The Broads National Park is taking steps to eradicate anti-social behaviour within the inland waterway following a highly publicised incident this summer
Moves are underway to stamp out any cases of anti-social behaviour on the Broads after an incident involving a stag party hit the national headlines.
A newly formed working group, which involves the Broads Authority, the police’s Broads Beat officers, the Hire Boat Federation, the Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association as well as private boaters, have now drawn up a list of action points to help control problem boaters within the national park.
These include increasing the presence of Broads Authority rangers and Broads Beat officers in the evenings, limiting the maximum speed of hired day boats, increasing the sharing of intelligence about problem groups between the Broads Authority, police and boat hire companies and buying mobile speed signs.
In a statement, the Broads Authority said that while the vast majority of boaters, both private and hirers on the Broads, act responsibly and do not encounter issues of poor behaviour, there is a “collective acceptance” that the national park is not immune from this problem.
It said there had been some instances which had attracted the attention of the media and been reported on social media, but stressed that these were not just confined to stag parties. All female parties, groups of young people and even fishing parties and some families have been know to cause inconvenience to others, and the authority said these would all be dealt with equally.
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The chair of the Broads Authority Navigation Committee, Nicky Talbot, commented: “We are very keen that the Broads is not tainted by a perception of a growing issue and committed as a group to some additional proactive measures to stamp out issues such as speeding, excessive drinking and other anti-social behaviour.”
“Whilst we discussed some excellent ideas to stop anti-social behaviour the group also intend to ensure that people are aware that if they cause a serious nuisance or danger to themselves or others we will take robust and appropriate action which can range from removing people from their boats to prosecution. We will also work to make sure that the public know how they can report situations immediately so we can react quickly,” added the chair.
In July 2017, the behaviour of a stag party on the River Bure was reported in the national press after the group allegedly stripped the groom naked and threw him into the water before urinating on him in front of horrified locals and visitors.
The Broads Authority said more than seven million people visit the national park annually, and there are “only ever a handful of incidents which are dealt with effectively”.
It also stressed that it carried out proactive work to educate and prevent problems when large groups hire boats.
The working group will be monitoring and reviewing the success of the new measures through the season.