Police in Bracknell have been urged to crackdown on ‘anti social’ car meets taking place in car parks.

The issue was brought up as councillors received a report on the work Thames Valley Police have been doing over the past year in a recent meeting.

Councillors were given the opportunity to ask questions to police bosses, and as well as serious crime, anti-social behaviour was raised as a key issue.

In particular, councillor Gill Birch (Conservative, Hanworth) urged police to take action to stamp out car meets.

READ MORE: Bracknell crime map shows all offences recorded in July 2021

Cllr Birch said: “Public concern has been expressed at the time for the police to arrive on the site of motor vehicle gatherings, because it has been noticed that police arrive well after the anti-social event. Sainsbury’s in Birch Hill has been used by boy racers as a starting point for them to race around the whole of Bracknell.

“Can you please outline what steps have been taken to curb the loud cars and motorbikes how your going to do this, and in the past two years, how many people have been charged and prosecuted in connection with this activity?”

In reply, Thames Valley Police chief constable John Campbell said: “If I talk in general terms, if there are other more serious crimes happening at the same time, where people are being harmed or injured or attacked, or investigations are ongoing, then my officers will prioritise those types of events.

“I guarantee they won’t be sitting anywhere doing nothing, but they will have to prioritise.”

Bracknell News: Thames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell during the meeting. Credit: Bracknell Forest Council / Microsoft TeamsThames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell during the meeting. Credit: Bracknell Forest Council / Microsoft Teams

Chief Constable Campbell continued: “As frustrating as noisy cars can be, and I do get that and there is problem solving that we can do around it, if those officers are committed to somewhere else, they may well not attend.

“They might be dealing with crime, and someone in custody etc, I make that as a general point. I don’t want it lost that it’s a frustration to you, but sometimes you do have to balance the seriousness of what we get.

“We get 300,000 999 calls a year, those are often people in crisis who need us there and then, and I think you would expect us to attend to them.”

READ MORE: Night of car noise hell coming from Bracknell Sainsbury's troubles residents

Assistant Inspector Helen Kelly elaborated on the tactics police use to try and stop the car meets, but said it was “really, really hard” to supply figures for offences, charges, and prosecutions because car meets are not explicitly illegal.

However, offences can occur at these events such as speeding and criminal damage. She explained that the police use Section 59 warnings under the Police Reform Act 2002, which can be used to seize a car or a motorbike if they are caught again anywhere else in the country.

Assistant Inspector Kelly said: “It’s a really effective tool.”

She added an officer in the neighbourhood team is looking to work with Bracknell Forest Council and Wokingham Borough Council to do ‘joint work’ to try and discourage the car meets and prevent the problem moving between areas.

Police officers were involved in moving on a car meet at the Sainsbury’s in Bagshot Road in July and were able to stop a large car meet from happening in Wokingham in April.

Bracknell News: Sainsbury's car park in Bagshot Road, Bracknell, which has been used for car meets. Credit: Google MapsSainsbury's car park in Bagshot Road, Bracknell, which has been used for car meets. Credit: Google Maps

Earlier in the meeting, Matthew Barber, police and crime commissioner for the Thames Valley (Conservative) spoke about how a pilot ‘speedwatch’ scheme had been successful and will be rolled out throughout  the Thames Valley in October.

Additionally, more speedwatch schemes in communities will be promoted in Spring next year.

The schemes involve volunteers using speed monitoring equipment to track speeds. If any speeding vehicles are caught, the information will then be shared to the police for prosecution.

You can view tweet coverage of the meeting here:  

The full meeting of Bracknell Forest Council took place on Wednesday, September 15.