to improving our local area and making the city safer for everyone is testament to their commitment to go above and beyond. We always encourage our students to contribute positively to the world, so it’s inspiring to see them making such an impact.”

Former councillor Richard Ferris, who represented the Park Ward, also raised concerns about problems at the park, after a number of trees had graffiti tags sprayed on them over the weekend.

Mr Ferris said: “Apart from the damage to the trees, my biggest concern is that it could indicate some marking of territory by gangs. The amount of drug-related activity in Central Park is up again, as well as in local streets. We’re all rather despondent about it, as we raise these problems and, if we’re lucky, there’ll be some police presence for a few days, but then nothing again.

Students at the meeting

“We need to nip this in the bud, as tagging can soon get out of control.”

Sergeant Rob Reay, from the east Peterborough Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “It was great to hear from local students at the recent meeting and speak to them about personal safety, as well as issues within Central Park.

“Reported incidents in the park are actually low, so we’d encourage people to let us know if they witness criminal activity or have been a victim of crime.

“In the past the park has been an area where issues such as anti-social behaviour and drug use were reported to us more regularly, but we have seen a reduction following the work of local neighbourhood policing teams.

“We conduct regular patrols in the area and work closely with partners including the Friends of Central Park and Peterborough City Council.”