A crime tsar has promised a crackdown on “boy racers” and speeding drivers in Bangor after complaints from members of the public.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC met with community leaders and officers to discuss the issue of anti-social driving.
Mr Roddick said: “I want the community to know that we are interested in this issue and we aren’t prepared to allow this situation to continue. The people of Bangor should know we are onto this and we are intent on putting a stop to it.
“I want you to know that I have spotted it and I want to address the concerns of the community.”
Mr Roddick was accompanied by Inspector Brian Kearney, North Wales Police’s divisional inspector for the Gwynedd north area.
Insp Kearney told the commissioner how an operation was now being run in an effort to deal with offenders who drive cars and motor cycles in an anti-social manner on the city’s roads and car parks.
He said: “We have identified three ‘hotspots’ where these offences appear to be more prevalent – the Plas Llwyd car park, behind the old Boots store, the Next car park and Coed Mawr areas off Caernarfon Road and the Maesgeirchen housing estate, although this is mostly off road motorcycles and mini motos.
“The operation, called Operation Monk, is in its infancy but is already producing results with two off road bikes already having being seized. We have asked the Road Policing Unit to maintain a presence whenever they can on Caernarfon Road.
“We are looking to stop drivers if they, or their passengers, aren’t wearing seatbelts, if they are speeding or driving in an anti-social manner.
“There is also the issue of noise. Very often the noise made by some of these vehicles, which have had their exhaust systems altered or adapted, leads people to believe they are speeding when in fact they aren’t”.
“However, we are actively checking the legality of any altered exhausts and ensuring they are not producing noise at a level which makes their use illegal.
“To add to this, we will utilise our powers in accordance with Section 59 of the Police Reform Act which permits police to warn a driver and subsequently seize their vehicle if they continue to drive their car in a manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance”.
He added: “Although we have received a number of calls about the anti-social behaviour of some drivers we believe not every instance is reported. We are aware of vehicles having their engines over revved, people driving at high speed, wheel spinning, and doing handbrake turns.
“Operation Monk is designed to ensure all drivers comply with current road traffic regulations at all times. We want to get the message across that dangerous, careless and anti-social driving will not be tolerated on any of Bangor’s roads or for that matter, any roads in North Wales.”
Eirian Roberts, chair of Coed Mawr Glanadda Community Group, has lived on Caernarfon Road for more than 10 years.
She said: “They have ‘cruises’ which often involve racing, side by side racing, handbrake turns, doughnuts, time trials and high noise levels.
“They tend to use the retail park car parks on which to congregate. It is a public nuisance and very anti-social.”
Mr Roddick added: “Operation Monk, like all successful operations, is simple and deals with the issue in a clear, precise and firm way. I am certain officers will deal with this issue and not just displace it to another area.”
“North Wales is a safe place in which to live and visit and we want to keep it that way.
“I’m delighted to have heard how police are tackling the issue of anti-social driving here in Bangor and I intend to keep a close eye on how successful Operation Monk is over time.”
Eirian Roberts said: “That makes a massive difference and will have a very positive effect on the community. People deserve to feel safe and if we can deal with this issue once and for all it has to be a good thing.”
Steffi Williams, chair of Maes Tryfan Community Group added: “It’s wonderful that the police are dealing positively with this issue, which in my opinion is a Bangor-wide problem.
“The community will be delighted at the action that is been taken and I’m sure everyone will be thankful that the Police and Crime Commissioner has taken such a big interest in the problem of anti-social driving and the misery caused by boy racers.”
Elin Walker-Jones, Gwynedd county councillor for the Glyder Ward, said: “I’m pleased the police in Bangor have put together this operation and are dealing with the issue.
“I know members of the community will be very pleased action is being taken and I look forward to seeing how successful the operation is in the long term.”