Peterborough councillor calls for boy racers’ cars to be crushed in fight against anti-social driving

Cllr Julie Howell
Cllr Julie Howell

A Peterborough City Councillor has called for anti-social drivers using the city’s streets as a race track to have their cars crushed in a bid to put the brakes on the misery caused by boy racers.

Cllr Julie Howell, who represents the Orton Waterville ward, said a permanent solution needed to be found to stop street racing and drifting on roads in Peterborough - and destroying the vehicles used should be one option open to police.

Cllr Howell said anti-social drivers using streets near the Ortons as a race track were keeping residents up to the early hours of the morning.

For the second week running, Cambridgeshire police imposed a dispersal order at the weekend to try and tackle the problem. Nearly a dozen drivers were given warnings to move on by officers this time.

While cllr Howell said the latest order was more successful than the previous time one was implemented - but said more needed to be done.

She said: “It was much better this time. i contacted police once, at about 5pm on Friday, when a resident saw about 20 cars parked on Ham Lane, but it was much better.

“The problem is the police only have the power to put the dispersal order in for 48 hours. It can’t be a permanent thing, and that is frustrating.

“It is causing stress, because residents don’t know when it (anti-social driving) is going to start up.

“It is the anxiety of waiting for it to start.”

Police have not yet confirmed if another dispersal order will be put in place this weekend.

Cllr Howell said: “We need a permanent solution.

“It is not the best use of police resources - they should be focusing on burglary, sexual offences and other priorities.

“Residents are saying that 101 is not working for a lot of them - the response they get is that it is a noise problem and therefore for the council to deal with - it is not, it is antisocial behaviour and dangerous driving.

“The dispersal order is one thing, but we want action that will have an impact - taking away their cars and crushing them, for example.

“We need to get all the people involved - the council, the police, land owners on industrial estates - together to find a way to stop it happening.”

A petition set up by cllr Howell to encourage Peterborough City Council and other agencies to take action now has more than 180 signatures.

She said: “Residents have been very supportive and grateful that someone is trying to do something. They have welcomed the petition, and I hope to be able to raise it at the next full council meeting.”

After the dispersal order ended at 10am yesterday (Sunday), Cambridgeshire police tweeted: “During the dispersal period we issued 11 dispersal warnings, made one arrest for drug driving, and dealt with one driver for not wearing a seatbelt.”

Today, a spokesman for the police said: “On Friday evening officers from the Peterborough neighbourhood policing team engaged with a number of people in the Royce Road area of Peterborough to enforce the dispersal order in place to tackle anti-social driving and car drifting.

On Saturday evening officers from the local response teams and Road Policing Unit attended the area of Hampton Hargate where a number of high performance vehicles had been reported by a member of the public. Officers spoke with a group of about 20 to 30 people who were already aware of the dispersal order and intended to leave the county. Following this, no further reports were received about nuisance vehicles.

Officers also patrolled the Orton Southgate and Fengate areas and spoke with local businesses and residents.

During the period of the dispersal order, 11 dispersal warnings were issued, one arrest was made for drug driving, one traffic offence report (TOR) was issued for not wearing a seat belt and one motorcyclist received a warning under Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 for anti-social driving.”

Detective Inspector Dave Taylor said: “We were made aware of social media posts about planned events in Peterborough which would involve a large number of vehicles ‘drifting’.

“Not only does this activity cause distress to residents and disruption to local businesses but it is incredibly dangerous. A few years ago in Stapledon Road there was a serious collision as a result of this activity which left three people with life-changing injuries.

“The dispersal order was a clear success with officers issuing several warnings and breaking up large groups before problems started to arise.

“We didn’t have many reports from residents about anti-social driving so we will look to implement dispersal orders again should we receive intelligence that a meet up is due to take place.

“We are also looking at the issue longer term within the neighbourhood policing teams. We will be looking to work with the local council, residents, business owners and car enthusiast groups to minimise future issues.”

To sign the petition, visit https://democracy.peterborough.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=70&RPID=4726844&HPID=4726844