Council explains ‘anti-social behaviour’ figures for Pavilion Gardens

Pavilion Gardens, Brighton
Pavilion Gardens, Brighton

The council has recorded a hundred times more instances of anti-social behaviour in the Royal Pavilion Gardens than Sussex Police.

In a public consultation on “enhancing and protecting” the popular open space, Brighton and Hove City Council logged 22,752 incidents of anti-social behaviour in 2017, compared with 225 recorded by police.

Pavilion Gardens recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour SUS-180106-140155001

Pavilion Gardens recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour SUS-180106-140155001

The 2017-18 police figures show that this was a fall from the 2016-17 figure of 251 incidents of recorded crime, accidents and anti-social behaviour.

Chief Inspector Rachel Swinney said: “Pavilion Gardens, by its very nature being in the very centre of the city, attracts a lot of people, both residents and visitors.

“The gardens are part of our patrols and we have been paying particular attention to individuals who are known to frequent the gardens and who cause problems.

“We hold regular meetings with partner agencies, especially the Brighton and Hove City Council, who own the gardens, to keep the area safe.

“We are aware of the concerns and we want people to know that we are taking them seriously. We are also urging them to report any incidents or crimes to us so they can be addressed.”

On Friday, May 18, Royal Pavilion security guards caught four teenagers on the roof of Brighton and Hove Museum.

At 10.30pm on Saturday, May 19, a man tried to climb up the boarded over walkway at the front of the Pavilion, before attempting to climb up the side of the building.

Security officers recorded this as three incidents in their logs, two for climbing and one for entering the conservation area.

Councillor Alan Robins, who chairs the council’s tourism, development and culture committee, said: “The difference between the police figure and the ASB figure recorded by the Pavilion is that the police figure refers only to the cases thought serious enough to involve the police.

“The Pavilion record all incidents including those breaking the gardens bylaws such as, drinking alcohol, dogs not on leads, cycling, urinating and entering conservation areas.

“When this includes large groups of people, where each incident is carried out by each individual, it is recorded separately or where one individual breaks a number of bylaws these are also recorded separately.

“I don’t believe this is at all alarmist. It must be remembered these gardens and these buildings are unique and cannot be replaced or easily repaired, over time all these incidents can have a detrimental affect on both.”

Statistics about crime and anti-social behaviour appear in the section of the consultation relating to fencing areas and closing the gardens at night.

How the stats are counted

Pavilion security staff recorded 6,661 people drinking alcohol.

Each individual drinking is counted in the garden, which is a designated public place where alcohol restrictions apply with signs throughout the area.

A total of 3,260 people were moved away from the building after triggering one of the perimeter alarm beams approximately 1ft away from the edge of the building.

It includes those who may have inadvertently sat on the steps on the eastern front to incidents of people deliberately climbing up the stonework.

The area is signed at regular intervals with notices saying ‘this area is alarmed – please keep off’.

Cycling is not allowed in the gardens and 3,096 incidents were recorded.

Each of the five entrances has a sign asking cyclists to dismount.

The council said: “We have incidents both day and night of pedestrians including young children and staff being clipped or worse by cyclists.”

The King’s Lawn is a fenced conservation area on the western side of the building.

A total of 1,895 people ignored the 1.2 metre high fence and six signs ordering them to keep out.

Dogs off leads and owners who do not pick up after their pooch counted as 1,404 incidents.

Police stats

There were 51 incidents which were a notifiable offence and recorded as per national Crime Recording Standards on a separate database.

There was one transport incident, which can refer to incidents on the highway ranging from a collision to obstruction.

A total of 72 incidents of anti-social behaviour likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to other persons engaged in lawful activities were recorded.

There were 55 reports of incidents where there was a concern about another’s welfare. These could include reports of missing persons, abandoned calls to police, suspicious behaviour, alarms, domestic disputes or industrial accidents and many other types of incident.

A further 45 recorded incidents were requests for advice, lost or found property, messages, complaints and pre-planned events.

The consultation closes on Friday, June 29 and is available here