Councillor Kate Knight, Deputy Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Children, Young People & Skills Committee has today asked young people to look out for themselves, each other and everyone around them amid local concern about escalating anti-social behaviour on Hove Lawns.
“This school year has been like no other, especially for Year 11. The simple fact of not being able to go to school, cancelled exams and the loss of traditional end of school celebrations have been extremely hard on all concerned.
“This week saw the official end of the exam season. It’s a time when many pupils would have been looking forward to gathering with friends ahead of the summer break. The Covid-19 restrictions have changed all plans.
“I really feel for this year group and their friends, missing all these important occasions and celebrations, that I know they will have been looking forward to for such a long time.
“It’s understandable that frustration at the long lockdown has led to some young people gathering together recently in numbers far higher than is safe during a pandemic. But while recognising the reasons, it’s important that we do all we can to encourage young people not to put themselves or their families at risk in this way.
“Schools have sent information to families about safety and safeguarding as the lockdown eases, including advice from Sussex Police about anti-social behaviour. Do please read the guidance and advice from the police on this on schools’ websites and contact your school if you haven’t received it.
Support the city to be Covid-secure
“We all, every single one of us, have a duty to support the city to be Covid-secure. And that includes our young people who have had such a hard time during lockdown and who I really feel for.
“We will be living alongside Covid-19 until a vaccine is found.
“We’re asking everyone to play their part in keeping the people around them safe during this pandemic. This includes preventing transmission of the virus and avoiding other risks to health, including drinking too much alcohol, especially in the hot weather.
“We know most school pupils follow the government pandemic guidelines, but I’m asking all parents and carers to remind members of your family about the importance of behaving responsibly. Please don’t buy or give them alcohol and please make sure you know where they’re going and check in with them during an evening out.
“It’s hard to balance the right level of distanced supervision with the normal freedoms that go with entering young adulthood, but supporting your family to make the best decisions, particularly at this time helps to keep everyone safer.
Behaviour on Hove Lawns ‘not acceptable’
“People living near Hove Lawns are understandably fed up by some of the behaviours, the noise and the litter being left by the large numbers of people gathering. Whilst activity in this area is to be expected, especially in good weather, the situation is becoming unbearable for many, with some people scared to go out. This is just not acceptable.
“Police will be based at Hove Lawns today and a 48-hour dispersal order is in place and also for Hove Park. This enables the police to direct a person who has committed, or is likely to commit, anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder to leave an area and not return for a specified period.
“We have installed an additional 46 litter bins along the seafront and are looking to place more. We still have many staff who work emptying the bins self-isolating due to Covid so we know sometimes these bins aren’t emptied as quickly as they need to be. Please do take your rubbish home with you if bins are full. If you brought it with you, you can take it home.
“Police officers have reassured us that they will be out patrolling this area and will utilise all policing powers available to reduce antisocial behaviour.
“To report matters of anti-social behaviour please go online or call 101.
“We will continue to work closely with the police to ensure that anti-social behaviour does not continue on Hove Lawns through the summer.
Taking personal responsibility for behaviour
“The latest advice is that from 4 July we all need to stay at least 1 metre apart when we’re outside our homes so, for the foreseeable future, physical distancing will continue to be an important part of our daily lives and we will all need to make adaptations.
“Physical distancing is guidance and not regulation. The emphasis is on individuals to take personal responsibility for following government guidance and we do not have any powers to enforce it.
“It is up to us all to continue to behave responsibly and respectfully in public places.
“Thank you to all the schools and the parents and carers for all that you’ve done to support your children in this challenging time. Please continue to help ensure their safety and those of everyone around them.”