Scheme to tackle anti-social behaviour and substance abuse in Rugby's public spaces could be rolled out

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A pilot scheme to tackle problems with alcohol and drug abuse in a Rugby park could be rolled out to other areas of the town.

And action could also be taken to tackle anti-social behaviour at Newbold Quarry Nature Reserve and to combat cyclists riding through pedestrianised areas of the town centre.

Councillors at this week’s Rugby Borough Council’s Cabinet meeting backed recommendations from a task group that reviewed the use of public spaces protection orders.

Group chairman Cllr Neil Sandison (Lib Dem Eastlands) explained that the pilot scheme in St Andrew’s Gardens, supported by volunteers including Reverend Imogen Nay, had been praised by Warwickshire Police.

He said: “There has been substantial reduction in anti-social behaviour due to heavy drinking and substance abuse.

“Whilst not perfect, community warden patrols have taken pressure off ongoing reductions in town centre police numbers and ensured this open space in the heart of the town centre is still a place the public want to enjoy.

“We would like to extend these successes to other town centre parks and cemeteries.

“It has worked really well on alcohol abuse but it has been more difficult on substance abuse because it is secretive and done behind bushes making it more difficult to tackle.

“This is not Tony Blair’s taking them to a Cashpoint if they are a bit rowdy or a bit drunk and take £100 off them – this scheme is much more nuanced than that in that there has to be demonstrable harm to the community and it has to be victim-led.”

In the report presented to this week’s meeting, Cllr Sandison said that talks would be held with Warwickshire County Council as the highways authority about cyclists who are a nuisance in the pedestrianised area of the town centre while controls could be introduced at Newbold Quarry to ban things such as swimming, fishing amplified music or taking cars and motorbikes into the area.