The number of anti-social behaviour incidents and crimes reported to Avon and Somerset Police have fallen by 75 percent since the Bearpit was reopened following the summer’s intensive clean-up project.
In the two months (April to June 2019) prior to the enforced closure of the area, there were 17 crime reports relating to violent, theft and sexual offences, the police received 83 calls relating to anti-social behaviour, concerns about public safety and other crime.
In the period from the reopening in July 2019, reports and calls have dropped dramatically. Four crimes have been reported in the area, a drop of 76 per cent. Police call handlers have taken 17 calls, a 72 per cent drop. No reports of violent or sexual offences have been received in the past two months.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “We’ve been clear all along that the huge clean-up operation in the Beaprit was about tackling anti-social behaviour and securing public safety. The latest figures demonstrate the positive impact from cleaning up the space. While we would much rather spend public funding in other ways, we could not turn a blind eye to the situation or ignore requests from the public to take action.
“We want to look ahead now to the future opportunities for the space and ensure the safer, more welcoming environment continues. We will continue to work with the local community, businesses, the police and others to find a longer term, positive solution that makes the best use of the area.”
The clean-up operation over the summer saw council contractors remove a number of council owned and other structures that had been used as a makeshift squat for a number of months. This operation included removing large amounts of waste and drug paraphernalia left by squatters and others using the area at a total cost to the taxpayer of £250,000.
A move to clean up the areas was triggered by Police officers stepping in to shut the area temporarily in response to a serious violent crime that saw one victim receive facial injuries following an assault.
Inspector Rob Cheeseman said: “We’ve been fully supportive of the council and its work tackling the issues which affected the Bearpit and it’s extremely pleasing to see the hard work and commitment paying off.
“While it is early days, the improvements the council has made have led to a significant fall in incidents of criminality and anti-social behaviour and the area is now a really positive community space.
“We will continue to work closely with the local authority to ensure this important part of Bristol remains a safe place for all members of the public to enjoy.”
Since security fencing was removed and the space reopened to the public the police have regularly patrolled the area and CCTV monitors the space 24 hours a day.