Peterborough councillor left feeling “let down” by Police after more late night car meets bring misery to residents

A Peterborough councillor has said that she feels “let down” by Police after a late night car meet brought misery to hundreds of residents.

By Ben Jones
Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 9:40 am

Orton Waterville ward councillor and Green group leader, Cllr Julie Howell, was speaking after residents in the Ortons were distrubed by loud car engines and tyre squealing at a planned gathering at the industrial estate in Orton Southgate on Saturday (July 17).

Residents told the Peterborough Telegraph, that the worst of the noise began at around 9pm and continued on beyond 1:30am in the morning.

The gathering was promoted on social media and Cllr Howell informed police on Monday (July 12) about the event.

Police pictured attending a previous car meet in Oundle Road.

In response, the police said in an email: “Thank you for flagging it. At this time there will be no bespoke policing response to this event. However we will of course respond to any calls for service this event generates and I will make sure that duty managers are aware in advance.”

Cllr Howell, was left disappointed with this response. She said: “I tipped the police off at the beginning of last week and was really disappointed when I was told they would not be doing anything about it.

“The event organisers were very clear in encouraging as many people as possible to turn up. In the end, there were over 300 people there and there should have been police there even to just keep the peace.

“When a police van did arrive, I heard there were projectiles, including a golf ball, thrown at it. It is no good sending a few officers when over 300 have already gathered, we want the officers to be safe.

“I’ve been working with police and speaking to residents about the problems these kinds of events cause for years and to get this response has left me feeling let down.

“It seems as if the police have had a change of heart on the issue and often when I’ve called 101, even after I’ve told them that I’m a councillor, I’ve found them quite rude. If they make me feel as if I’m wasting police time then how must it be for others?

“Some people have trouble engaging with the Police and that is why I’ve used my position and been strong on this for a number of years but this experience has left me feeling very frustrated.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, the landlords at the industrial estate have been very cooperative with the council about changes to the landscape to stop this happening but that will only push the problem onto the community. They will just find another place.

“Ideally, we would be able to find them a safe place to go but the trouble with Peterborough is that there is not much free land for this. That plan would take the cooperation of other councils outside of Peterborough’s borders.

“Residents are tired of me saying this though and they still need their sleep so me saying that something may change later this year isn’t going to help them.

“There are trees, which obscure the view but I think some of the spectators at these kinds of events would be horrified to know how close they were to vulnerable young families and elderly residents in social housing, they are the ones that are suffering.

“Then you’ve got the fact it’s hot and people have to have their windows open, making them not only more likely to hear the noise but to smell the burning rubber, which is disgusting.

“Many of the tyres are fly-tipped at the site as well, which is another issue and often little attention is paid to damaging the units themselves either.

“I have also seen a rise in street racing during lockdown, along the Orton Parkway and Oundle Road, and those people are dicing with the lives of other people and that is not ok.

“We need more police and ’ve seen cuts, which isn’t the fault of local police but it all has left me feeling very frustrated.”

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said: “We were called to reports of cars being driven anti-socially in Stapledon Road, Orton Southgate, at 10.12pm on Saturday.

“Officers attended but due to the numbers at the event and high demand from incidents and crimes elsewhere, no action was taken.

“We had been previously notified of the event and while no police operation was planned we would of course respond to any calls for service. Demand for our services is high and we have to prioritise.

“We remain committed to protecting the most vulnerable and identifying those most at risk of harm when making demand decisions. This means we have to be realistic about what we can and cannot attend and make some difficult decisions around resource management.

“We continue to work with the city council to look at ways of dealing with this issue in a long-term and sustainable way.”