Leisure centre recruiting for security guard ‘to protect staff and users’

The town council is advertising the job at Willowbrook Leisure Centre at Ladygrove Country Park on its Facebook page.

Councillor Mocky Khan said: “Due to recent anti-social behaviour and damage to property, it has become necessary to advertise for a security guard to protect Willowbrook Leisure Centre, the staff, and users.

“It is disappointing that Didcot Town Council requires this but the safety of everyone using this great facility is priority.”  

Oxford Mail: Community officers patrol The Orchard Centre

The centre, next to Didcot Town Football Club, was completely refurbished in 2022 to serve a range of community needs as a venue for meetings, social functions and an indoor sports centre.

It comes as extra police ‘hotspot’ patrols have taken place at the Orchard Centre as well as local play parks to tackle anti-social behaviour which, police said, “is commonly happening between young people in our area”.

Officers recently visited a large group of young people and their parents/care-givers who were involved in ongoing incidents at the Orchard Centre.

Didcot Neighbourhood Policing Team said they are working alongside local shops, restaurants and other partners “to reduce anonymity of those being anti-social and dealing with them accordingly.

“We gave multiple warnings and informed them of the potential to be banned from The Orchard Centre which is an ongoing discussion between us and the Orchard Centre Security.”

Among other actions they have taken to tackle the problem are to speak to a group of youths from Didcot Girls School about being witnesses to ASB and more serious incidents.

They also warned about “filming culture” around school fights “and why this is just as inappropriate as the incident itself”.

And they have an ongoing operation on Great Western Park “following multiple reports from residents involving nuisance, alarming and distressing behaviour by young people”.

Oxford Mail: Police talk to group on Great Western Park

Last summer residents on Great Western Park said police spoke to young people tearing around their estate on unlicensed mini motorbikes.

Residents said the speeds they reached were dangerous and the noise was so loud it could drown out conversation and even Zoom meetings.

King Alfred Drive in the town was also patrolled by officers after houses were targeted in a spate of nuisance incidents.

Some 23 anti-social behaviour crimes were committed in Didcot in February 2024 – up from 15 in December 2023. All were on Didcot Broadway and around Asda on Greenwood Way.

Didcot Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We are committed to dealing with the issues that the community raises to us and develop large quantities of intelligence to target areas of high threat and risk.”

The team carries out monthly Have Your Say surveys and amends its patrol areas in line with community feedback.

Mr Khan said: “Like residents I would like for more police officers to be on our streets but for this to happen, the government needs to increase funding and support.

“The police forces are clearly under resourced, however, the police covering Didcot are doing all they can do to ensure that there they are visible and making patrols along the Broadway and The Orchard Centre to minimise anti-social behaviour.

“I believe Didcot is a safe town but we all must remain vigilant and report any anti-social behaviour to the police.”

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