Police chief defends town centre skateboarding plan

St Helens Police Chief Julie Cooke has defended the force's stance on skateboarding in Church Square

St Helens Police Chief Julie Cooke has defended the force's stance on skateboarding in Church Square

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St Helens’ new police chief has defended the force’s proposal to ban skateboarding on Church Square.

Area Commander Julie Cooke insists officers don’t want to stop young people from having fun.

But she said it was important to strike a balance after neighbourhood officers received a string of complaints.

Skateboarding could soon be banned on Church Square following a string of “near misses” between youths and pedestrians.

Chief Supt Cooke said: “The last thing we want to do is stop people from having fun in St Helens. But we have received complaints and there is a concern about the potential for people to get knocked over in the central part of St Helens town centre.

“Although nobody has been badly injured yet, that’s not to say it won’t happen. I would hate to think that an old lady could get knocked over by one of the skateboarders.

“It’s a pedestrianised area which is often full of elderly people and families walking around with children while shopping. That’s the reason we’re seeking this by-law.”

Council scrutiny manager Joanne Heron said: “Over the past 18 months police have encountered a growing issue with young people who attend the Church Square area with a large number of them engaging in skateboarding.”

A consultation will take place before councillors vote on the proposal.

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The by-law proposal is now under consideration and a period of consultation underway.

Ms Heron added: “It is the behaviour of some of the skateboarders that has the potential to cause injury to others that is of concern.

“Neighbourhood staff responsible for policing the town centre report difficulties dealing with the number of people attending the area including cyclists who appear to be in the area in support of the skateboarders.”

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