At last night’s parish council meeting details emerged of continued anti-social behaviour linked to the weekly visits of the Connections bus.
Residents living near the Pavilion car park, where the bus is parked on Tuesdays from 7.00 to 9.00 pm. complained of rowdiness and disruption continuing until long after the departure of the bus. Instances of bad language, vomiting and general hooliganism were reported by local people who in many cases felt too intimidated to remonstrate with the perpetrators.
Sergeant Mark Rabel of the Histon police team attended the area in plain clothes and told the meeting that many young people using the bus spent little time inside it. Instead, they tended to move constantly in groups between the bus and the Co-op, causing disruption on the village green at Nelson Crescent and running across roads through gaps in the hedges, creating danger for themselves and road users.
It is clear that the anti-social behaviour is linked to the presence of the Connections Bus as it happens only on Tuesdays. While the bus is not directly responsible for the bad behaviour, staff on the bus can only supervise the bus itself and the area immediately adjacent to it and cannot police a large area of the village centre. Sergeant Rabel told the meeting that there are no other locations like Longstanton where the presence of the bus is associated with behaviour of this type. However, Longstanton is unique in having a late shop only a short distance from the bus, creating a pattern of movement that does not happen in other villages.
The bus was temporarily suspended recently but later reinstated. Councillors last night had no doubt that action was essential, given the seriousness of the disruption. Faced with the choice of cancelling the bus permanently and with immediate effect or suspending it indefinitely after tonight’s session while alternatives are considered, they decided by a majority vote to take the latter course. Tonight’s session will therefore be the last for some time at the very least.
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