Antisocial behaviour in Thurrock: It’s time for a zero tolerance approach

Every weekend in Thurrock residents suffer with noise pollution from boy racers roaring around the borough. West Thurrock and Chafford Hundred in particular bear the brunt of it. The noise can be heard as far as Aveley, South Ockendon and Stafford Clays. But enough is enough. 

I live in Aveley and Saturday, 8 April was the worst I have ever known it in Thurrock. Not only could residents hear the din of boy racers roaring around West Thurrock and adjacent roads including the M25, we were kept awake by a dance music festival which went on until gone 5am. After making enquiries I have been unable to acertain where the music festival was, but it was in the direction of Basildon. Residents in Aveley, South Ockendon and West Thurrock took to social media to complain about the noise. It was a warm night and many residents had their windows open but had lack of sleep because of noise. Residents also took to social media to complain that despite calling 101, Essex Police were not answering the phone. 

At the end of May, the residents of Aveley, South Ockendon, Rainham and Upminster will suffer more noise from Damyns Hall which will be hosting its annual We Are FSTVL event. This three-day extravaganza will go on from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 May, yet despite the problems local residents experienced from this event last year and the year before, this year’s event will be longer. Disruption will also be caused to local residents as Romford Road will be closed for the duration of the event, meaning residents will have to find alternative routes. 

Damyns Hall is causing misery to the residents of Aveley, Rainham and Upminster because of this music event during the summer months when most people have their windows open at night because of the heat. Furthermore, we suffer noise from low-flying aircraft taking off and landing as well as airshows. Some of the aircraft are literally a few hundred feet above the houses on the Kenningtons Estate in Aveley and it is inevitable that a fatality will happen. If an aircraft crashed in Aveley it would cause huge devastation and loss of life. 

Damyns Hall and other establishments hosting music events near residential areas is completely unacceptable and unfair. Thurrock is expanding at a rapid pace, we have become first choice for the London overspill which is why more and more houses are being built here. Why should the residents have to suffer noise from boy racers and music events at places like Damyns Hall? It is simply wrong to host these events near built-up areas – we are never consulted and Thurrock Council clearly has a complete lack of control. 

It is wrong to blame Essex Police for not tackling antisocial behaviour and boy racers, we have to acknowledge that the Tory Government has cut police numbers in Essex – cuts that were backed by Tory Councillors in Thurrock. Essex Police can only work with the tools they have available and they are working as hard as they can and I pay tribute to them.

Our Tory MP, Jackie Doyle-Price, and local councillors in Thurrock, irrespective of their political party, need to work together with residents and Essex Police to impose a zero tolerance approach on antisocial behaviour that is plaguing the borough. We need more police patrols – end of. Police numbers in Essex need to be increased. We also need a tougher approach towards boy racers and places like Damyns Hall that are making lives a misery for Thurrock residents. 

I propose that the roads used by boy racers have speed humps and speed cameras installed. I also propose roads at Lakeside that are used by boy racers are closed off on Friday and Saturday nights – these roads are barely used by other motorists at those times. But ultimately, more police presence is needed.

Anyone caught racing or speeding in residential areas should have their vehicles confiscated and crushed, and the driver fined £1,000 and banned from driving for 12 months. Furthermore, anyone caught driving around with loud exhausts that exceed the legal noise level should instantly be given seven days to have the exhaust amended or replaced – and failure to do so will result in the vehicle being confiscated and crushed and the owner fined £500 and given 6 points on their licence. 

Places like Damyns Hall should be banned from hosting music events – they should not be held near residential areas. Full-stop. 

Due to the lack of police presence in Thurrock, antisocial behaviour is accelerating because people are taking advantage of the situation. Action needs to be taken now before the situation spirals out of control. 

Britain has become a lawless society under the Tory Government and this is the direct result of austerity, which includes cuts to police forces across the country. It is time to make a stand. 

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